After four hours of solid preparation, I am still barely ready to sleep. At age 44, I have flashbacks to when I was 12. I had saved up enough money to buy my own Winchester model 37A Singleshot in a 20 gauge, full choke affair. We got skunked, but I will never forget how excited I was to put on those hemmed-in, adult-sized upland game pants and stomp the cover for small game, with my dad, years ago. It was nearly impossible to go to sleep, just like when I was five, awaiting the arrival of Santa Claus and wondering if he'd really bring the Daisy Red Ryder BB gun.
Tomorrow is the same, only different. I'm taking a fairly new-to-town buddy of mine. A professional comtemporary who hails from Chicago, about 200 miles North. One of the reasons he came to the country-side of the cornbelt heartland: To expose his kids to the outdoors and learn to hunt and fish.
Enter Chris...(me)... Tomorrow is our Central IL Youth Weekend Duck opener. The kids get a crack at the birds a full week before the regular season opens.
Across the impoundment from me will be my good friend Pete Poling (Prairie Winds Kennels) with his grandson and one of his hotshot gundogs. I'll be with my buddy Craig and his son Davis.
I can hardly stand it! Decoys are ready, the youth 20 guage pump is still warm from Davis' rapid evolution as a wingshooter. 48 hours ago Davis had never seen a shotgun, but for IL Hunter's Safety Education. Today, he's an experienced skeet shooter, having perfected the 4 b's. Bird, Butt, Beak, BOOM..... This kid was smoking clays on the skeet range last night.
Tomorrow it all comes together. I get to run my boat, set my decoys, blow my calls, handle my dog, and watch young Davis burn 20 gauge shells at early season ducks.
In today's times, the economy stinks, the political banter is at an alltime high, and folks' tempers sometimes seem to be on the verge of spontaneous combustion. Yet, today is an exciting day...tomorrow promises to be the kind from which memories and magic are created!
Safe hunts, straight lines, and crisp casts to all of you from the RTF Janitor.