Every group has one. The guy that isn’t quite on the same page as the others. He’s still your buddy, but things could be so much better if he wasn’t like that. Whether it’s chasing ducks, honkers, or snow geese, there’s always “That Guy”.
There seems to be one of these in every group. Three ducks come in on the left side of the blind while your buddy, Deadeye, is on the right side. All four hunters fire a shot and three ducks fall. Deadeye is quick to claim the biggest greenest drake of the group. On the next flock, birds fall and someone drops a hail mary on a duck climbing out past 40 yards. Who’s first to lay claim to it? You guessed it, “Deadeye”! We know that guy that always shoots the biggest, the prettiest, and the bonus duck in each flock. Could it be him? Absolutely, but not every single time like he claims!
You’re out there for the camaraderie. Enjoy the time spent with friends and family. What do you gain by claiming every bird? Shoot your lanes and high five your buddies. Draw straws, play rock-paper-scissors, or flip a coin to determine who shot the band or the bull sprig. This adds to fun and no one wants to hunt with the guy that claims every bird.
2. Stage King
This guy goes one of two ways. Either he uses the same notes in the same sequence no matter what the setting or interest level of the birds or he just flat screams on his call until he’s blue in the face. We all know both of these hunters! You spot ducks on the horizon a mile out and he instantly hail calls giving way to a series of seven quacks quickly followed by cajun squeal and capped off by 30 seconds of machine gun feed calls. He takes a breathe and starts it all over again as the ducks now approach 3/4 of a mile out. Or you have the guy in the secluded timber hole on a calm day stomping water as he wails on his single reed like he’s on stage at Stuttgart. Either way, the “Stage King” is doing more harm that good.
What works one day probably won’t work the next and unfortunately for the Stage King, might not ever work. Learn to read the birds, know the situation your in and never be afraid to adjust. Most importantly, just because you have that lanyard full of calls, don’t think you have to blow them at every duck!
3. Party Boy
Everyone has that one buddy that’s a great time, always helps, but can’t blow a call to save his life. Every time you look over and see him grab his call you cringe at the thought of what’s about to happen. He grabs the barrel, places it to his mouth like he’s going to take a drink, and out comes the same sound your 4 year old made with a kazoo at the birthday party last night. Many a waterfowl has fallen at the sound of subpar calling, but far more to hunters who know how and when to use their call.
If you’re unsure of your calling or just learning ask for input, for critique, for help. You can’t learn how to call if you don’t do it and theres no better way to learn than in a hunting scenario on live birds, but start small. Master the single quack and know when to use it. For the guy that is just learning how to call, this gives him a chance to be involved without high odds of hitting the wrong note. Between flocks, work on the other notes and in due time “Party Boy” will be a full fledged caller of duck!
4. The Slacker
This guy has used every excuse in the book and probably most of them more than once. He strolls in just minutes before shooting light and has to hurry home because the wife needs helps with the kids. Don’t worry though, tomorrow he’ll be there earlier to help. Fast forward to the next morning….just as that last bag of decoys gets pulled out in the pre dawn darkness, headlights turn into the field lane. He didn’t lie, he was there earlier than the day before, but still a hour later than he was supposed to be. There is no worse person hunt with than the guy that’s only there for the glory.
If you wan to be included and invited back, be the first to arrive and the last to leave. Volunteer to go break ice and move the spread. Waterfowl hunting is work and anyone who isn’t willing to put in the work is likely to find themselves sitting at home waiting for that phone call next weekend while the rest of the guys are hunting.
If you’re an avid waterfowl hunter, at least one of these guys sounds familiar. Who knows, you might be “That Guy”. Lucky for you, waterfowl hunters are a sarcastic bunch. They’ll call you out on it and they’re serious, but it’s all in fun. Know your role in the hunt, put in the effort to help out, and always ask for others opinions. Even if you’ve hunted for dozens of years, you’re still never to old to learn.