It’s a strange thing. But I just can’t write hunting stories during hunting season, particularly waterfowl season. I’m not exactly sure why but I have some half-baked theories about how I am collecting memories, images and notions during the season. It may be a real reason or maybe it is just an excuse, but in all my years wasting ink and paper, I don’t think I have written one single story when duck season was in.
Sure, I might have jotted a few note here and there from a day afield. Or I may have scribbled an idea on the inside of an empty box of shotgun shells or some other piece of the growing flotsam and jetsam that builds to epic proportion in my truck from opening day til sometime after the season. like maybe summer?
But the fact remains that I just don’t write when I can hunt. Even if I am not hunting.
The larger truth may be that I write during the off season out of a desperate need to be back in the state of bliss I am in when I am hunting. Writing takes me back to hunts in the past and projects me forward to hunts that may or may not ever happen. That may also be the reason my stories are a blend of fiction, nonfiction, memoirs and imaginings that span time and place beyond what this one waterfowler may have done or may ever do.
Of course that blend of truth and fiction is also the reaux that makes up the base of all good hunting tales. It may also be a way to disguise some of the less noble things I and other may or may not have done.
So while the season is in and I am obsessed with the next cold front or the rainfall in this or that part of the country, I just don’t write hunting stories.
But not a single season goes by, not a single hunt, not a single day in the wilds, that some part of this grand tradition, this magnificent world, does not etch itself in my memory, burn itself into my soul, waiting there for its turn to play out across a page.
How blessed I am to be born and raised a waterfowler. How fortunate I am to share with my readers the things that stir my soul and make my every day the rich tapestry it has been.