It seems a little crazy, yes. The truck headlights sweep across an empty field. Bare dirt and stubble. We roll out and stretch, not quite awake. Theres not a lot of talking. We all know what to do, and of things to do there is plenty.

The trailers ramp drops and we set to the task. Ten dozen full-body decoys, 10 dozen silhouettes, an A-frame blind in 10 separate pieces, five seats, five blind bags, five guns, one box of Tim Hortons muffins. Back and forth, like ants in the dark, we ferry our burdens to the field. I shed a layer and work through the chill. Its a quick set-up, over in less than an hour, and as I sweep the light of my headlamp over the field it seems a solid ruse: In place of bare dirt and stubble, a flock of geese on the feed.

It seems a little crazy, maybe.

We hide the trucks and tuck into the seats of the blind. Already the eastern sky is aglow. Already the geese are honking from the water. The dog whines with anticipation.

I chat with my buddies as we settle in. Lights off, load the gun in the dark, the clatter of bolts closing up and down the blind, and then silence. Im as awake and alert as I will ever be in my life. I sip coffee gone half-cold, and in the half-dark, in the company of hunters, it suddenly comes to mind that this is where things seem to make the most sense of all.