Crosswinds: Waiting

Patience is a virtue that waterfowlers have learned to accept

© Michael Furtman

No one minds waiting. Waiting is a big part of what we do. Starting with the last minute of legal light on the last day of the season, we wait for opening day. We wait through the northward spring migrations, through summer trips to the beach, through the heat. We wait on the seasons to change. We wait for the sun to rise. Duck hunters don’t mind biding our time. But this is torture. This is waiting on an entirely different level. No one wants to wait on the weather.

For many of us, it’s been a slow-slow-slow start to the New Year. Warm. Wet. What ducks are around are stale as an old biscuit in the bottom of a blind bag, and there aren’t many ducks around across a lot of the country. We scroll through a half-dozen weather forecasts, trying to find one that looks ducky. We don’t wish ill on our northern neighbors, but a solid, single-digit polar vortex crashing like an avalanche across the Canadian border would sure help us out down here in the midcontinent latitudes and below.

But the 10-day forecast isn’t looking good. We call our buddies and scroll through duck hunting forums. Looking for a good report. Hoping for a sign. We’re not ready to throw in the towel.

We don’t mind waiting, because we’ve been here before, when the skies were empty. We know it can change on a dime.

So we’re not going anywhere. Except back to the duck blind, where we’ll wait a little bit longer. Old Man Winter might be tough, but he’s not as tough as a duck hunter bound and determined to be there the very minute all the waiting becomes worth it.