If you looked at the weather map this morning, you would have seen a huge front, extending from Minnesota, all the way into east Texas. A huge front that was moving across the United States. Here in central Louisiana at about 9:00, the wind shifted and the temperature started to drop. A light misting rain began to fall.
I was standing in a parking lot, but my mind wandered to an identical day in 1971, when my father insisted that I skip a day of classes and accompany him to our family blinds on Catahoula lake. “It's going to be a good day for duck hunting. How are your classes? Can you afford to miss one day?” I told him that I could probably miss one day of economics and accounting, and we made plans to be on the lake.
I was rather mystified the next morning when he didn't wake me at the normal 4:00 wake-up for a day of duck hunting. It was almost 5:00 when he came into my room. “Get up.” We drank coffee and he told me that the front wasn't due to arrive till mid-morning, so we had plenty of time to be in the lake We arrived at the blind after daylight and watched the water till about 10:00. Off to the west, I could see a line of clouds, high and moving to the east.
“When the wind changes, get ready.” Before long, the wind began to shift from the southeast to the northwest, and the ducks arrived. Cresting along the edge of the front, they twisted and turned, having flown all night along the edge of the front. They were tired and looking for a place to rest and feed. One quick feeding call and they'd pitch into the decoys and we'd stand to take them.
Louisiana was under a point system and the ducks moving along the edge of that front were Lesser Scaup. They were a 10-point bird and we could have killed 20 of them. When the flight ended, we had a dozen birds in our bags and on the water. The shooting had lasted just 30 minutes, but it was fast and furious for that half-hour. We left with full game bags and plucked birds all afternoon.
This morning was a day just like that, and I remember that day on the lake nearly 40 years ago.