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Bobby Bass

Duck Launch

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The town of Lake Iwanttobethere on the lake of the same name in a county that no one can pronounce is busy this morning. Duck season has arrived. Dew Drop Inn and the Sunshine Cafe are doing a brisk business and even both parking meters on main street have a truck parked in them. Gas has fallen below 2.98 at the Gulp-N-Go and for awhile there was even a small line at the pumps. At the General Store Junior is standing in his apron greeting customers at the door. Big Earl has a taken a rare day off to go duck hunting. He was here at the Lodge last night with his cousin who is a gun rep. Earl was serious about his hunting and drank nothing but Hamms till the wee hours of the morning. With a noon start he stayed away from the Wild Turkey. Of course hunting with a gun rep the entire trip was a write off and the cousin even left a tip.

An assortment of trailers and flat boats are lined up at the access. No one going in the water but the double line has started. Looking like a parade from a hunters catalog the various boats await. Guys in full camo and waders wander from trailer to trailer. Dogs in crates or sleeping on top of canvas beds in the back of pickup trucks can be seen. Smoke swirls from big stogies bought at Jake's Smoke Shop. Some last hour adjustments of straw glued to the side of boats and drab paint waiting to dry. Banging of pots and pans from the campground as still others hunters who are cabin less have come during the night to the lake. Campfire smoke swirls across the park and mixes with the cigar smoke. Hunters like their dogs sniff the air at the aroma. Bacon hits a pan and everyone's noses twitch a bit.

From time to time heads look skyward as a lone duck fly's by over head. Some laffs are heard and some might even have an evil tilt to them as the unsuspecting duck fly's by. A few make note of the direction of travel and look down at partial maps of the lake spread out on the hoods of trucks. A few grouse hunters dressed in orange drive up, getting out they mingle with the duck hunters adding some color.

Some of the Lodge guys are down with the group, they are moving a little slower then the rest. Last nights Apple dance at the Lodge was a success. The spiked apple cider was a big hit and of course everyone had a belly full of apple pie and tarts and crisp. The line to the washroom was short but never the less there was a line. A truck pulls in and tries to move to the head of the line. A couple of guys actually want to go fishing. After a brief discussion they are allowed to jump the line and they put their boat in the water. Parking the truck and trailer the driver has to walk the gauntlet of duck hunters back to his waiting boat. With some help from hunters in waders they push the fishing boat out into the water. The motor coughs and then catches and the fishermen head out. A few waves are exchanged and the guys in waders return to the parking lot. They are easy to see as they stand with water dripping onto the pavement making wet rings around them.

Not long after a duck boat is seen with two hunters in it crossing in front of the access. They must have put in down in front of the Mastrbaiters Bait shop and had gotten in first. Now with a control haste other boats were backed into the lake and hunters started to launch. Looking something like a Lodge fishing contest the shoreline was soon covered with an array of boats and dogs and hunters. The launch area left a wet trail of water heading back to the parking lot. Once there it fanned out to the parking spaces where the dripping trucks and trailers sat. Dogs stood at the bows and as one the wave of hunters started motors and with puffs of smoke headed out to the back bays of Lake Iwanttobethere. A few minutes later and the Lake was calm again. No sign of hunters just the quiet drip of water off trailers and the water joining to run down the parking ramp and back to the lake.

A lone truck chugs around the point following the access road it pulls into the access. An old feller gets out and an even older dog waddles down to the shore. The dogs walks in the water a ways and acts like she is testing it. The 12' Jon boat is tugged off the back of the truck and I can hear the bang as it hits the pavement. A high screaming sound reaches me here at the Lodge as it is dragged the short distance across the pavement. Almost like it does not want to go in the water. A wood box is loaded and then an old Clinton is attached to the transom. Some green oars are added and a mesh bag of decoys. The pickup pulls up to park alongside the garbage can and the old guy walks back to the waiting boat. The dog with some help gets in the boat and the man starts to push the boat out into the water. He stops and pulls the boat back up onto shore. He turns and makes the walk back to his truck. Digging in his pocket he finds his keys and unlocking the truck he grabs his shotgun from behind the seat. He turns and once again makes it back down to the old boat. This time he pushes off and with a pull on the starter rope the Clinton starts and he moves on down the shoreline. The old dog standing in the bow, nose to the slight wind, leading the way. From Lake Iwanttobethere.

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What A great weekend hunting for ducks! If you were a duck. Another overcast day here and the only people in town who are dry are the duck hunters. Walking around wearing waders and layers of rain coats does have it's advantages. The dogs seem to be enjoying themselves shaking from time to time as they walk along side their masters. Here at the Lodge the yellow mop bucket is out by the door to clean up the tracks left by both the hunters and their dogs. Even though it is warm out there is a fire going in the hearth. Several stocking feet are pointed in it's direction. Bud was out most of the weekend and is now here hiding in my office. He has taken up a position behind the door and out of sight. Even Bud has had enough of sitting in a wet blind in a drizzle for the last weekend.

Sure a lot of ducks were harvested and a lot others were scarred but a lot of guys just sat in the rain sipping warm coffee and trying to convince themselves what a great weekend it was to be out in the rain. Actually it was kind of mild so they did have that in their favor, No snow, at least none that was reported. And no thunderstorms or straight line winds. Only heard of one boat that was not secured and was blown away when it's owner went to answer the call of nature. It was brought back with just a little teasing from a neighbor.

By late evening the Sunshine Cafe and the Dew Drop Inn were busy and deep into the dinner hour. Suspender wearing hunters lined the stools sitting shoulder to shoulder and plates of roast beef, mashed tatters ands gravy were being inhaled. Smell of apple pie hung heavy in the air and clinking of spoons in coffee cups could be heard. Still a group of hunters at the landing, not wanting to leave and savoring the moment they leaned against drab colored boats on trailers and rubbed dogs behind their ears. Holding hands up with invisible shotguns in them they reenacted the days hunt. Laughter can be heard muffled by the still falling rain. After awhile they do finally load their dogs and take off their raincoats. They slide behind the wheels of their trucks. They pullout only to stop drivers door to drivers door and start a new conversation. After awhile they tap their horns and pull out of the parking lot heading home, a moment later the lot is empty and the water of the lake is calm and that is when it stops raining. From Lake Iwanttobethere

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