One Morning

STORY BY Jeff Moore 

TEXAS | SEALY


Every waterfowler has a lifelong story. This is mine and only mine. My intent was to celebrate my sport with what I did, what I remembered, what I felt. My hope is that it elevates to a more profound statement in the end.

One morning,

I followed my father down a bar ditch between the rice fields near Hockley, Texas and sat still. Too young for a gun. Too poor for decoys. Just hoping a specklebelly, snow or blue would fly over low enough so my father could shoot his Remington Sportsman 48. 

One morning,

I bought a Faulk’s duck call for $4.95 at the neighborhood Ace Hardware and blew it on the walk home. 

One morning,

I shot my first duck — a hen shoveler, decoying into a small lake near Sealy, Texas. 

One morning,

I entered a duck-calling contest, did not squeal and came in second. 

One morning,

the law said I could not shoot a canvasback. 

One morning,

the law said I could shoot two. 

One morning,

I painted a duck stamp. 

One morning,

I waded in the decoys and watched in slow motion as my Chick Major’s duck call insert dropped in the water. 

One morning,

I hunted snow geese in dense fog on a rice field called “Yankee Stadium,” next to an old man wearing a P.E.T.A hat. (People. Eating. Tasty. Animals.) 

One morning,

I hunted on a national wildlife refuge. 

One morning,

I thanked a veteran with a hunt. 

One morning,

I mastered the northwest wind. 

One morning,

I watched an 11-year-old Labrador with two ball-less hips chase down a crippled mallard in pure muck. 

One morning,

I waded in Arkansas’ flooded timber. 

One morning,

I canoed on the Delta Marsh. 

One morning,

I passed a school of dolphins on the way to the blind. 

One morning,

I witnessed the golden age of waterfowling for just an instant as a flock of 3,000 birds decoyed to our North Dakota field. 

One morning,

I broke the golden rule of waterfowling: Never climb a barbed-wire fence in your waders. 

One morning,

I grabbed the guns as our overloaded 14-foot jon boat sank. 

One morning,

I felt the masterworks of the Ward Brothers and Charles Walker in my hands. 

One morning,

I helped pay to save the roof of Charlie Perdew’s old river rock home in Henry, Illinois. 

One morning,

I returned to my childhood hunting lease in Hockley, Texas and found a gas station where I once shot snows, blues, and pintails. 

One morning,

I bought a 100-year-old duck club — with a storied history of grand hunts with Illinois governors and illegal baiting with barges of corn. 

One morning,

I photographed an eider decoy that someone bought at Sotheby’s for $767,000. 

One morning,

I couldn’t hunt without my roboduck. 

One morning,

I took my daughter hunting and watched her fall asleep in the blind. 

One morning,

I hunted with six of my best friends. 

One morning,

I hunted alone. 

One morning,

I realized I can’t be a waterfowler for just one morning. 

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