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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Ducks Unlimited

I must admit, I'm no hunter...I've tried it, and I have a hard time actually killing animals for sport (except cockroaches, of course...lots of fun there!) When we visited my Dad, Ray, after Christmas, he decided it was high time we saw what his duck club was all about. So, Steve and I joined him for dinner at the club, and an informal shuffleboard tourney. And then, at the break of dawn on a cold December morning, I traipsed along behind him to shoot ducks my own way...with a camera.

If you know anything about hunters and their relationships with their retrievers, you'll understand the connection my Dad has with his dog, Katie. She may be getting old, but it's absolutely amazing to watch the way she works when she's out in her element...in this case, at the Salinas Duck Club, in the wetlands of central California. Selective breeding is evident when this old, arthritic girl gets out into the marsh and starts to do her job. Not a single movement is missed by her keen eyes, yet she immediately knows the difference between a duck and some other marsh bird! How does she do that? She knows just when to jump up and run, and doesn't hesitate as soon as the gun goes off. She doesn't give up, either. She'll work a long time to find a bird that's gotten lost. She absolutely loves her job and puts all her heart into it!

It was really a great experience, Dad. We enjoyed the evening of dinner with the bunch and learning to play shuffleboard. You've got a great bunch of friends at the duck club, and I'm really glad we got to go. Thanks for sharing a bit of something you enjoy so much with a couple of total novices.


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