Mike, Justin, Carol Marsh and Tink

Carol, Justin and I headed for our woods on opening day of duck season. There were plenty of wood ducks feeding on the acorns in flooded timber. The acorn drop was exceptional this year, making it two years in a row. It is unusual for oaks to bear strongly two years in  a row.

We shot some inexpensive Winchester ammo, a 1 1/8-ounce load of No. 4 steel at a velocity of 1550 fps. The lighter load at higher velocity was perfect. Tink, our Labrador retriever, only had to dig one cripple out of a windrow and a fine job she did. She chased it into the open where we all could watch.

Next hunting day wasn't as good for our young dog. Two woodies hit the water five minutes before legal shooting time. As I watched my watch, she could no longer stand it and tried, futilely to catch an unshot duck!

Well, hunters make mistakes, too. She probably gets disgusted when I miss a shot. I would rather have one that can't keep her control than one that has to be prodded out of the blind to make a retrieve. By the third duck of the morning, she was steady again and had regained her composure. I wonder if, when I looked at my watch, she took it as a silent hand signal to make the retrieve. It is possible because any voice sound or hand movement can set a high-strung dog on a retrieve.