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Why Do We Do It?

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By (moo) -


I just wanted to offer a heartfelt "Thank you!" to Tom W., one of my father's dearest friends, for sending some wonderful pictures to us that have just arrived. I've posted them here, and I am also including one of Dad's personal writings which Tom also quotes in his scrapbook as well.

I often find myself puzzled at why casual acquaintances at work and elsewhere think of what we do as just "killing ducks". After re-reading my father's thoughts on the matter, I realize that an appreciation for waterfowling is always passed from father to son or occasionally to a friend. I like the fact that Dad made mention of his friends who are currently Three Rivers members.

It sounds strange when I tell people that I "aspire" to hunt ducks, but I think Dad explained it well.

Near the end of the 1994 Hunting Season, Dad paused to note what he entitled, "Reflections"...

"This has been a magnificent season. Not in terms only of ducks collected, though that has been of note, but mainly in terms of the people I've had the pleasure of hunting with.

As always, my boys David, Jason, Hunter and Jay, have been a joy to me as I watch them partaking of God's nature in the noble pursuit of ducks and geese. I enjoy their banter at an easy shot missed or a difficult shot made. Their fellowship with their aging father is much appreciated. While I can still keep up with them and, in certain cases, am still their master, I can sense a "changing of the guard." They now do for me in a way that, in years past, I did for them. Simple things like allowing me to rest on the way home. Pushing the boat when it's too shallow to float.

Their friends have become my friends and I have wonderful memories of John May shooting his first duck. Mike Johns getting his first banded duck and the dry observations of Mike True as he picks up and regurgitates every small detail in his own peculiar way. His story of John May shooting his own dead duck, will live on in infamy and will be retold many times, especially when John is around and in front of a new audience.

Of special note was the opportunity to take Marilyn on a ladies day hunt. She was a good sport and barely complained of the cold.

Hunting with my peers, Bob Fey and Ira Hubbard has brought me great pleasure as well. How do you match Bob's enthusiasm and graciousness? What about Ira's tired but triumphant joy at the taking of his blue goose. The sportsmanship of David, Hunter and Mike Johns, as they retrieved Ira's goose, spoke well of them, as they could easily have claimed it as their own. Another example of the changing of the guard.

Paul Lazarov and I spent more time in the field together this year and that has been special. Paul hunted the Lucky Ten more this year and my heart thrilled when he told me that his membership could not be bought at any price! That speaks well for the success we've enjoyed together. Paul is no novice at this game and has enjoyed many privileges in his various pursuits, so his statement is especially strong. It was my pleasure to secure an invitation for Paul to the fabled Beaver Dam. In a very small way, it was a way that I could repay him for the many kindnesses he has shown me, not the least of which was my Christmas present---"Wet Hunting Dog After Shave."

Not to diminish my fondness for the aforementioned hunters in any way, of special note this year was to hunt four times with a "living legend", Dr. William F. Andrews. Chubby is a giant among men. A man's man and a man with a great heart for my God. Throughout the years, he has been an inspiration to me and a man whose spiritual counsel and wisdom I hold to be of great value. Each hunt was special and productive. The first was just thirteen days after his initial surgery for prostate cancer! Together, we saw thirty eight ducks come to the bag and each one was viewed as a prize and a gift by this man. Seventy three years young and still going strong, Chubby hunts far and wide and as often as the seasons will permit. I marvel at his energy and zest.

Egor Bosin, from Russia, hunted as Paul's guest with me this year and he is truly a remarkable young man. He is a gifted hair stylist and a born marketer.

Mike Cianciola hunted with us at Beaver Dam and he told me that only 3 1/2 months ago, he had bypass surgery. At age 60 this seems to me to be a remarkable recovery.

It could be argued that each person on each hunt could or should have been doing something else with his time. Surely there are better things to do with your time than chase after wild and wary ducks. Doesn't a 73 year old know better than to go hunting 13 days after surgery? Should a 60 year old go 3 1/2 months after his chest has been stretched to the breaking point? Shouldn't I have been working? Money is in short supply.

Why do we do it? In each person I have mentioned, I noted a deep appreciation for God's nature and provision. Each of us has a "hunter's heart." Not to put her down in any way, but Marilyn doesn't have it. This is not to say that she didn't enjoy the hunt, but she enjoyed it for a different reason.

Deep within my soul, there is a restless yearning to be afield. To smell the smell of a marsh. To feel the piercing cold of a north wind. To hear the whistling of the wings. To see the approaching dawn. To touch the fine feathers of a freshly downed drake. To marvel at all of God's creation. No other activity can quell this yearning and it is my prayer that I shall never lose my interest in the wonder of it all."

- David L. Ziegler, Sr., 1-17-1994

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Auto5man's picture

Tom Weersma and Dad formed a lifelong friendship bonded in sporting pursuits at the same age many of us are experiencing young 20 and 30-somethings. Weerz, as Pop called him, sure picked out a good quote from Pop's hunting journal...poetic. And surely how I have felt so many times, but never would have been able to express in words so eloquently. Damn, I miss him and those many days afield with him.


hunterzig's picture

I couldn't agree more about missing him. Pop would be proud to hunt with the folks at triv and would have enjoyed seeing us get him to the pits. He would have enjoyed seeing the birds work in the wide open as well. I know he would have adjusted well to the pit hunting and would have continued to teach us a thing or two about smackin em.
To the folks that have their Dads around and interested in hunting, bring them as much as you can as they won't be around forever.

Love you Pop-HZ


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