It’s that time of year again, club rugby in the deep south goes on hold, hunting and fishing stores are a buzz with frenzied shoppers (this is their Xmas eve rush), liquor outlets are peppering the Speight’s call centre to ensure their chillers are stocked to overflowing, scrub paddocks are coming under assault from Stihl’s and Husqvarna’s, while wives, girlfriends and mothers are constructing bacon and egg pie at a feverish pace.
Duck shooting or using today's more PC terminology duck hunting (what’s next duck catching?) is a glorious time of year in the south a season embraced by over 7000 hardy souls. The weather gods have toyed with us for the best part of a decade with weather more suited to speedeo’s and Piña colada’s than Mai’s Mai’s and camouflage face paint and 2013 was no different with a tropical Saturday emerging from a forecast which early in the week indicated sleet and hail. Not to be fully made a fool of the forecaster’s predicted southerly blast arrived on Sunday but by then it was a little late for some and an pain in the rear end for getting the decoys out.
This year I was getting some preseason training in for a bit of pond stalking at the gym when a scantily clad female mentioned to me in conversation that she cannot understand the massive investment in time and money that goes into duck shooting for essentially what is one weekend for most of the duck shooting population.
I’d never even considered this point to me the duck shooting spend to me is like tax, rates, insurance and ACC levies, compulsory and undertaken without much of a second thought, the only difference being the outcome of such expenditure is to be enjoyed not resented as sense of frustration while watching the latest benefit fraud story on Campbell Live featuring someone having 13 kids to extract a triple figure social welfare benefit.
I had to point out to this extremely fit individual as I sweated like a 60’s school kid waiting his turn for the his turn on the cane, that duck shooting’s opening weekend is the males equivalent to a wedding.
After selecting the correct companion/s for the event which can take some a lifetime, the venue selection and planning process is long and considered with advice being sort from close friends and an significant amount debate and discussion on important issues, such as the menu, decor and attire for the big day.
No expense is spared to ensure it’s a special day with everything perfectly laid on. After all this effort and expenditure you share what you hope to be one of the best days/weekends of your life with your closest friends and family (usually only of the male variety at duck shooting so maybe it’s a same sex marriage?).
The day after is also very similar, you wake up quite hung over having enjoyed the weekends festivities with a big hole in your wallet. The key differences between the two is you don’t have to choose the date for duck shooting and afterwards at least your left with the ducks to eat. If duck shooting was a wedding and things as they tend to do these days went pear shaped the following year half of your Mai Mai, your best gun dog and a few of your key shooters would have been commandeered by your Ex and be shooting across the river scaring off your ducks.
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