By Jeff Fryhover


Another perilous morning in the marsh with Emmett and Dusty  

I SAT FUMING in the front seat of my buddy Joe’s Ford. I was soaking wet, both hands were bleeding, and all I wanted was to get home. Why did I let Joe convince me to hunt with his idiot Cousin Emmett and the Devil Dog, Dusty, again?

This cluster of a Sunday morning started with me waiting at theQuickStop while the “gang” was 35 minutes late. I get dressed up for two things in life—hunting and fishing—and I am NEVER late for either. But Cousin Emmett forgot his gun and they had to turn around…blah, blab, blah! My morning continued to improve when Joe’s boat started sinking. Apparently, Cousin Emmett saw the plug rolling around in the bottom of the boat and thought it was a lock for the trailer hitch, so he put it in the back of the truck. Thankfully, I’m a regular Richard Dean Anderson in the marsh, and I MacGyvered a plug out of a stick wrapped with Duct tape and hammered it solidly into place with my old Stanley Thermos.

Finally, we made it to the edge of the timber by the small cove, threw out a couple of bags of decoys and were ready to go…45 minutes after shooting light. I finally gave a sigh of relief because we had birds in the air and I could forget about Joe’s idiot cousin for a bit, or so I thought.

Joe and I dropped a pair of drake frosties, and in an effort to be civil, I

showed Emmett the wigeon’s vibrant emerald green feathers. In his excitement, he spun to tell Joe and caught me just above the left eye with the barrel of his gun. Wigeon green, quickly turned to pink, purple, and a smattering of psychedelic colors you might see at a Jimi Hendrix concert.- It felt like someone hit me with an eight-pound sledge hammer. My knees buckled, and the only thing that kept me from passing Out was the freezing water filling my waders.

That’s it! I was ready to kill Emmett and Joe could tell by the look in my eye I had already calculated the number of decoy weights it would take to sink his corpse in this marsh for all eternity. Joe thought it might be best if he stayed by Emmett for a bit, and I made sure Dusty stayed on the dog platform.

He growled upon my as I overheard Joe attempting to explain to imbecile Emmett why I was angry with him. I was in no mood for Dusty, and as always, this 92-pound Chesapeake Bay retriever was in no mood for any human being.

Keep in mind, this dog and I have “history.” He has dropped a stinking load in my duck boat (on numerous occasions) attempted to bite me, eaten a full limit of geese out of the back of my truck and spooked away more ducks than I have had to retrieve for him. In fact, if I had to choose to hunt with Emmett or this dog…I pick Emmett every time.

My anger turned into excitement by the quack of a hen mallard. She was confidently leading two greenheads toward their final resting place. Dusty greeted her with a bark and leapt from the platform to swim out to meet them. After chasing him down in thigh-deep water, I gently dragged him the 30 feet back to the platform, keeping his head and nose a good six inches below the water’s surface. I pulled him up on the platform and screamed “Sit,” to which he apparently misinterpreted as “attack.” My blood-curdling scream echoed across the marsh as he sunk both canines into my left hand. I must say, I was a bit surprised at his speed when I reached with my right hand and he quickly bit it as well.

It’s days like these that make me wonder why so many people put those uppity bumper stickers on the back of their cars. They say things like, “I’d Rather Be Hunting,” “My Kid’s an Honor Student,” “World Peace,” or some other overly positive nonsense. I want one that says something like “Pick A Ne Hunting Buddy…Your Current One Stinks!”