Looking back after the close of the first segment of duck season I’d have to say so far, so great. We had a lot of action, enjoyed some wonderful duck dinners, made some great hunting memories and I enjoyed some new hunting buddies.
My favorite was Landen Snyder. He’s the nine-year-old grandson of very good hunting buddy Bob Snyder. I got to hunt with the boy from Bonner Springs the first and last weekends of the duck season. Both were great.Young Landen Snyder started the duck season catching a garter snake that was coiled in the bottom of a duck blind.Landen and I started the season in the bottom of a pit blind, catching a garter snake he proudly named after his grandfather. He eventually changed the name for some reason.
We had the snake in his pocket, in empty shotgun shell boxes and watched the speed of its flicking tongue tell us if the snake was cold or warm. He proudly kept the snake through the weekend, transporting it home within a custom-made box from his grandmother, Judy.
Saturday morning there were no snakes, and not a lot of ducks, but one mallard drake that hovered over the decoys like a helicopter made my weekend.
When all was right, Russ Snyder let Landen take a few shots at ducks over the past week. With his own gun aside, Russ helped Landen get safely lined up on Saturday’s drake that slowly buzzed above the spread 15 yards away.
Amid his dad’s “Shoot him, Landen, shoot him. Landen, shoot him…” at auctioneers speed the boy dropped the gorgeous drake. It was a very good shot for any kid. It was a major deal for this one.Three generations enjoy a mallard drake. From left, Russ Snyder, Landen Snyder (the shooter) and Bob Snyder.While Snyder is his last name duck hunting is the boy’s heritage.
Grandpa Bob was literally raised amid the Quivira marshes where his family once managed private duck clubs.That he started cleaning ducks, caring for decoys and rowing boats by Landen’s age hasn’t dimmed his interest. Bob Snyder still hunts nearly every day of the season.
Russ Snyder spent many of his earliest fall and winter days sleeping in the bottom of a blind . He was learning to rig decoys about the age he was learning to read. At the end of Saturday’s hunt Landen wrapped cords and stowed some decoys perfectly in a special bag.
But my favorite part about Landen is he’s so happy to be outdoors. Unlike most his age he prefers playing outdoors to indoors and doesn’t need toys to be entertained.
Where we park to go hunting three or four big hay bales are forts or castles beckoning to be scaled by Landen. At one point he said he’d rather have such bales in his yard than his new XBox.
That’s my kind of kid.