THE SWAMP SIREN

Field and Stream - - F&S - —T. Ed­ward Nick­ens

It’s a dawn thing, most of the time, so it breaks my con­cen­tra­tion when I’m in a deer stand or clos­ing the dis­tance on a squir­rel. I hear a wood duck’s squeal­ing whowheeet, who-wheeet whis­tle and my mind starts rac­ing.

Is there a swamp over there? Did the beavers move up the creek? Could there be some new hid­den honey hole I don’t know about?

I’m pretty nuts over most kinds of hunt­ing, but ducks are tops on the list. A mal­lard’s quack or a pin­tail’s whis­tle cranks up my heart rate, no doubt. Those wild calls bring to mind prairie sloughs and big coast marshes. But a wood duck’s whis­tle is a totem of home.

I hear a woodie and I won’t rest un­til I find the beaver slough or oxbow pond where it hides, no mat­ter how small or how briery. More than once, a sin­gle squeal deep in the woods has tipped me off to a hid­den lit­tle nook of swamp wa­ter. And more than once, I’ve clawed my way back the next morn­ing, shrouded in dark camo, wait­ing for dawn and the call of a duck I can never fail to an­swer.

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