Not So Warm-Blooded

The account of my demise becomes fodder for stories for generations to come, and strong men drink strong liquids while admiringly recounting them. I become an awe-inspiring memory.

Marsh Madness by Bruce Cochran

Dying doesn't much appeal to me, and I don't dwell on it too often. However, when I do allow myself to think about it, I think not only of death itself, but also the method the Grim Reaper might employ when my time comes.

Naturally, as an outdoorsman and waterfowler, I occasionally entertain visions of dying gloriously in some remote place. In these fantasies, the end comes sensationally and is the stuff of legend. The account of my demise becomes fodder for stories for generations to come, and strong men drink strong liquids while admiringly recounting them. I become an awe-inspiring memory.


Sometimes, while goose hunting in Alaska, I am set upon by a mad grizzly or a starving wolf pack. I fight valiantly with teeth and trusty knife before succumbing to the law of claw and fang. I've seen myself gored and trampled by a wounded cape buffalo in Africa, just like Ernest Hemingway's hapless but heroic Francis Macomber. (I know, I know. That has nothing to do with waterfowling. Just bear with me, please.)



My best imagined death, however, comes when I am swept away by a wild whitewater river while rescuing (always successfully) a woman (always beautiful, with lust in her heart for me) and her baby (there has to be a baby) before the eyes of dozens of onlookers.

But none of that is going to happen. My track record of my close calls says otherwise. I'm bound, I fear, to exit this life in some inglorious fashion. Allow me to share some ominous precursors of a death that will doubtless be remembered as ludicrous and downright silly, even.


For instance, there's the day I stepped onto a submerged rock in a creek while jumpshooting mallards. The "rock" turned out to be a shadow. In the resulting tumble, I missed bashing my head by mere inches.


I've been nearly decapitated by a flying wood duck. That's right, a wood duck. He flew at me on a direct line at head level as I stood against a hickory tree. He missed only because I saw him at the last second and turned aside. I later envisioned that cool guy on "CSI: Miami" viewing my body -- with the duck's head protruding from one ear and duck's butt protruding from the other -- then removing his sunglasses and saying, "Hmm, this is indeed a poser, now isn't it?"

Then there was the "bear." I was out after teal, knee-deep in a Florida cypress swamp. He was somewhere, unseen, snorting and snuffling, coming ever closer. My subsequent discovery that it was only a swimming beaver blowing water from its nostrils did little to allay the almost-heart attack I had when the fur appeared.

How about the time the cottonmouth crawled into my canoe, motivating me to leap overboard into a pond teeming with water moccasins and alligators! Or the morning I launched myself from a platform blind at the screech of a barred owl perched 2 feet above my head. Another near-coronary coupled with contusions, abrasions and a sharp stick imbedded in my'¦ Well, never mind.

Point is, folks, old Bob isn't likely to die well. Or glamorously. In fact, I'm about to go duck hunting moments from now in a pond just across the road from where I now sit. If death awaits, it'll likely have "Greyhound" emblazoned on the side.

I'll look both ways before crossing.

Recommended for You

Make summertime barbecues super easy by grilling up one of these duck recipes from Scott Leysath, Recipes

2 Easy Duck Recipes for Summertime Grilling

WILDFOWL Online Staff

Make summertime barbecues super easy by grilling up one of these duck recipes from Scott...

The sweet, tangy flavor of orange juice combined with spicy jalapeños in this duck recipe will have your taste buds screaming for more. Recipes

Sweet Jalapeño Grilled Duck Recipe

Scott Leysath, "The Sporting Chef"

The sweet, tangy flavor of orange juice combined with spicy jalapeños in this duck recipe will...

Keep your retriever sharp in the offseason. Retriever

Waterfowl Workouts: 3 Summer Duck Dog Drills

Tony J. Peterson

Keep your retriever sharp in the offseason.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Women

Women's Waterfowl Lineup

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the company's full line-up of women's waterfowl hunting gear for 2019. From warm and moisture-wicking base layers to water and windproof outer layers, this is a complete system for women who love to chase fall and wintertime ducks and geese across the four flyways!

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call.

Picking a Puppy

Picking a Puppy

Wildfowl contributor Mark Romanack shares advice about choosing your next retriever.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads Ammo

11 Best New Shotshell Loads For Waterfowl

Wildfowl Online Staff - August 17, 2017

Consistency is what pushes today's shotshell makers to constantly improve new waterfowl loads

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show! Shotguns

Best New Waterfowl Shotguns for 2019

Lynn Burkhead - January 23, 2019

Check out our picks for the best new waterfowl guns from the 2019 SHOT Show!

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer.

Of course, it Boats

8 Best Mud Motors for 2016

David Hart - May 26, 2016

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer. Of course,...

See More Stories

More Stories

Six mallards swung past the decoys as the sun broke the horizon and two of us put four of them on Stories

"Kill that'¦that...Duck!"

Brad Fenson - September 30, 2016

Six mallards swung past the decoys as the sun broke the horizon and two of us put four of them...

In 1988, it was a Model 11-87. Later, a Mossberg 935. Today, Remington's VersaMax. Four decades, Stories

Iconic Waterfowling Figures: First Gun Stories

M.D. Johnson - January 12, 2016

In 1988, it was a Model 11-87. Later, a Mossberg 935. Today, Remington's VersaMax. Four...

Not only is Carson Wentz a talented quarterback, he is also a very impressive waterfowl Stories

Philadelphia Eagles' QB Carson Wentz Hunting Waterfowl in His College Years

Wildfowl Online Staff - June 12, 2018

Not only is Carson Wentz a talented quarterback, he is also a very impressive waterfowl

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.