Thursday, January 23, 2014

Simulated Arctic Death

 I was skiing at Killington in Vermont back in High School. It was about 14 degrees. The wind was howling and there was snow and sleet mixed in with the vicious gusts.I recall the wind chill factor to be negative 18 or something along those lines. Back in those days I would ski in those conditions. I was on the Killington Peak chair which takes you to the very top of the mountain. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon. As my chair ascended and we came out above the trees, the chair-lift stopped. My buddy and I were suspended in the air in that brutal cold for about one half hour. The wind was nearly constant at the altitude and we suffered through like 17 year old boys can. At that moment I coined the phrase "simulated Arctic death."
 As an adult I ski less and chase waterfowl more. When the forecast for the Mid-Atlantic region called for snow on Tuesday I pointed my truck south and headed for the duck hunting club to see if I could slam some geese. Generally when the weather is harsh like this, the goose hunting heats up. Some of my most epic goose hunts have been during snow storms. The driving conditions sucked and a 1 hour ride was transformed to 3 hours. I-95 was snow covered and the rookie drivers were incompetent for the conditions. I snapped a shot thru the windshield when traffic had slowed to a crawl.
 I got to the farm, unlocked the decoy shed and loaded up with a rig of full bodies and rags and shells and flags.I was excited...I was sure this would be a great afternoon hunt!
 I laid out the spread  and hunkered down in the  goose pit blind to wait for what I was sure would be locked up Canadas coming into my spread.The snow was blowing so hard it came into the pit. It coated my waterfowl gun and coated the walls.I had to brush off the bench periodically. I had worn my neoprene waders with 1000 grams of Thinsulate to deal with the snow. A good choice.
 I am embarrassed to admit not one goose flew overhead that afternoon. I suppose it was just too windy and harsh to get birds in the air. I chuckled at the irony: as waterfowl hunters we dream of snotty weather to make the hunting better. I braved the bad driving and vicious weather to get out there and hunt while most sane people were in the house warm and dry. I picked up the decoys at about 6 P.M. and the wind had increased. My fingers were numb and my face felt like someone squirted lighter fluid on me and lit it. I was experiencing another round of simulated Arctic Death
 The antidote for this malady: a return to the Clubhouse, a warm fire and a stiff whiskey.
The duck and goose season draws to a I will be out there again tomorrow and Saturday. We'll see what happens....We may be reenacting scenes from "Ice Station Zebra" out in front of the duck blinds.


Pigtown*Design said...

tuesday was truly miserable. hope you managed some better hunting later in the week.

clarice said...

amazing experience!!