From what I’ve heard, dating is hard. I haven’t had to date in over 18 years, so I guess I’m pretty lucky.

I can tell you what my wife and I did on one of our very first dates that seemed to work. She’s still with me and puts up with me, so I consider it proof that my system is flawless — I took her duck hunting.

Will it work for you? Who knows . . . but here are some factors to consider before buying Ms. Could Be The One a brand-new pair of waders.

Image from Cabela’s Facebook

Is She In?

First things first, you’ve got to get her to agree to it. If she’s not much of a hunter, this might take some convincing. So, stick to the high points. Mention how enjoyable it is, and how you can talk and be social while you’re hunting. Talk about how much fun it is to see the dog work, and how beautiful the sky is when the sun peaks over the marsh.

Of course, skip the parts about how much work it is to set the decoys, how dirty the blind is because you never clean it, or the fact that there is no dog — she will retrieve all the ducks because she’s the newbie in the blind. Hey, rules are rules on that last one. You can’t go making exceptions just because she looks hot in hip boots.

Here’s a tip: Double blinds are a great excuse to be close. You’re welcome.

Part of setting those expectations would be to explain how it all works ahead of time, so she knows what she’s getting into. Explain why she needs camo and what type of camo to wear. Talk about avoiding anything flashy, like big shiny earrings. And remember to focus on the positive aspects of hunting.

Now, if she grew up hunting and has experience killing ducks, then marry her. Period.

Okay, maybe go on a few dates first. But keep in mind that what we’re talking about in this article is leaning toward breaking someone new into the hunting world.

And to all the single lady duck hunters out there — this also applies to you: Take that guy you just met to the duck blind because you’ll find out if he’s worthy in short order.

Find stuff to do while you wait for shooting hours. The author learned firsthand that throwing a corn cob at her is not advised.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

If you’ve been hunting waterfowl for long, you know roughly what time waterfowlers must be up and ready to go if you’re going to make it out. Most of us usually have the decoys set and are in the blind before the sun rises. Heck, I’ve usually got the coffee drained from the thermos by then, too. So, if she’s willing to get up and hit the marsh bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at o’-dark-30, well, that’s a good sign she might be into you.

Make sure you bring coffee for her and maybe some breakfast. She gets bonus points if she has her own long underwear, camo and neck gaiter. She gets double bonus points if she skips the makeup, and triple if she is willing to paint up her face with blackout like the Duck Commander.

Image courtesy of Cabela’s Facebook/Anthony Hakey

Shooting Stuff

There are a couple ways to go about this. If she’s not comfortable with a shotgun, have her do some shooting before you go. Be patient if she doesn’t get it right away. Remember, you undoubtedly didn’t either when you got started.

My wife grew up in a hunting household, and like many women, she was comfortable with guns and shooting. She said it helps keep me on my toes, whatever that means.

All I know is, she has, at times, outshot me at the range. This is no reason to turn in your man card. Try to kick her butt the next time, and maybe try yelling “Noonan!” right as she begins to pull the trigger.

Image from Cabela’s Facebook

Have a Good Time

The most important thing about duck hunting dating is to have fun. I mean, that’s the reason we duck hunt in the first place. Enjoy the social time. Get to know each other better over a thermos of coffee and some shotgun shells. Take in the sunrise and watch the marsh come alive. Let her experience what it is that you love about waterfowl hunting.

There’s a couple of good reasons for this, and yes, I speak from experience. For one, you’ll have a hunting buddy, and one that is far better looking than one of the guys. If it really works out, she’ll never question you about buying decoys. Well, she might not question it. I still have to occasionally sneak some in. Lastly, I don’t know about you, but I am never more at ease than when I’m in the duck blind. There is very little that can bother me there.

That’s how I knew my wife was a keeper. She shared in that, and made the experience even better. You can have that, too. Just remember to invite me to your wedding. I’ll assume you’re registered at Cabela’s.

Tip from the author and his wife: Make sure you take lots of photos because you’ll look back later and laugh.

Top image courtesy of Ducks Unlimited

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