Dawn was hauntingly beautiful.

No flamboyant sunrise color; rather a suffusion of light through the fog-veiled cypress trees. Todd Hopkins’ and Brandon Garner’s duck calls echoed off the fog as effectively as off a steel wall.

We were in Big Green Brake, an island of cypress trees sitting in the middle of the lizard-shaped lake on the Louisiana-Texas border northwest of Shreveport.

The big lake is famous for its largemouth bass fishing — “one of the best lakes in the region,” said Hopkins. “Yup,” chimed in Garner, “there are lots of 10-pounders here.”

But it wasn’t bass we were here for; it was ducks. And I was with experts.

Hopkins, Clerk of the Caddo Parish Commission, the governing body of Caddo Parish, is at age 53, a 35-year duck hunter. He lives on the lakeshore and hunts with friends who have permanent blinds (more on that later), and has a boat-blind himself. He hunts something every weekend of hunting season.

Garner, 33, is also an addicted hunter. “I love it,” he gushed, while admitting that he hunted ducks 40 of last season’s 60 days. The firefighter paramedic hunts squirrels from their opening in early October until gun season for deer. He hunts deer until duck season, then nothing but ducks.

He arranged for today’s hunt in a friend’s blind in the lake.

The final member of the trio is 42-year-old Kelly Wells, the executive director for the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission. Part of his job is to promote awareness of hunting and fishing opportunities in Caddo and Bossier parishes. He’s the guy to call (888-458-4748) to arrange for a fishing guide for