February 26, 2005 at 1:34am
I started hunting with my best friend and his dad when I was 15. We had plenty hunts with other friends as well and they still stick in my mind as if it was yesterday. Waking up early and eating 'pip tarts', drinking water from that COLD aluminum cup on the back of the Anna Lee. Shooting the 22s after the hunt to pass the time before the afternoon hunt, and so many other memories. Dr. George and PawPaw Broussard assigned me to my own blind on the lease when I was 20 or so and told me NO GUESTS and that if I wanted to take a guest, I could get a dog to bring along!!!! When I realized that I was going to be going down to the lease and hunting on my own, now that I had a blind, I bought a lab. Jessie was a great little chocolate lab that had as much heart as any for the hunt. Dr. George let me borrow his aluminum fishing boat to take to the lease and back. I took PawPaw Broussard hunting with me fairly often. We loved it. I believe he quit coming out with me when he was in his early 70s. He would call ducks with the seriousness of any true hunter and after we would shoot, he would laugh out loud out of sheer enjoyment of what had just happened. Whether we hit or missed, he would laugh aloud because he had such a passion for hunting ducks that his love for the sport was nothing but contagious. He would encourage me to try and call ducks and would say that it sounded like a duck now and then to build my confidence. Whether it sounded ducky or not, he always encouraged me to keep trying, giving me subtle pointers along the way. PawPaw Broussard always had a story to tell when the shooting was slow. Sometimes he would tell the same story, but it was still interesting because he was taking time to show me what duck hunting was all about. I had enough respect for him to sit there and listen and laugh and enjoy the whole experience. I was there for the experience. I used to hunt for a certain species and gender of duck to make the hunt a challenge. One weekend I would shoot only Gadwall drakes, one week only Widgeon drakes, one week only Greenheads, or Teal, and the list goes on. I would shoot a hen now and then, but I got better as time passed. Often, when the hunt was over and I would paddle the pirogue around the 600 plus acres we had just to see the sights. Ducks, Nutria, Eagles, Otter, Beavers, Alligators, Snakes on occasion, we had it all. PawPaw Broussard passed on a few years ago and although I loved my grandfather dearly when he was alive and learned a lot about other things, I had a big enough heart to embrace and cherish each moment I was able to share with PawPaw Broussard as well. A legend in my mind and truly missed.