Do You Love It? Georgia Duck Hunter Gets Asked Hard Question

Ethan Scoggin | March 13, 2024

In just a few short minutes a Georgia duck hunting memory is made.

“Do you love it?”

That is the question that startled me awake. It was asked by Grayson Crews. To give some back story to that quote, it’s 5:01 a.m, and the first good duck hunt is on the horizon. To say I was excited is an understatement. However, when he asked me that, I still had yet to really wipe the sleep out of the corners of my eyes. Still, it struck a cord with me. Now, why did it strike such a cord with me that early in the morning? I wasn’t really sure. Almost a month later, I think I have it figured out. 

As we put on our waders,  loaded up the truck and listened to the high idle of the cold diesel engine, I was still thinking about what he said, “Do you love it?” As we began to drive to the swamp, with music entirely too loud and still half asleep, all I could continue to think is was, do I love it?

Once we finally got to the swamp, we slowly made our way through the buck brush, blackberry vines and everything else that catches on your gun. We finally take our first steps into the water and the first thing I hear is Hunter saying, “Scooty, we saw three gators in here last night.”  

Now, Hunter is quite familiar with my hatred for hunting south Georgia swamps with gators. For those of you who aren’t aware, ALL south Georgia swamps are occupied by gators! So as I have to make this 100-yard walk in the dark, across the gator infested swamp, I think in my head, “I don’t love it, I don’t love it at all… At least not this part!”  

Once I make it across without a gator encounter, I get my very well used blind bag put up and wait. Then, all across the swamp you hear the actions slamming shut on various makes of over-priced Italian shotguns that have been well used and sometimes abused in the past.

As we wait in anticipation, Parker begins to yell a countdown of how many minutes we are from shooting light. Jack begins to realize he may not have enough shells. Luke, well Luke,  just has a dog that isn’t worth much most of the time. Then there’s me, still trying to figure out, “Do I love it?”

In the blink of an eye, the sun begins to paint a picture of orange, purple and yellow over the swamp that will never be seen from a warm bed, and you can now feel that flame begin to ignite. It’s something different, it’s something that truly can’t be put into words.

In an instant, explosions begin to erupt, our eyes glue to the sky as we look up from under the bills of our hats. Our hearts beat faster and faster as we watch the birds work the spread of decoys. Teal begin to pour in, flying at what seems like a million miles an hour. We can’t keep our guns loaded fast enough. The yells and screams fill the air with every bird down. Or at the sight of a miss, laughter, maybe a little cussing, too.

Then, just like that, it’s over, in the blink of an eye. Everyone unload their gun and begins to somberly pick up decoys, already reliving the moments that just became memories.  With the last gust of wind, the smell of gun powder drifts out of the air, gone, just like that.

We get back to the truck bed, load the birds up for a pile picture and smile, knowing that the events that played out that morning were nothing short of a miracle. We then load up the truck, head back to the paved road and continue our journey to Hardee’s. 

We begin to realize our lack of sleep is slowly settling in. We get looks from the old-men breakfast group of row croppers that probably see a little bit of themselves in us. We sit, laugh and recall all the things that happened during all the hunts we have had in the past. Some parts may be a little embellished, but what would one of my stories be, if not told a little too tall?

So, to say I love it may be an understatement. The truth is I’ve never had someone ask me, “Do you love it?” But I’ll forever be thankful that I got asked.  Because it made me realize why I love it. Truth is, maybe I don’t love it, maybe I live for it. And that might be worse. 

Thanks to Parker and Hunter Weldon, Grayson Crews, Luke Forehand, Jack Clark and the others who either didn’t make the trip but have been there for all the others. Thank you! 

And by the way, on this day, Luke’s dog really shined!

Ethan Scoggin was asked if he really loved duck hunting. It wasn’t a question he was expecting at 5:01 a.m. in the morning before wading through a gator-infested swamp.

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  1. Gerald Young on March 18, 2024 at 7:02 pm

    Awesome story about do you love duck hunting. His description of all the work to enjoy a few minutes of joy was spot on. Great job!

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