Dream Hunt

April 2, 2009 by  

By PJ Maguire

This day was not a dream, but an opening day reality in 2004

This day was not a dream, but an opening day reality in 2004

It was an unbelievable day. The snow was coming down sideways and the birds were committing suicide. I filled my Swan tag with a black neck collared bird that was sporting a tarsus band to boot. I picked the bird out of a decoying flock that came in at first light.

Matt and I also shot about twenty snow geese, one of which was a yellow neck-collared blue! Since I had shot the swan earlier I let Matt claim the collar and leg band. On top of a limit of drake mallards I also recovered a Spoonbill for my bonus bird. The catch, the spoonbill was also banded! The leg iron on the spoonbill meant more to me than the collared Swan. The band on the spoonbill was so old I could only make out the “AV” of Avise.

I felt like I was on top of the world as I drove my brand new pick-up across the snowy cornfield. It was cold, but my body was nice and toasty with the feeling of accomplishment. As I stepped out of the truck into the decoy spread Matt showed me his bonus bird. It was a banded Greenwing Teal he bagged while I was walking back to the pickup.

Later, we were sitting in a small diner in the middle of Nodak, decked out, wearing our lanyards in the joint, showing off the new bling. I was flirting with the cute waitress when I was awoken by my sounding alarm clock. Damn.

It was one of those dreams that are so real you have to check your surroundings when you wake. Needless to say, I was glad to find myself in my room, but discouraged that I had to be at work in a half an hour.

Since I was a young boy I have been having dreams about hunting. My most terrifying nightmares are also about waterfowling. Usually the nightmares are occurring on opening day of the duck season, and I am unable to hunt for various reasons. In these nightmares, ducks are swarming me like mosquitoes and all I can do is sit there and point my finger at them.

I have a reoccurring dream about shooting a double-banded snow goose. The location of the hunt, the time of year and the hunting partners change, but it’s always the same bird. More specifically, it’s a Ross goose with a twenty-five dollar “reward” band and the standard “Call” band.

I  retrieve the bird and as I am walking back to my hunting partners I have a Kool-Aid smile on my face. I’m a nice guy, so I tell the boys, “I am keeping the reward band for myself and the rest of you guys can draw straws for the other leg iron.” Just like that, two hunting buddies become brothers in arms, connected through a bird, each of them having a band from the same bird on their respective lanyards.

From what I have read about dreaming, the dreamer has little control of the events in the dream. Dreams typically deal with events that are occurring in the same time period in which the dream takes place. I dream about hunting more often before and during the waterfowl season. Dreams often include feelings and events that the dreamer has experienced in his or her life. I wonder what people who do not hunt dream about?

Scientists say we have many dreams throughout the night, but only remember very few of them. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is the stage of sleep in which dreams occur. If the dreamer awakes during REM sleep they have the greatest chance of remembering their dreams. So if you are awoken you have a greater chance of remembering your dreams. I rarely wake up at five in the morning, unless to go duck hunting.

Native Americans believed that dreams were “visions” of what is to come. I hope I do not forget my gun next year on duck opener, as there are banded birds in my future.


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