It's Called a Pit for a Reason

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Published on: Oct. 2, 1998

Last revision: Nov. 2, 2010

My husband, Bert, and I tried goose hunting several years ago. After a long, cold season, during which we'd joined several so-called goose "experts" on a number of miserable hunts without ever killing a single bird, we had pretty much decided to leave geese alone. They were, obviously, much too smart for us.

The next autumn, however, as flocks of the big birds honked spitefully high above us, I am overcome by the irresistible urge to do something foolish. "Let's go goose hunting," I cry.

"You're nuts!" Bert says. I was unfazed; after all, this is Bert's standard response to anything I suggest. "We have to learn to hunt geese on our own," I insist. So far, we'd seen absolutely no evidence that anyone knew how to hunt geese. Bert just shrugs and gives in, proving once more he's as nuts as I am.

We make plans, pack our gear and head to Duck Creek in southeast Missouri. We leave despite a massive ice storm that paralyzes the region-enough to deter rational people, but not goose hunters.

Stars still sprinkle the sky when we finally slip and slide into Duck Creek's parking lot. I join the bleary-eyed crowd stumbling through the door for the blind drawing. When I make my pick, every hunter in the building eyes me enviously. "Golly, you got a good one," drools one fellow. "You'll see geese for sure."

See geese? Is it noteworthy when you see geese here? This is information best kept to myself.

"What'd he say?" Bert asks.

"Er, nothing," I lie. We next have to wend our way through a maze of roads to a pit that appears by the map to be at least 5 miles away. The temperature is well below zero. Bert, as always, starts worrying. "How are we ever going to find our pit in the dark?"

"No problemo. I'll show you how to get there."

"Have you been here before?" he asks, eyeing me suspiciously.

"No, but how hard could it possibly be?"

Thirty minutes and 15 odometer miles later, our pickup lurches to a halt alongside a huge pool of water. By now it's full daylight. Ours is the only vehicle still traveling the roads. Far out in the middle of the pool, we spy a huge hummock of cattails.

"That must be it," I state, with as much authority as I can muster.

"Are you sure?"

"Sure, I'm sure. Look, there's the boat." With that, Bert springs into action, loading

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