By Kyle Wintersteen
Face it: You aren’t you when it isn’t duck season. The air seems less crisp, daily life is downright monotonous and your significant other, who missed you all season, now just wants you to quit moping around.
According to a statistic I recently made up, 90 percent of off-season waterfowlers find themselves somewhere on the “Duck Depression” spectrum. To find out whether you merely have the blues or are a full-blown sufferer, answer these questions and tally your score.
1) After yet another of your fiery rants about how hunters should be permitted one drake per spring for taxidermy purposes, your spouse gives you the silent treatment. In response, you:
a. Apologize (O points)
b. Surprise your spouse with roasted teal (1 point)
c. Fail to notice and then begin to decry the reduced pintail limit (3 points)
d. Blast a hail call until your spouse speaks (5 points)
2) How often do you accidentally wake up at 4 a.m. and drive to the marsh?
a. Never (0 points)
b. Rarely (1 point)
c. Somewhat often (3 points)
d. Regularly. Yesterday I pitched most of my decoys before a buddy came and got me (5 points)
3) Do you have an uncontrollable urge to call ducks?
a. No, I only call socially (0 points)
b. I probably call too much on the weekends (1 point)
c. I can quit calling ducks whenever I want (3 points)
d. I’ve been quacking this whole time. What day is it? (5 points)
4) Noting that your beverage is empty, you:
a. Go get another (0 points)
b. Announce you’re thirstier than a rice-fed pintail (1 points)
c. Compare your plight to that of a nesting mallard seeking wetlands (3 points)
d. Place a hand in front of your spouse’s nose and command, “Back!” toward the refrigerator (5 points)
5) What’s your favorite way to spruce up the lawn for summer?
a. Trimming the shrubbery (0 points)
b. Adding more full-body decoys (1 point)
c. Broadcasting Japanese millet (3 points)
d. Draping the front porch with camo netting and cedar branches (5 points)
6) When ducks are out of season, do you avoid activities you normally enjoy?
a. No (0 points)
b. No, but all my hobbies involve dogs, shotguns and decoys (1 point)
c. No, I hunt turkeys, but mostly to look for wood ducks (3 points)
d. Yes, the only activities I enjoy are illegal outside of duck season (5 points)
7) Do you have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning?
a. No (0 points)
b. No, I want to stay in “sleep shape” for duck season (1 point)
c. I prefer to think of it as off-season hibernation (3 points)
d. Yes, but only because my canvasback dreams have been that good (5 points)
8) Do you have a positive outlook for the future?
a. Yes (0 points)
b. No, unless you mean after September (1 point)
c. Ask me once the waterfowl breeding survey is released (3 points)
d. Yes, I’m positive I’d give anything just to hunt coots right now (5 points)
9) Are you experiencing a decreased appetite?
a. No (0 points)
b. Yes, but somebody has to finish these buffleheads (1 point)
c. Yes, we’re out of ducks and I find steak kind of gamey (3 points)
d. No, but I’ve noticed I prefer invertebrates to smartweed in the spring (5 points)
How did you do?
0-14 points: This is just a placeholder. No real duck hunter falls into this category.
15-30 points: You are at risk of developing Duck Depression. You’re able to function in society, but your mind is mostly adrift in the marsh. Proceed with caution until the ducks are headed south.
31-45 points: You have Duck Depression. You speak few words, communicating only in greetings, feeding chatter and invitations to come back. You refuse to leave your roost, and if you do, it’s only for an hour or two before heading back to loaf. You’ve allowed your yard to return to its “natural grassland state,” and you’ve proclaimed your favorite colors to be Chesapeake gray, mallard speculum blue, and Realtree. In short, you need help.