Blind Insights is a soul perspective into the lives of waterfowlers written by published author and speaker, Jason Cruise, founder of Mission Media & Resource Group.
I took my first trip to “The Cabin” in 1977. Though I was only five years old at the time, to this day it is the most thrilling ride in a truck I have ever experienced. Over time the ride to the cabin became every bit as much fun as the hunt itself. Full of mud holes and deep-rutted logging roads, I sat between my daddy and my grandfather in an heavy, forest green Dodge truck as we battled what seemed like a living, breathing beast of a bulldozed path to make our way back to this hunting camp that was seemingly untouched by time.
Perhaps what I loved most about the cabin was listening to my daddy, my grandfather, and all their hunting buddies sit by the camp fire while they ventured out on these long discourses about hunts they cherished from years past. Their hunting stories were mesmerizing, larger than life itself, and I hung on every word.
Over the years a man begins to form his own story. You know it all too well. As a hunter, you grow up, and stories begin to form the fabric of your soul. You have your own tales of the big bucks you’ve missed. You have your own cherished recollections of the time you hunted that timber hole and mallards fell from the sky like heavenly candy handed out by God himself. Even how you acquired your gun has its own story. It may not be dramatic, but it is a story nonetheless, and that adds immeasurable value to the object itself. I suppose it was the cabin years that planted in me a love for stories.
Hanging from my lanyard to this very day is a deep-hued amber double reed duck call. People often ask me why I risk hunting with it. It’s not that I just love the call, which I do, but the reason I risk taking it to the field is what the call represents. The call unto itself is a story: a bond of brotherhood.
A few years ago I was staying at Will Primos’ farm the Mississippi Delta. Jeremy Harrill, who is my partner in Mission Media, and I were there to capture Will’s story of the early years of Primos and how that played into his faith journey. It was a part of one of our DVD projects titled The Record Book.
We were sitting fireside around the living room catching up on life. Will stepped out for a second and returned with two ducks calls in his hand. Will explained that every year he personally crafts a duck call for that specific year for guests that come stay with him, and that night he gave one to each of us. Not only was this call stunningly gorgeous, but it sounded great, too.
Duck hunters are creatures of habit. Inevitably, when the ducks stop flying and I’m standing in the duck hole swapping tales, somebody will ask me why I like that particular duck call. All they see is amber acrylic, but they don’t know the story. So, I tell them about a brother in the faith who took the time to put his hand to the plow to sow a small seed of brotherhood and give it to me. Every time I duck hunt, I cannot help but notice how my thoughts, even for a short moment, turn to a man who has been a friend, a source of wise counsel, and a supporter of my endeavors to reach hunters. Sometimes I pray for him, and sometimes I just thank God for him.
In the end, it’s just a duck call, for the relationship matters far more to me than the acrylic. Yes, there’s a risk in hunting with a call like that. Life, and the stories we own from living it, are filled with risk. So it’s only fitting to risk something of value. I could lose that duck call. Yet, even in losing it, I could accept it, for I know that somewhere buried in the Mississippi Delta mud there is a duck call that was born there. And I own the story.