Eli pulled out a number. What rotten luck! Fourteen other hunters would pick hunting spots at Eagle Bluffs before him. They would surely snatch up the best ones before he got to choose.
It was Eli’s first duck hunt. As his dad poled their boat silently through the marsh, Eli heard eerie splashing all around them. He shined a flashlight into the inky darkness and was startled to see the beady red eyes of a coot staring back.
At dawn, a duck landed in their decoys. Across the marsh, shots began to boom. Eli’s dad shook his head. “It’s not shooting time, yet,” he said. Minutes passed like hours, but the duck stayed put. “It’s time,” his dad finally whispered.
Eli shouldered his gun. The duck jumped airborne, water dripping from its kicking feet. Eli aimed, fired ... and missed. He didn’t miss the next three ducks, though.
At the Eagle Bluffs office, the area manager told Eli he was one of the only hunters to bag ducks that day. Eli smiled from ear to ear as he wrote a note thanking the Eagle Bluffs staff for his great hunt. Maybe his luck wasn’t rotten after all.
Nichole LeClair Terrill