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Well, today was my last day duck hunting for a couple years. Within the past week, I've gone out about 4 times, shot way too many shells, killed a few birds, and I have one sweet bruise on my shoulder. I got a buddy his swan, introduced another buddy to hunting over the decoys, and today was the best of all.

My dad is one who has gotten me into duck hunting. We used to go a few times a year and I loved it. Once his dad started to get sick and unable to go, it effected him and he wouldn't go out as much. Well, this year, I got my dad to buy a duck stamp for the first time in about 6 years. Not only that, but even when he would buy a duck stamp, he would just take his gun and watch us shoot...today I actually got him to fire a couple shots. Of course, I'm not a good shot and I learned from him, so he didn't hit a thing. I did end the day with my first and last $10 hen mallard of the season. Couldn't think of a better way to finish things off. One of the hardest things to do is to decide to pick up those decoys knowing they won't see water again for two years.

Well, now I clean my gun, hang up my boots, and make sure they are locked in a safe place where nobody will try to sell them! I'm headed off on my mission to Belgium and The Netherlands come Wednesday. Hope you guys leave some birds for me. I'll be back in the marsh December of '09!
 

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I can tell you this much. Those two years go by very fast. I know you have heard it before, but it is so true. Its like one day youre leaving the MTC, the next youre lining up the ladies to date. Dont take one moment of it for granted. I could go on for days about regrets of my mission, but I wont. Enjoy the time out there, you'll love the marsh more if ya do. Good luck.
 

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As much as I love hunting, I would not trade a singe hunt nor all of my hunts put together(past and future) in exchange for my mission. I have been home almost 6 years and there has not been a day that I have not used something I have learned or reflected upon my mission. Early into my mission my mom wrote me and what she told me really brought my focus on what was important. She told me that if I put as much effort as I had put into the marshes, mountains, and streams into my mission, it would be a success, and it was. You are embarking on the greatest hunt of your life. Enjoy it from the start. Have fun. One of the toughest things I saw was missionaries that would finally "get it" in the last few weeks or months. Lastly, smile. My first day in my mission, I could not understand a stinking word that they were saying to me. All I could do is smile. It was all that was needed. Keep in touch. I'll pm you my email. I will have the boat and dog ready for you when you get home.
Jake
 

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my take on it.....

time will go fast and it will go really slow. look at it this way. if you put your mind and soul where you are time will fly as you look back at it. dont think it will go fast while you there and in the mist of struggling with growth. but as you finally finish and are enroute to come home...it then hits you that time just crusied on by. your decision is the best for you at this point. but hold true to what you are going to do and stick with it! duck hunting isnt going anywhere and it will be here when you return. good luck and let the growing begin!!!
 
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