Learning the Hard Way

Learning the Hard Way

Not all hunting lessons are taught. Sometimes they are learned the hard way.

Hunting on the mighty Susquehanna River can be a challenging task for even the most veteran hunters. Every year the toll rises on the lives this river claims.

The Susquehanna River varies from a rocky type bottom to thick sinking sediment areas. Knowing what you’re going to encounter and preparing for the environment that you are hunting is one of the most vital things in hunting.

Growing up hunting and fishing on the Susquehanna River I have learned how to prepare myself and what to expect from each day in the field. Being prepared can sometimes come down to the difference between life and death. In my case, just a few years ago, adding to the death toll of the Susquehanna River was a very real possibility.

While wading in the river to throw out my decoys I hit a hole within the sediment of the river. In an instant, I was up to my knees in mud. To me this was no big deal, I’ve been in this situation hundreds of times. This time, however, was different.

The more I struggled the more I sank. I was only in thigh high water at the time so I wasn’t too concerned. That was until I remembered that the dam above was being released and the water level was going to rise very quickly.

With water on the brink of going over my chest waders, I quickly realized I had to somehow get out of this situation now. Without a second thought, I unbuckled my waders and crawled into the bone-chilling water.

As I crawled into my boat I realized I would need to get a fire started quickly. Fortunately, I always carry extra clothes in my blind bag. Knowing the possibility of hypothermia, I quickly got to shore and started a fire.

My father has taught me a lot of lessons over the years like preparing for the unpredictable moments we regularly experience when hunting. This morning the might Susquehanna River hammered that lesson home.

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