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Hunting Season Around Washington
Comments () | Published January 16, 2014
Jeff DeFord, duck hunter.
Max Finazzo, duck hunter: Duck hunting is typically done over water. Finazzo will set up fake decoy ducks, then use a duck call to draw the birds close for the shot. His chocolate Lab, Floyd, waits quietly until he can retrieve the carcass. “There’s a relationship of trust there,” Finazzo says. “The dog understands the process of sitting still—as still as it can—until you shoot.”

Down the Potomac River, in an old tobacco plantation in Charles County, Maryland, a different type of hunt begins. Like the fox hunters, Max Finazzo woke early to catch his quarry; now he sits quietly in a bog with Floyd, his Lab.Instead of fancy dress, Finazzo wears camouflage, and in place of foxes he hunts duck. He uses a shotgun but is quick to explain that his form of hunting is much more than pointing and shooting: “That’s just target shooting. The sport isn’t shooting ducks—it’s putting yourself into a challenging situation and seeing if you can be successful. There are so many variables, dealing with the elements like tide and wind and rain and snow. You have to be adaptable.”

In that sense, Finazzo’s pursuit is much like fox hunting. It reveals a reverence for nature, both its power and its beauty. “It’s rough terrain, and if something goes wrong, you have to get yourself out of it,” he says. “But there’s also something to be said for watching the sun come up over the water.”

Finazzo’s dog plays an important role. After a duck is shot, Floyd sniffs out the trail to retrieve the bird. He’s been training since he was a puppy, and he and Finazzo are close. “In the beginning you hunt for yourself, just the excitement of being able to kill a couple of ducks,” Finazzo says. “Then you get to a point when it’s more about watching the dog work, because you see how much they love it. Floyd knows the difference between getting in the car to go see the vet and to go hunting. He can sense it.”


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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 01/16/2014 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Articles