The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 4 (August 1, 1933)
Out for a Duck
Out for a Duck.
Now let us turn from duckings to ducks. Although the wild duck also is a damp sort of bird, and only comes out to be shot when it is raining, the idea is to “get the duck wet,” even if you get wetter. Ducks always prefer to be shot in braces, not so much to keep up their pants as to keep up their spirits. In this respect they are very human, for most men get “shot” in pairs when there are “bracers” about. Only a snipe will get “shot” from the hip. The duck shooter always waits until the meteorologist gets the megrims or a cyclonic complex, and when he hears that everything wet is predicted from cloud-bursts, water spouts and blizzards, to avalanches and tide-rips, he knows that it is good weather for ducks. In the middle of the night he boards a punt, which leaks in every pore, and hides in the bullrushes like Moses did—but Moses knew enough to keep dry. The duck-hunter likes to be early so that he can pot the early duck when it floats off its eggs for its matutinal water-wave. It rains all night, and the hunter divides his time between trying to get his share of the whisky and scratching frog bites and eel stings. Morning dribbles rather than breaks, and the ducks are heard ducking their ducklings before they rise into the atmospheric damp to be shot. Everything is as tense as an elastic band about to play the Gutta-percha national anthem. The ducks rise, honking like a baby car that has sighted its bottle. Spirits are raised, eyes are raised, guns are raised, and—the punt sinks with a sigh like a punctured sea-cow. The great day is over and the duckists are under. Such is sport!