Why We Hunt: Solitude

Ducks at First Light

When you’re up at dawn to hunt sea ducks in winter, you can count on having the water to yourself.

Photographed by Douglas Merriam

When contributing photographer Douglas Merriam made plans last January to tag along on a sea duck hunting trip with Todd Jackson of Searsport’s Penobscot Bay Outfitters, neither of them banked on temps plunging into the negative double digits. After a few cancelled outings, Merriam accompanied Jackson, a client, and a black Lab named Hunter on a balmy 20-degree morning, somewhere in Penobscot Bay (a protective bunch, sea duck hunters aren’t eager to disclose their hunting grounds).

Sea duck hunters are out for trophies, and early morning is the best time to hunt for charismatic birds like eiders, scoters, and long-tailed ducks. It’s also an opportunity to appreciate the Maine coast without any other people around to spoil the views — especially when temps are below freezing.

Visit seaduck.net for info on taking your own sea duck hunting trip (and remember to bundle up).