Their western zone season opens on Saturday and they are as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
They have almost perfect weather -- cold and blustery, turning mild for the weekend.
They have new water around many of their decoy sets.
They have frigid weather working across the Midwest, pushing waterfowl south in front of it.
And most of all, they have a breeding duck count of 45.5 million this past summer.
The last time the number was close to that was in 1999, when there were about 43.5 million adult ducks making babies in the northern wetlands. And that duck season was a superb one in Louisiana.
So men, women and children who look forward to the annual tradition of opening day at the duck camp should be forgiven if they are not paying much attention to other things in these few remaining hours to Saturday’s first light.
They are not hearing anything but the rustle of wings as the dawn moves from gray to orange, the quack of a lone hen looking for a home, the lap of water against the decoys, the click of a safety from on to off, the splash of a Lab hitting the water for the first retrieve.
Such are the sounds that make their season.