We start out by hunting black ducks, motoring before dawn to an island in the St. John River, dragging our gear and our wader-covered bodies through the muck to sit in a wood-floored, grass-walled blind. As our host and guide lies nearby in the grass with his toller (a breed of dog that lures ducks into gunning range), we peer out at the marsh and wait. It's cold, but not as cold as some duck mornings. Through the darkness, we can hear the whistle of wings—geese, black ducks, or blue-winged teal, we know. Half an hour before sunrise, when it becomes legal to shoot, we begin to swivel our heads, looking this way and that. For long periods, we stretch our sights over the water, towards the horizon, then look to the sky in search of ducks. Finally, the ducks come; first you see them far away, and then at last they circle, eyeing the decoys, before setting their wings to begin to splash down. At that moment, we stand and shoot. At almost the same instant, the toller leaps into the water to retrieve the great prize.