My college degree is in mass communications, which makes me an excellent husband.

Communication is the key to a happy marriage, they say.

Only joking, of course, but talking out problems, learning to compromise and being understanding are serious necessities to making a relationship work.

In 11 years of marriage at least that’s what I’ve learned.

And in that timeframe, I don’t think I’ve once heard my wife complain when I tell her I’m going hunting. Apparently that’s not the case for all guys.

That’s because my wife is caring, selfless and she knows that a passion of mine is waterfowl hunting and she’s not going to get in the way of it. But it’s at this time of year, when the leaves turn colors and the temperatures drop, I hear the same line from my friends and acquaintances time and again.

“She sure lets you hunt a lot.”

Excuse me? Lets me hunt?

The author, Luke, his wife, Shannon, and their dog, Bear. (Submitted photo)
The author, Luke, his wife, Shannon, and their dog, Bear. (Submitted photo)

A good majority of my October and November is spent in a blind or wading through duck sloughs. Watching weather forecasts, tossing out decoys and talking to birds are all fall regularities.

There’s a lot of work and self-fulfillment that goes into scouting (finding birds), meeting landowners and then enjoying the hunt itself. I’ve met some lifelong friends driving country roads and shaking hands with farmers.

Recently, my 5-year-old daughter has enjoyed riding along for scouting trips. It’s a good chance to give some downtime and relaxation for my wife to quiet the house a bit.

She’s a super mom, and most often, she is the rock of our family. That’s absolutely true each fall (and probably the other nine months of the year, too.)

What’s amazing is that she encourages me to get outdoors to enjoy my passion. There’s no restriction, and I recognize that.

So I don’t really understand why I often hear that same phrase, “She lets you hunt a lot.”

Yes, we have kids who need attention and care. Yes, we have a house that needs cleaning and upkeep.

During duck opener earlier this year, I did catch a small bit of heat for being a bit lazy after two days of early mornings. Deservedly, she reminded me that I need to do my part to keep the tile floors clean and help with the girls.

Life can’t just be hunting, eating, sleeping and watching the NFL on Sunday, apparently.

But what she understands better than many wives, I think, is that there are only so many fall days and that hunting season is here and gone in seemingly no time. All of a sudden, winter takes over and cabin fever kicks in for three or four months during South Dakota’s deep, dark winter.

The author, Luke, and his wife, Shannon, after an anterless deer hunt in Sanborn County. (Submitted photo)
The author, Luke, and his wife, Shannon, after an anterless deer hunt in Sanborn County. (Submitted photo)

She gets it, and I appreciate how awesome that is for me.

Maybe each fall when I hear “she lets you hunt a lot,” I need to respond with the question, “And you let your wife oversee your hunting schedule?”

Nah, I think a better response is, “Yeah, I guess I’m just pretty darn lucky.”