Thousands of people in Oklahoma look forward to duck hunting every year.
For one family, it means much more than just enjoying the outdoors and the challenge of calling in ducks. Each fall, alarm clocks sound off, duck hunters load up in the dark with decoys and a dog on board. They head out to the land, become one with nature and wait for the waterfowl.
"It's a family thing. Learned it from my dad. Actually, he took me rabbit and squirrel hunting when I was probably old enough to walk alongside him," said Chris Kaiser.
Kaiser said he's documented every hunt dating back to the early 80s. His first hunts were with his dad and football buddies. Now, he wakes up early with four boys of his own.
"Things that we see outdoors are amazing, and we love doing that together. My kids love seeing that and it's not just about the hunt. It's not just about the hunt. It's just not about the harvest but it's about the time outside doing that together and just seeing what God has created and how that all plays a part," said Kaiser.
Kaiser said hunting in Oklahoma is like striking gold.
"You can go to western Oklahoma. Hunt dry fields. You can hunt watersheds and ponds and you can come over here and hunt river systems, the marshes, the flooded timber if there is," said Kaiser. "You can be in a blind, you can be in some trees, you can be in some bushes, you can be in the water, you can be on the bank of a pond."
He said duck hunting is also great for the economy.
"If you look at how duck hunting is funded, outdoors is funded, it's funded by the guys that are out hunting. The taxes that we pay to create the habitat to conserve the birds. To provide some habitat for them to live their entire life cycle," said Kaiser.
James Morel with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation said each season is unique, depending on the current water levels and weather patterns. He said success is driven by scouting.
"Get out there and figure out what ducks are doing. Figure out where they're loafing, where they're roosting, where they're feeding. Get an idea of how they're patterning. What fields they're using in the afternoons, what fields they're using in the mornings," said Morel.
The Kaiser's are now empty nesters but when their boys head home for the holidays, duck will be duck on the menu.
"We jerky it. We make it into summer sausage. There are all kinds of other recipes that we use. Shish Kabobs. Smoke it for an hour or two. Wrap it in bacon. It's phenomenal," said Kaiser. "My guys, my kids love it. So, my boys, as fast as I can take it off the grill, they're eating it."
Kaiser said this season he has a lot to be thankful for.