The afternoon after my fine display of layout blind marksmanship, we gathered over steaming Styrofoam plates of lobster and smoked eider, the crackle of a NOAA weather radio a soundtrack to a planning session for the next morning’s hunt. Brown was sweating the details—checking the tide charts, obsessing over the wind. He’s wiry, with a thin mustache and dark eyes, narrowed with concentration. When chasing sea ducks, he told me, you can’t take anything for granted. “Rising tides cover the rocks,” he explained, “and the birds change their bearings. Everything looks different, and they have to move to feed. And the wind forecast? Good luck with that.” In fact, good luck is what a sea duck hunter counts on most often, because in this wild country, everything has to fall into place: the weather, the rocks, the tides, the sun, the fog. And the birds.