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The Boston Globe


For duck hunters, winter water often means certain death

Recent cases highlight dangers of freezing temperatures in duck hunting season

It is nearly two hours before dawn on a recent morning, and the hunters, three buddies from Ohio, are upbeat as they load their shotguns onto Adam Smith’s boat in Winthrop. They have been planning this trip for a year.

It’s as foggy as foggy gets, which is not great for spotting eider, the majestic arctic sea ducks that have drawn the men all the way from the Midwest to hunt them in their peak plumage as they winter in Boston Harbor. But the air temperature is in the mid-30s, and that is pretty good for sea duck hunting season, which runs from early October to the end of January in Massachusetts.

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