Aye Mates, This coastal sea duck hunt and photo essay are dedicated to the memory of Connecticut State Environmental Conservation Enforcement Police Officer James V. Spignesi Jr. whom made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our beloved natural resources on 20 November 1998. NEVER FORGOTTEN. C. O. JAMES V. SPIGNESI JR. Monday 20 NOVEMBER 2017 was the 19th anniversary of the line of duty death of our Fallen Brother Officer James V. Spignesi Jr., who was tragically shot and killed while conducting a foot patrol to combat illegal deer poaching activity. Normally I would attend the annual memorial ceremony held each year in honor of Jim. This year, I participated in a sea duck hunt that was purchased at an annual auction event held to support a memorial scholarship supported by the Connecticut Conservation Officer's Association and The Spignesi Scholarship Fund. It so happened the memorial ceremony and the hunt were scheduled on the same day, Monday 20 November 2017. The scholarship in Jim's name is at the UCONN School Of Agriculture and Natural Resources Engineering where Jim studied wildlife management and became a graduate of that program. Tribute was maintained to Jim on Monday, both in Connecticut and on the Atlantic waters of Maine. So, settle into ye chair and pour yourself a cup of coffee or any other beverage you might be inclined toward, and come along on our most special hunt dedicated to Jim. This hunt was most generously donated by USCG Captain and Maine Master Guide Troy Fields of TRADITIONS GUIDE SERVICE in his support of the memory of Conservation Officer Spignesi and Natural Resources Conservation Law Enforcement. Troy is truly a stand up guy, an incredibly talented guide, and a true friend. Troy has already committed to supporting this cause with another hunt for 2018 and this most special partnership is deeply appreciated. The hunt was attended by myself and three of my best friends, two of us retired law enforcement agents and two still active on the job. The group consisted of John and myself both of us Game Wardens by calling, John still on the job and myself a retired Sergeant, along with father and son Bill and Billy, the senior (Bill) a former State Police Sergeant and Billy currently serving as a Trooper First Class. This hunt was surely law enforcement maintaining the honor of a Fallen Brother. "MAINEtaining Morning Watch" - My gun dog TRAD is on watch for any approaching birds as long lines of eider and scoter decoys are set out for the hunt on thrashing Maine waters. We hunted with Troy on both Monday and Tuesday, each day meeting with the good Captain at zero dark hundred and making our early morning trek to the boat launches from which we got underway. The beauty surrounding us as the rising sun kissed the main coast with incredible hues was spectacular and each of us took it in on our own terms. For myself, it was a personal connection to my Fallen Brother C. O. James Spignesi and the natural world he had so diligently dedicated his life to. "Setting The Rig" - USCG Captain and Maine Master Guide Troy Fields of Traditions Guide Service in Shapleigh, Maine is captured in light while stringing out decoys on the morning of our first hunt. TROY put us on the X and we had some grand gunning on both common eider and three species of scoter on Monday. As a visual artist and lifelong waterfowl hunting fanatic, I was torn between reaching for the camera and my smoothbore, in the end both getting plenty of use. "UNCOMMON BEAUTY" - My gun dog "TRAD" made his first retrieve of the day on this beautiful common eider hen. The estuary we were hunting was teaming with life and the decoy rig was continually buzzed by setting eider. Lurking seals and currents ripping with the incoming tide kept me continually on watch for TRAD'S safety and when in doubt we would radio Troy to make pick up of downed birds that might potentially put TRAD in danger. Safety on these beautiful and often treacherous Maine waters was always priority one and none of us were lulled into falling to her uncaring and always lurking wickedness.