With duck season nearing another end, the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie has announced the 2022 induction class to the Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame. This marks the fifth class to be inducted since the creation of the hall of fame in 2016. The Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame is housed in a dedicated wing at the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie in Stuttgart.
An induction ceremony will honor these individuals on March 2, 2023 at Embassy Suites in Jonesboro. Tickets will be available at www.waterfowlerhof.com and a sellout crowd is expected.
Dave Donaldson wore many hats for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. After earning a Wildlife Biology degree from Texas A&M University, he went to work for the agency, ultimately serving as the state’s waterfowl coordinator. He also was instrumental as an engineer, leading the design and implementation for many of the agency’s Greentree Reservoirs (GTRs) located in east and northeast Arkansas. These GTRs include his namesake, Black River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), as well as Big Lake WMA and Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA. Donaldson’s work on the Black River WMA was considered cutting edge at the time as the design and implementation of inverted siphons created a gravity flow system that allows flooding of about 5,000 acres. In addition to his work as biologist and engineer, Mr. Donaldson was also a pilot and conducted the first aerial surveys for waterfowl in Arkansas. These surveys provided the agency with a better understanding of waterfowl movements and patterns as well as identifying species and estimating their numbers. His aerial efforts also played a major role with the AGFC’s Canada Goose restoration efforts in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.He was named Conservationist of the Year by the Arkansas Wildlife Federation in 1975 for his extensive work in Arkansas and Canada on behalf of migrating waterfowl and their habitats. Donaldson retired in 1977 after serving as the AGFC’s waterfowl biologist for over 30 years.
Kody Riggan was a dedicated landowner and waterfowl enthusiast with a vision to make duck hunting a family tradition for generations to come. His passion for creating viable duck habitats was rivaled only by the joy of spending cold mornings in the flooded timber with his sons, brother, nephews, and friends. From a young age, Kody worked alongside his grandfather and father in the family business, Corning Implement. In 2010, Kody played an integral role in forming Legacy Equipment, a John Deere retail agricultural and consumer products dealership with seven locations across Arkansas and Missouri, where he was currently serving as CEO/President. He was a member of the board at Legacy Equipment and the Midwest-Southeastern Equipment Dealer’s Association. He owned and operated Square Shooter Hunting Club and wrote for and was a member of the pro staff for Greenhead Magazine and the Duck Hunter’s Magazine.
Leonard Sitzer As a lifelong resident of Northeast Arkansas, Leonard Sitzer dedicated his life to the agriculture and wildlife that was crucial to the community in which he resided. He believed strongly in the importance of stewardship of the land and carefully managed the flooded timber duck woods that he owned near Bayou DeView. His commitment to conservation was recognized by both Ducks Unlimited and the National Turkey Federation to which he was a lifetime member of each. In 2008, at the age of 90, he was honored by the Arkansas Wildlife Federation by being named Conservationist of the Year for a lifetime dedicated to the preservation of Arkansas’s precious wildlife. Sitzer was also inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2010.
Gail Camp was born in Memphis, TN on 7/30/25. She married her high school sweetheart, Frank Lee Camp, Jr. immediately following WWII. The newlyweds joined OK Hunting and Fishing Club in Weiner, Arkansas and built one of the first cabins there which Gail and the family still enjoy today. Gail took up hunting so she could spend more time with her new husband who insisted on hunting every day of the duck season. Gail fell in love with the sport on the first trip with him, and Frank never went on another hunting trip without her. Gail picked up a duck caller and started calling one day while sandwiched in between two men in a duck blind because she didn’t have any room to swing or shoot her gun. She quickly became better than all the men at duck calling and from then on, they always wanted to include her on hunts. Not only was Gail a good caller but she was and still is an excellent shot. Frank suggested that Gail enter a duck-calling contest and asked his hunting buddies, Frank and Darryl Cates, to teach Gail the contest routine. Gail was introduced to Chick Major and he made all the duck calls that she used in competitions; Gail often competed against Chick’s family members but that didn’t stop Chick from mentoring her and Gail being great friends with Chick, his wife Sophie and their daughters, Pat, Brenda, and Dixie. Gail won the Women’s State in Tennessee and also competed and placed in other contests such as Gulf Coast Championships. While competing around the South, Gail made friends with many well-known waterfowlers and callers like Butch Richenback, Cowboy Fernandez, and Herb Parsons. In 1959 and 1960, Gail competed in the World Championships in Stuttgart and won the Women’s World Championship both years. Gail mostly retired from contests after having her daughter, Ann Camp Lee in 1961 but she still managed to win the Herb Parsons International Championship Contest in 1962.
Bill Byers settled in Hunter, Arkansas in the early ‘40’s and in 1953 opened the doors to Hunter Club. Originally 1,800 acres of green timber, he continued to purchase adjoining land as it became available. Ever aware of the value of natural resources, Bill took his role as a steward of the land quite seriously. A short season combined with a one duck limit forced Bill into farming and the timber was cleared to make way for rice production. The legendary Byers Hunter Club still exists today and attracts thousands of waterfowl each winter.Byers loved waterfowl and the outdoors, and encouraged everyone he knew to put more back than you take away.
Event proceeds will benefit the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie in Stuttgart, which houses the Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame. The event is organized by committee members including Chairman Jim Ronquest, Brent Birch, Michelle Blasengame, Greg Churan, Jeff Churan, Anne Marie Doramus, George Dunklin, Garland Derden, Lee Ann Blackwell-Hoskyn, Jeff Lawrence, Mike Lewis and Gar Lile. The event was previously coordinated by Arkansas Business.
“The waterfowl industry in Arkansas is recognized as the best in the nation due to the time and talents these individuals have invested,” said committee Chairman Jim Ronquest. “The Waterfowler Hall of Fame is an opportunity to highlight significant efforts and impacts of inductees while honoring their legacies.”
The March 2nd “southern comfortable” induction ceremony will include a pre-dinner reception from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, live music, and a live auction as we pay tribute to this deserving class. Additional information and sponsorship opportunities are available by visiting waterfowlerhof.com.