Everyone needs a break from the weekly grind and for many of Arkansas’ executives and business leaders, duck hunting is the best break there is.
Getting into the woods with family and friends, and maybe a favorite hunting dog, makes for a satsifying morning, especially if the ducks are plentiful.
A good hunt can also mean good stories to tell for years to come.
What is a hunter’s preferred weather? The most important item to have in the duck blind? A hunter’s call of choice? Who is the best caller in Arkansas?
Our nine business executives share their favorite tales from the duck blinds and talk about the important details that make a good hunt great.
Click on an exec’s name to read his profile or just scroll down to see them all.
- Lance R. Miller
- Scott Tabor
- Bill Ingram
- George Cochran
- Chad Hamlin
- Eddie Carter
- Ernie Cline
- Jeff Lawrence
- Matt Jeter
|LANCE R. MILLER
Member, Practice Group Chair (LR Litigation), Mitchell Williams, Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Average 30 out of 60 days.
WHERE YOU HUNT? Primarily, Black River in northeast Arkansas, but I enjoy traveling all over Arkansas and hunting with different people and seeing how everyone does it a little different.
CLUB NAME? Turkey Hill.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Automatic 20 gauge.
DUCK CALL? Rich-N-Tone and Haydel.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Timber, with an occasional field hunt.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? I like any day in the woods, so I have learned to quit trying to guess what the birds are going to do based on the weather. I go every time I have a chance to be there with friends and family and let the weather take care of itself.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? One hunt that comes to mind occurred in late January, 2012 at Turkey Hill. The hunting had been slow, but my dad, better known as Papa, called and said he was going anyway. I agreed to join him and talked Ronny Lindsey and his son-in-law Aaron Turner into joining us. We did not expect much, but when we got to the big hole we always hunt, the ducks were everywhere. As we stored the boat and Aaron broke out his brand new Benelli he received for Christmas, it became clear the birds were hole shy. Papa stayed in the hole and my yellow lab Sunny and I went to the west side of the property and Ronny and Aaron went to the east. We were just standing out in the timber, without decoys and calling. I killed three greenheads out of the first group and we were all soon limited out with 16 greenheads.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? Quail, deer and duck hunting have always been a family tradition. I started quail and deer hunting when I was five or six and then started duck hunting when I was 15.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? My boys, Mason and Chase duck hunt with me every chance they get. They also hunt with their friends at various spots around the state. We try to bring along other kids and enjoy the outdoors together.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL MUST HAVE IN THE DUCK BLIND? We are big on oatmeal cream pies.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Not sure about the best. Doug Beard, All Electric is very loud and very good at working ducks at Bull Sprig. My life-long friends Jimmy Goldsmith and Bruce Broadaway, both from Jonesboro, have a unique combination that the ducks seem to love.
Managing Director, Raymond James
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Not enough.
WHERE YOU HUNT? Mill Bayou, south of Highway 165.
CLUB NAME? Pin Oak.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-auto.
DUCK CALL? Rich-N-Tone
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Bruck Brush and Timber. I do like a good field hunt after a two- to three-day freeze up.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Cold bluebird with a north wind.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? Besides the first ducks my children shot, the most vivid hunts involved 15-degree weather. Approximate time was noon on both hunts. First was in a reservoir outside of Almyra on the east side of Mill Bayou. Ice was too thick to break on the edges so we started walking on the ice until we would break through (I think we were the only fools in Arkansas County hunting that day). No ducks anywhere in that area after 15 minutes and, not seeing or hearing any birds, we turned around and headed to the truck. On our way out, ducks appeared from nowhere and we shot eight greenheads in five minutes.
The other [hunt] was at Pin Oak in our hole we call Hot Springs. Same story as above except we got to the blind at 9 a.m. and broke the ice with a four-wheeler. Waited three hours (didn’t see a duck or goose until noon). As we were about to head back, they came in bundles. Three of us shot our six-duck limit in no time.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? Pin Oak.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? My late father used to take me and we would walk into Dagmar. A few years later we had a lease on Crooked Creek near Humphrey.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? Madeline, 15, and Scott Jr., 12. Fortunately, they love to hunt. The most memorable hunts would definitely be their first ducks (both Gadwalls). They shoot better than me now.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL MUST HAVE IN THE DUCK BLIND? Cough medicine.
Co-owner, ISTA, Inc., Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Twenty-five or 30.
WHERE YOU HUNT? Usually in Woodruff County. My business partner, Larry McMurry and I along with another good friend, Terry Jerry, own a small farm near Hunter. We also make a few trips to other parts of the state to stand in water and look up through the trees occasionally.
CLUB NAME? BLT Outdoors.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Benelli Super Black Eagle.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? I usually hunt fields, but when the ducks are flying, it just doesn’t matter where I’m standing or sitting. It’s awesome to look into the sky and see hundreds of ducks circling, looking for a place to land.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? The first year we bought the farm, Larry and I were putting the finishing touches on our pit preparations the day before the season opened. We had the field flooded, the decoys set out, the pit ready and were about to leave — around sundown — when all of a sudden the air came alive with thousands of ducks and geese. They all wanted to land in our field. We couldn’t believe what was happening all around us. We’ve both hunted for a lot of years but never been in the middle of something like this. They were stacked in layers in the sky and seemed to be waiting for landing instructions to get down to the water. We literally couldn’t keep from laughing while we watched an estimated 10,000 waterfowl fly within a few feet of us and land in a 30 acre field that surrounded us.
The sound all those ducks made in the water was like standing next to a waterfall. It was one of the most amazing things either of us had experienced in the outdoors. We sat on our four-wheelers in the middle of that flooded field with ducks all around us. We eventually had to ride out of the field, but I can close my eyes to this day and still relive that experience.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? We have a stove in our pit that we use occasionally and nothing tastes better than eggs, bacon and toast in a duck blind.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? A good friend of mine convinced me to go with him and I got lucky and killed the first mallard I ever shot at. I was hooked from that point on.
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? I have been very fortunate to be able to hunt the entire duck season.
WHERE YOU HUNT? I hunt the public shooting grounds in Arkansas.
CLUB NAME? I have hunted at several good clubs in Arkansas.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? I use an 870 Remington pump.
DUCK CALL? I use a Knight & Hale duck caller.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? I hunt the timber ninety percent of the time.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Any day duck hunting is a good day as long as you are where the ducks are.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? In 2011, one of the days that stands out — there were five us hunting the green timbers in Arkansas. There were so many ducks that we took turns shooting and two mallard greenheads that we killed out of the twenty had double bands on them.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? Craig’s Barbecue, DeValls Bluff.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? I started hunting when I was nine years old. I grew up in North Little Rock, in the Lakewood subdivision. My neighbor across the street was Pete Jaworski. He was an avid outdoorsman who liked to fish and hunt. My father was a businessman who didn›t hunt or fish. I asked Pete if he would take me hunting and that my Dad would furnish the car and gasoline. So off we went. He taught me how to call ducks, and how to hunt. We went on more hunting trips together that I can count. It was an exciting time for me as a youngster. I could hardly sleep the night before we would go. Like Christmas.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? Yes I have taken both of my sons and other children. It›s all about the children on these hunts. I like to call the ducks in close so they are able to shoot them. They are able to watch the ducks circle and circle and watch them come in through the timbers right to their feet. That really excites them.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? I would have to say Jimmy Gill of ABS Enterprise from Stuttgart. … I have been around a lot of duck callers before; Jimmy is one of the best that I have had the pleasure of hunting with.
President, Southern Apparel & Promotions, LLC
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Fifty to 55.
WHERE YOU HUNT? South of Almyra along Mill and Lagrue Bayou and with my good buddy at his place south of Humnoke off the Big Ditch.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-automatic.
DUCK CALL? Rich-N-Tone.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Tough to turn down a perfect sunny day in the timber. Nothing like greenheads fluttering through the hardwoods. At the same time I’m not afraid to lie on a levee in the pouring rain to hunt new shed water the ducks can’t resist.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Bluebird in the woods. Cold rain in the fields.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? For 10 years now, the last afternoon of duck season we have hunted in a buddy’s dead timber reservoir just north of Humphrey. … It was 30 seconds from shooting time and a pair of greenheads are coming right at me. I check the time, “Still good,” I say to myself. Boom. Boom. Two greenheads fall. I send my chocolate Lab, Dixie, after the first one and I start toward the second one. I recall glancing at Dixie and thinking she was on it — no worries. I unload my gun as the season is over. I get to duck two and flip it over and to my shock it is double banded. Not only is it double banded, but I look closer and one of the bands is a $100 money band. I carefully pick it up and start the long walk out. I hear my dog not too far behind me and I think, “Great, she’s got it.”
I get back to solid land and I am waiting on my buddies and Dixie. My buddies show up and I show off the prize of the season. But I am still waiting on Dixie. Half an hour later and Dixie has still not shown up. We are all screaming, whistling and starting to get worried. Another 30 minutes goes by. All of a sudden we hear water moving. There is Dixie, still with the duck in her mouth. It was at that moment I realized something was wrong with Dixie. I later found out she had severe cataracts. That was the last time I ever hunted Dixie, and the last duck she ever picked up. She was blind by summer but went on to live another five years.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? McSwain’s or Papa Joe’s. I am at both just about every day during duck season. Not exactly healthy on either front but hey – it’s duck season.
President, Carter Building Supply, Inc.
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Forty.
WHERE YOU HUNT? I hunt 15 miles southeast of DeWitt in flooded timber on LaGrue Bayou at Mays Bluff.
CLUB NAME? Caney Creek PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Over/Under
DUCK CALL? Rich-N-Tone short barrel.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? I prefer hunting on cold, clear mornings in flooded timber.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Cold and clear.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? My best duck hunting memories were in the mid 1990s before politics controlled the hunting season and bag limits. Back then, the Fish and Wildlife Service said the numbers were down so we had a 30-day, two mallard season, but it was 30 good days – it wasn’t if you were going to kill your limit but rather how long it was going to take. My friend Neill Hunter and I hunted the White River Refuge and many times we would have 25 to 50 mallards over the decoys and only shoot one so we could take turns letting our dogs work trying to stretch our hunt out.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? Caney Creek Lodge.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? Growing up in LA (lower Arkansas) hunting is a way of life. My father was an avid hunter and started taking me at an early age.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? I have two sons; I started taking them hunting as small boys. I remember watching them kill their first ducks, deer and squirrels.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL MUST HAVE IN THE DUCK BLIND? My must have in our duck blind is a propane oven. At precisely 8 a.m. we light the oven and start the biscuits, sausage and fresh brewed coffee.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Jay Chesshir is the best duck caller I know. He knows precisely when to stop calling and let me finish the job.
President, Cline Construction Group
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Thirty.
WHERE YOU HUNT? East of Stuttgart on Little LaGrue Bayou and some on Mill Bayou.
CLUB NAME? Greenhead Properties.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-automatic.
DUCK CALL? Rich-N-Tone.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Swamp, fields, flooded timber.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Bluebird and cold.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? Hunting in the swamp one cold January morning and doing very well along with one of my daughters, a couple of hunting buddies and my first Lab. I had spoiled my Lab by giving him treats for his retrieves. While waiting his turn to follow the second Lab in the hole, we had a volley dropping several ducks. My daughter witnessed my Lab sneaking up on the duck pile while I was not looking and picking one up, circling around to bring to me for the treat. She was laughing beyond control. I gave him the treat anyway.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? Cajun Bistro in Stuttgart.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? Started as a boy hunting with my father in east Arkansas. My grandfather was an avid duck hunter as well.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? I have all daughters and yes they go when I can interrupt their schedules to take them. We have each one’s first duck on the wall.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL MUST HAVE IN THE DUCK BLIND? A bottle of snakebite medicine just in case we encounter any. You can buy it at most corner stores.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? In my experiences it is Witt Stephens, Scott Tabor and Chris Fletcher. The worst is my good friend Dr. Hayden Franks.
Director of Fundraising, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Around 20.
WHERE YOU HUNT? Dave Donaldson WMA in northeast Arkansas.
CLUB NAME? Dead Dog Duck Club.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-automatic.
DUCK CALL? Rich-n-Tone Alpha 2.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Flooded timber. Nothing beats seeing a bunch of mallards dropping into the timber.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? After more than 40 years of hunting there are way too many to mention, but you can bet most involve someone other than me falling in, someone having their gun unloaded when they’re not looking or other practical jokes.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? At our duck shack – although it’s probably not the healthiest since the majority is smoked, grilled or fried.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? My good friend Clark McGlothlin was the one who really got me hooked. At first, I think he took me along just to have someone to play practical jokes on.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? I have three sons and all of them have duck hunted with me. The oldest, Brandon, duck hunts but deer hunting is his passion. The dedicated duck hunter in the bunch is our youngest, Tyler. He’s 25 and for some reason he’s still shooting my shells and using my boat, my waders, etcetera. When Tyler was 12 years old, we woke up to hunt one morning and he had a 103-degree temperature and sore throat. Even though it was 20 degrees out, he figured he would feel bad hunting or not so he chose hunting. He sat on a dog stand and shot four greenheads in the first 30 minutes of shooting hours, unloaded his gun and told me it was okay with him if we went back to the cabin.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL MUST HAVE IN THE DUCK BLIND? That would be a draw between smoked oysters or sardines in hot sauce and crackers.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? David Sales with JANUS Research Group and Larry McMurry with ISTA, Inc. I would say my hunting buddy Keith Futrell with Buck Hollow Ranch, but his head is too big already.
Vice president, Investments
Investment Management Consultant
Gilliland Jeter Group of Raymond James, Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Twenty-five to 30 days per season.
WHERE YOU HUNT? In the Cornerstone/Reydell area.
CLUB NAME? A private club that my grandfather and five of his close friends started around 1948.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-automatic.
DUCK CALL? Cache River calls – Grover Knoll (Clarendon) made them until a few years ago.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Flooded timber, fields, and sloughs near the Arkansas River.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Bluebird.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? My favorite memory is killing my first greenhead with my dad and a couple of his friends. It was a perfect sunny morning in the timber and I was using a 4.10 side-by-side that my dad’s best friend Larry Pringos had loaned to me.
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT DURING DUCK SEASON? Reydell Corner Store (which burned down this past spring).
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? Growing up near Altheimer in a farming family I never had a chance of not liking hunting and the outdoors. I was very fortunate to grow up where I did.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? My son (Hudgens) really started to enjoy hunting this past fall at age 12. I have really enjoyed watching him come of age in the woods. I have yet to talk my 9-year-old daughter (Kate) into joining us but I would love to make a hunter out of her also.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? Hearing protection (to save what I have left) and a diet Mountain Dew.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Whoever is hunting with me and is willing to help with this task.