President, AHBI Consolidated, Inc./Apartment House Builders, Inc., North Little Rock
Number of days you hunt a season? Around 40, give or take
Where do you hunt? Anywhere I can, but primarily in the Stuttgart area
Club name? Pintail Bayou Hunting and Social Club, Humphrey (pronounced “Ump-free”)
Pump or semi-automatic? Automatic; the newer lightweight models seem to help you stay on target and shoot faster.
Duck call? A close friend gave me an original Taylor Made call from the late Alvin Taylor of Clarendon many years ago, but I’m not worthy.
Fields, reservoir, river or timber? Our club is primarily fields, so my partner-in-crime Rick Del Donno allows me to regularly hunt the timber with him.
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Any day duck hunting is a good day. But the best bluebird day hunting I’ve ever experienced is at Randy Covington’s field adjacent to Cardin Bottoms in the shadow of Petit Jean Mountain. Watching the sun rise over the mountain and the ducks come toward you for what seems like miles. Then they get close enough to see the sunshine reflect on their green heads and you can hear them cackle as they circle the blind — spectacular.
Favorite hunting story/memory? Of course the hunts I’ve had with my father are really wonderful memories. As for true “expeditions,” here goes: Picture a really cold, driving rain. Four brave souls with expectations that match the weather trudge out to a flimsy skid blind with virtually no protection from the elements, situated in the middle of a flooded field. We’re already soaked by the time we get there, wondering why the heck we didn’t stay in bed like the rest of the group. Barely get the decoys out when it starts raining even harder. Then, as if on cue, there they are, barely visible in the morning soup, coming to the call and trying to land. We high-fived each other. You don’t know if you don’t go. We couldn’t look up into the sky for the rain and wind, so we had to wait to shoot until they appeared over the decoys. Fifteen minutes later, we all had greenhead limits somehow, oblivious to the weather. We went back to the house and woke the others up, and they went out and did likewise, while we drank coffee.
Favorite place to eat during duck season? At Pintail Bayou; our club boasts the best chefs on the prairie. Period.
What got you into duck hunting? I don’t deer or squirrel hunt like my father did when he was a boy. In fact, I never duck hunted until graduating from college. After a couple of trips with Danny Smith, I was hooked. Then, around 1981, my soon-to-be wonderful, understanding wife made the mistake of buying me my first shotgun as a Christmas present.
If you have children, do you take them duck hunting? If so, what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? My eldest daughter got water in her boots the first time out, so I messed up my chance with her. My youngest really enjoys the outing and watching the dog work, but now lives in Dallas and can’t go very often. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to take my nephews hunting, and was there for my late brother’s son’s first duck, a mallard drake. That was a special moment.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? It’s not really unusual, but dog treats (Snausages) for Sidney, my slow-but-steady golden retriever. At 8 years old she had her best year ever last season, single handedly responsible for more than 350 retrieves. She justifiably requires a reward for every trip. I buy a lot of Snausages.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Chuck Cook (Regions Bank), executive or not, is one of the best I’ve ever heard. David Nutt (J.W. Nutt Co.) is really good too, although he should hunt more. Mark Bentley (Colliers) deserves honorable mention. Pete Fotioo (Bank of the Ozarks) has the softest of all hail calls.