Everyone needs to get out of the office once in awhile.
For many of the Arkansas’ business owners and leaders, duck hunting is the great escape, a chance to get out in the fresh air, connect with nature and, hopefully, bag a limit of ducks in the process.
But hunting is more than that for these executives. Memories are made in the wetlands and blinds, adventures are had, lasting friendships are formed and family connections are made stronger.
Get a hunter talking, and soon the stories come rolling out, along with the tips, pointers and shared experiences that can help make a hunt successful.
Greenhead asked nine Arkansas businessmen to go on the record about their waterfowling experiences, and they responded, hitting their limit and then some.
Click on an exec’s name to read his profile or just scroll down to see them all.
- Bill Fletcher
- Carter Clark
- Jason D. Prather
- Evans Dietz
- Greg Cole
- Pete Hornibrook
- Wilson Maxwell
- Jim Byrd
- Clark McCarley
CIC, Vice-President, Mark V. Williamson Co., Inc., Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Thirty.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? Primarily on Little LaGrue Bayou near Almyra, but I hunt with a lot of friends at their clubs as well.
CLUB NAME? Long Shot Farms (Est. 1976).
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Beretta 12-gauge over/under.
DUCK CALL? P.S. Olt D-2.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Reservoir.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Bluebird.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? Each hunt has its own story and there are way too many favorites but my fondest memories are growing up hunting at Long Shot with my father and other club members/guests and the life lessons you learn during the hunt as well as back at camp. Bob Bass, who was a founding member of our club and passed away in 2000, was certainly an awesome mentor and friend to me as a young boy, teaching me how to duck hunt and to appreciate the outdoors.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? My father John Fletcher started taking me at 10 years of age.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? My daughter Alex and son Ridge both enjoy the outdoors and we have spent many good times together. The one hunt that stands out was the 2011 youth hunt. It was a clear day but cold and lots of ice but the ducks were really working in well. Ridge was 12 at the time and killed his limit in 45 minutes or so with the last duck being a banded greenhead. He uses the same gun that my father gave me, which is a Browning 12-gauge Humpback.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? Rocks, in case my lab Oakley needs a little help on a retrieve.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Logan Bass. A close second is Keith Riggs who doesn’t own a duck call.
Broker/Owner, Weichert Realtors- The Griffin Company, Fayetteville
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Twenty.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? Wherever and whenever I get invited. Weekday, weekend, or holiday.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Auto. Benelli Super Black Eagle.
DUCK CALL? Echo XLT.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Timber.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Bluebird.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? I had the pleasure of hunting at Quack Shack opening day two years ago. The first 30 minutes of shooting hours we were going to just let the ducks light and not shoot. We had an untold number of ducks light and fill up the woods. I had two greenheads and a hen swimming around my legs I could have killed with a pocketknife. I luckily took my video camera out and set it up just south of the hole and pointed it up to catch the action and a duck actually flew directly into the camera and we got it all on film. Most memorable hunt to date for sure.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? My dad loves to duck hunt and introduced me. Growing up in Missouri and playing sports during duck season we didn’t get to go as much as we would have liked and when we did go it was nothing like hunting flooded timber in Arkansas. When I came to college at the U of A most of my friends were huge duck hunters and that is when I really got to see what the hype was all about.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? My girls are only 3 1/2 and one right now. I am proud that when you ask my oldest daughter Ellison what sports she is going to play she says golf, basketball and duck hunting. I glow with excitement. I am confident Hayden my youngest will have the same sports path.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? I don’t take much with me all I have in my bag is a Jerk String, shells, tree hook, and sunglasses.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Adam and John Rutledge of First Security can finish ducks unlike anyone I have hunted with. Wil Maxwell of Maxwell Hardwoods. He can bring them down from the upper atmosphere and get them to take a hard look. Totally different style of callers but both a blast to watch and hunt with.
|JASON D. PRATHER
JD, LLM; managing principal at Legacy Capital Group in Little Rock.
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Twenty to 30 between duck and deer.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? I hunt wherever and whenever I can. Several days over in Scott with my friend Joe Moriconi. I also hunt a few times a year at Drakes Landing near Dewitt with my friend Walt Simpson. We deer hunt at the Double B camp between Little Rock and Pine Bluff.
CLUB NAME? Double B, Rob Bell.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-Auto. Two years ago I switched to a Beretta Xtreme after hunting with a Benelli for several years. It was kind of an impulse buy one time at Mack’s after hunting down at Drakes Landing. I have used it every hunt since then.
DUCK CALL? Echo and Rich-N-Tone.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? I would never turn down a chance to hunt any place, but if beggars can be choosers I would say definitely timber.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Cold and sunny.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? Watching my friend Talbot Benton fall in the water while we were hunting in the Scatters years ago. He kept asking me how warm I was all morning. It makes me laugh just thinking about it even now.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? My father is not a hunter but for some reason it was always something I really wanted to do. One of my friends invited me to go with him and his dad. I think I was maybe 12 or 13 years old at that time and I was hooked from that point on. After that I would go out with other friends and hunt wherever and whenever we could.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? Every time I have the opportunity to hunt with one of my two sons it is a highlight, at least for me. I have two boys, Jacob who is 18, and Jackson who is 16. It is fun watching them grow both as young men as well as becoming more accomplished hunters. I guess one good story is when I told Jackson that I would have his first mallard drake mounted for him so he could hang it in his room. Well that day he did kill a mallard drake; but it was not a very nice looking bird. I switched it out for a much nicer one and that is what is hanging in his room. I guess he will find out if he reads this.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? I have probably at least five flashlights in my hunting bag. Big believer in redundancy, particularly when it comes to being able to see.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? My friend, Owen Gazette, who helped me learn to call, is as good as anyone I have ever heard.
President of D&D Sun Control, Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? I hunt 30-40 days in the season.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? Woodruff County.
CLUB NAME? Duckhook Country Club.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Both pump and semi-automatic.
DUCK CALL? Black Ops (but I’m not that good).
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Fields and slough.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? I like it when it is nasty; sleeting, snowing, cold.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? I hunt with my poodle Jethro, which is unusual and I get made fun of for it, but it’s always a good story to tell.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? My good friends Mark Brown and Gary Lay.
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 a daughter Eva who is 9 years old and any time spent outdoors with her is irreplaceable. Last year, on the last day of the season, it was just Jethro, Eva and I and it was my most enjoyed time hunting.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? Vanilla wafers for my dog. As long as he is retrieving he is getting them.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Mark Brown is the best. Mark Brown is phenomenal.
President & CEO, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Twenty-five to 30 days.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? The Grand Prairie, Black River, White River and Cache River.
CLUB NAME? Gray Farms, our family farm north of Stuttgart and next to Wingmead.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Benelli M2 12-gauge automatic.
DUCK CALL? Taylor Made & Rich-N-Tone.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? I love hunting in all settings but green timber hunting is the best.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Love to hunt bluebird days in both timber and fields with some wind.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? I’ve been blessed with many great duck hunting memories over my life. Growing up, my brothers and I duck hunted the fields of Poinsett County and Black River WMA. I moved to Stuttgart after college and began hunting Bayou Meto WMA, local duck clubs and our family farm. My most recent great hunt was last winter when I had the opportunity to hunt with my good friend Stan Jones at his place (Stan Jones Mallard Lodge) along with Black River in Lawrence County. We were hunting in a pit in a precision-leveled rice field. The sun was bright, no clouds in the sky, light ice on the water and moderate wind. We didn’t start hunting until around 10 a.m. due to a group from Mojo Outdoors being there to film a hunt for their show. They wanted the sun to be up and bright for the best filming situation. They had cameras everywhere. Cameras were mounted in the decoys and on the dogs, in addition to two cameramen, which all of this created a lot of activity around the blind. Despite all of the commotion, there were so many ducks hitting that field. We killed five full limits of mallards and pintails within a couple of hours. I’ve hunted my whole life in some of the best places in Arkansas and never have seen a place that can consistently hold as many ducks as Stan’s place.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? I grew up in Harrisburg, Poinsett County, and good duck hunting was plentiful there. Duck hunting was part of the culture. My father and all of my brothers love to hunt. My first real duck hunt was at the age of 14 with childhood friends in a rice field that joined the north levee of the famous “Claypool Reservoir.” Back then, I remember there were so many ducks that would enter and leave the reservoir in the morning and evening that it would blacken the sky. It was easy to become hooked on duck hunting after seeing that many ducks.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? Both of our boys duck hunt. We’ve enjoyed many great hunts on our family farm north of Stuttgart. Growing up, what the boys enjoyed most about duck hunting was watching our black British Lab, Gauge (now deceased), retrieve the ducks. Tyler, our oldest son, killed his first duck at age 11. It was in Wingmead’s No. 11 blind when we were there on an invited hunt. It was a gadwall drake, which we got mounted. We saw thousands of ducks that day and killed our limit very fast. Grayson, our youngest son, killed his first duck on the Cache River when he was 11 years old. It was a mallard drake and our lab swam the river to retrieve it for him.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? Nothing really unusual, but plenty of hot coffee and lots of shells.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Stan Jones, owner of Stan Jones Mallard Lodge in Lawrence County.
Chairman/CEO, Rector Phillips Morse, Inc., Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Approximately 30.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? North of Humnoke, a place called Snake Island Slough.
CLUB NAME? Snake Island D.C., LLC
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Benelli 12-gauge semi-automatic.
DUCK CALL? Rich-N-Tone.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Timber/Buck Brush Slough.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? I love a nasty day but the older I get bluebird days are becoming pretty attractive.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? When I was young my Dad had too much coffee to drink so he went off a few yards to take care of his problem. I got out my caller, at age of 10, and started calling and before you knew it I had a single circling and about the third time around — boom — my Dad had dropped his pants and dropped the duck.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? I started duck hunting with my Dad at age of 10. I am an early riser, just getting outdoors and soaking up God’s gift of nature excites me. One of my favorite duck hunts with Curtis Coburn was a gray day turning colder. Soon it was snowing, then the wind was blowing snow horizontal and the ducks covered us up.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? My son and I hunt together a lot. I think sometimes he gives up a good just to go with me. I am very grateful to have his company. My grandchildren are regulars on weekends and it’s such a joy to watch them have such an experience. My grandsons are ages 11, 15 and 23 and they are all good shots.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? In the blind it’s coffee, out from the blind would be a Decoy Jerk String.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? I have hunted with a lot of great duck callers and many have gone to the big duck call in the sky. Like Justin Matthew, Walter Burroughs, and Dr. Johnny Jones’ late brother, Bobby Jones. Man, he could make it rain ducks. Today, Doug Beard of All Electric is one of my favorites. He can get loud and bring those ducks. My son Peter is a very good caller. He knows to sweet talk those ducks.
Director of Operations, Maxwell Hardwood Flooring, Inc., Monticello
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Fifty plus.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? I hunt in the Southeast Arkansas delta. I learned how to kill ducks in Felsenthal, Cut-off Creek and Seven Devils. I occasionally still hunt public, but I mainly hunt private, green timber areas.
CLUB NAME? North Glory.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Benelli semi-automatic.
DUCK CALL? My call is a P.S. Olt I cut down when I was 12 years old. It is special and certainly priceless to me.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? I would hunt ducks anywhere, but I prefer to stand next to a big oak in green timber.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? I love a 30-degree bluebird day
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? My Dad, Tommy Maxwell, made sure I was always duck hunting with him. I was 9 years old with a single barrel 410. Nobody made kid-sized waders back then, so Dad bought me thin fishing waders and I put them on inside my hip boots. It was cold. We were hunting the backwater of the Ouachita River in Felsenthal NWR. My Dad had to carry me across a wide slough on his back and then I sat on a stump while we hunted. (I was a good-sized 9-year-old.) We killed a ton of big fat mallards and I loved every second of it.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? I always wanted to be with my Dad. We hunted everything a person could in south Arkansas. Duck hunting came natural.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? My daughter Addy Beth is 6 years old and I have taken her on the last day since she was 3 years old. She loves the mud and water. We have a special time every year and even kill a few ducks. My son Andrew, 3, and wife Sheila went this year also and had a blast. I’m sure it will become an annual family affair.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? I have a motto I use every morning while I get ready: “gun, shells, waders, call.” if that checklist is complete, I can get it done.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? I stood next to John Stephens, in the old Wildlife Acres club, several years ago and called ducks together and he’s the best I’ve been with.
CFO, Lomanco, Inc., Jacksonville
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Twenty-five.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? Raft Creek Bottoms, north of Des Arc.
CLUB NAME? The “160.”
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-auto Benelli Super Black Eagle II.
DUCK CALL? Echo Timber Call.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Flooded timber.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Bluebird sky, 15 mph northwest wind.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? My future son in law tried to steal a band from my crippled mallard, a family joke. Any day in the duck blind with my buddies, Rick and Jerry; the stories are worth the trip.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? Dad took me the first time when I was 12. I killed my limit of mallards, been hooked ever since.
IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN, DO YOU TAKE THEM DUCK HUNTING? IF SO, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS FROM THESE YOUTH HUNTS? Four grandchildren, shooting decoys with a BB gun and watching them take ducks from our black Lab Hank.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? A frying pan to warm up sausage biscuits about 8 a.m.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? Doug Rich.
President and CEO , McCarley Real Estate LLC
and McCarley Home Improvements, Little Rock
NUMBER OF DAYS YOU HUNT A SEASON? Typically 45-50.
WHERE DO YOU HUNT? Cache and White River bottoms around Augusta and Woodruff County.
CLUB NAME? Cold Cache Hunting Club.
PUMP OR SEMI-AUTOMATIC? Semi-automatic Browning Gold.
DUCK CALL? Rich-N-Tone MVP and Rich-N-Tone Microhen.
FIELDS, RESERVOIR, RIVER OR TIMBER? Tree lines, river channel and timber.
RAINY, NASTY OR BLUEBIRD SKY? Bluebird and cold.
FAVORITE HUNTING STORY/MEMORY? December 1995: Jimmy Nelson and I were at the Lower Vallier Access at 3:30 a.m. to be ready for the boat race to the hole at Five Forks. (The Nelsons had found a blow down the year before and hunted this hole several times, but the ducks had not moved down there yet.) That morning was clear and crisp with a slight breeze. We worked several bunches of ducks but they would not finish. We finally got a group of about 50 circling, then another group joined in, and the next thing we knew, there were groups everywhere. Finally a drake broke the canopy and came in, followed by group after group, with about 300-plus ducks all around us on the water and in the air. We wanted to see how many we could light before we started shooting. We got them up and shot six times and had seven ducks. We waited on one more group to finish out our limit and Jimmy killed the last one. This was the christening of the “Brown Dot Hole.” After that hunt, we killed limits in that hole 18 days in a row. Those were the “Good Ole Days.”
WHAT GOT YOU INTO DUCK HUNTING? My Uncle Bob Williamson introduced me to duck hunting at the age of five in the White River Bottoms.
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 three boys: Clark Jr., 12, Cooper, 9 and Miller, 6. I introduced all of them to hunting at a young age. Each boy had been hunting at least 10 times by the time they reached 4 years old. I clearly remember Clark’s first duck hunt as Hunter Bale and I had him wrapped up in a camo net sitting in the boat wearing a red life jacket.
The most memorable hunts so far were when my two oldest boys killed their first ducks. Clark killed his first duck on our family’s farm in Woodruff County after a big freeze in late January of 2010. Clark, Cooper, and I were near a 10 x 10 hole that had thawed. The sun was glistening off the water and a slight breeze blew two decoys around. A pair of pintails came in and Clark Jr. shot the drake. It was a proud moment. However, it was bittersweet also because I had just received a call that my “G” (maternal grandmother, Gladys Hyatt) was being flown to Jonesboro due to a stroke and they did not know if she was going to make it. There were tears of joy and sadness all at the same time. Ironically, Cooper killed his first duck in December of 2011 about 300 yards from where Clark Jr. killed his first duck. Just Cooper and I were sitting in a boat blind one afternoon when a pair of mallards came in. They lit and starting swimming towards us and when the greenhead got within 15 yards of us I told Cooper to shoot. He did and the greenhead was his first duck. Both first ducks are mounted and on the walls of their bedrooms. This year, Miller will finally be old enough to shoot and I hope he will have his first trophy duck in his room by the end of the season.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST UNUSUAL “MUST HAVE” IN THE DUCK BLIND? Spray paint because there is always something that shines a little too much.
WHICH ARKANSAS EXECUTIVE CALLS DUCKS THE BEST? The late James Taylor, Hunter Bale and Gar Lile.