Making a living, turning a business into a going concern and weathering the ups and downs of the corporate world, require focus, discipline and hard work.
So for many of the state’s executives and business owners, a weekend of hunting can be a welcome distraction. It’s not only a chance to prove one’s prowess and limit out, it’s a chance to reconnect with friends, nature and, most important in many cases, one’s children.
Most of the executives participating in this year’s Q&A were introduced to hunting by a caring adult, and so those with kids have tried to pass on the experience, creating moments and memories they will recall and share in years to come.
Click on an exec’s name to read his profile or just scroll down to see them all.
- Alan Perkins
- Art Kinnaman
- Bill Bakewell
- Doug Weeks
- Jack Butt
- John A. Riggs IV
- Lee Maris
- Scott Thone
- Scott Davidson
- Trey Buckner
|Alan Perkins, Attorney/Partner
PPGMR Law, PLLC, Little Rock
Number of days you hunt a season? I shoot for about 20 days, but it is never enough.
Where do you hunt? Mostly Bayou Des Arc and Cache River bottoms.
Club name? Willow Oak Slough on Bayou Des Arc
What kind of gun do you use? Benelli Super Black Eagle II (12-gauge semi-automatic)
Duck call? Rich-N-Tone Original and Daisy Cutter — are there other brands besides RNT?
Fields, reservoir or timber? Timber, reservoir and fields, in that order. But I let the ducks tell me where to go on a given day.
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Bluebird sky is king, but anytime the ducks are there … .
Favorite hunting story/memory? Years ago, when I was a senior at Texas A&M, I went to a friend’s 10,000-acre family farm near the Gulf Coast for Thanksgiving break. On Thanksgiving day, we shot ten duck limits of mostly pintails in a coastal marsh that morning, ate Thanksgiving lunch with his family and shot a limit of quail along their farm fields right after lunch. Then, they took me out to a scrubby pasture and stuck me 30 feet up in a huge oak tree, where I shot a 9-point buck just before sundown. I will never have another hunting day like that.
What got you into hunting? My dad took me squirrel and rabbit hunting from a very young age. I didn’t start duck hunting until high school, when my older brother and some of his friends took me for the first time. I was hooked for life. I found from early on that I had a deep connection with wild places and the experiences that go with them, but especially creeks, rivers and swamps. I am irresistibly drawn to them.
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 daughters and a son. Only my son, Jacob, who is now 21, really took to duck hunting. We have had many wonderful hunts over the years. Starting with his first trip, when he came along with his Elmer Fudd hat and plastic double-barrel, and helped out by pulling the jerk-string. He is very much as addicted to the sport as I am. The many experiences we have shared in the woods and swamps have created a special father-son bond and provided the perfect backdrop to discuss life issues and talk about what is truly important.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? I can’t think of anything unusual I need in my duck blind. I like to keep it simple.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Other than me, I’m not sure.
|Art Kinnaman, Vice president
Company Hugg & Hall Mobile Storage, Little Rock
Number of days you hunt a season? Fifteen to 20
Where do you hunt? Primarily with my dad, Jack Kinnaman, near Reydell. We also hunt his place in the Raft Creek bottoms. I really enjoy hunting with my friends at Kinco near Stuttgart and I try to slip in a couple other hunts with friends at their places.
What kind of gun do you use? Benelli Super Black Eagle-auto
Duck call? Echo
Fields, reservoir or timber? I appreciate all the above and the different experience each provides. It’s cool to marvel at the colors and different sizes of that mixed bag garnered from a successful field hunt. However, nothing compares to mallards dropping into a beautiful timber hole.
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Cold and bluebird
Favorite hunting story/memory? I think a lot about the times my dad took me up to Raft Creek Hunting Club when I was growing up. One Thanksgiving morning years ago, I hunted there with Dad, my brother-in-law Tommy Wasson and nephew Thomas Wasson. We had a fantastic hunt and had limited out. We were just starting to pack up the blind and get in the boat when Dad said “hold on.” Several groups of mallards were working the hole. “Let’s just see what happens,” [he said]. We sat there for several minutes and watched increasingly larger groups of mallards pile into the hole. Ducks were literally landing on other ducks! We sat there giggling at each other for several minutes. Finally, we stood up. The birds spooked and with a roar they lifted and left us. We stood there silently for a few moments and just soaked it all in.
What got you into hunting? My Dad started taking me when I was a kid. I loved spending time with him and his buddies — Bob Halderman, Basil Butler and Gaylon Boshears at duck camp. That’s where I learned about the camaraderie of hunters.
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 daughters who have all gone with me. None are really shooters but they all enjoy watching Otis, our lab. work. I love sitting in the treeline or hunkered on the bank, watching the sunrise rise with my girls. I use a container cabin that my youngest and I stay in sometimes. We’ll have a campfire the night before, get a good night’s rest, then take in an Arkansas sunrise together. Man, that’s living.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? I always have beef jerky in my blind bag. For Otis, of course!
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Chad Hamlin with Southern Branding blows a good call.
|Bill Bakewell, Regional Business Development
Company Swisher Inc., Springdale
Number of days you hunt a season? Forty-five
Where do you hunt? Eureka South Dakota, Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge and the Twin Bridges area of Grand Lake in Oklahoma.
Club name? Dub Bux and Bax Hunting Club [in] Stigler, Oklahoma; and Fifth Day Hunting Club [in] Wyandotte, Oklahoma.
What kind of gun do you use? Original Benelli Super Black Eagle auto with 24-inch barrel
Duck call? Southland “ Black Magic”
Fields, reservoir or timber? Have hunted all of it, but mainly fields and backwater off rivers and lakes.
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Whatever the good Lord gives me. Have had great and bad days in all conditions.
Favorite hunting story/memory? Norm DeBriyn will tell you (and everyone else); it was when we were hunting together in South Dakota and I was trying to get us to that “special spot.” I was carrying two dozen decoys, a mojo and my gun and stepped into a silt channel and sunk in mud up to my chest. Norm was real worried and went to get help. In about thirty minutes I heard a bunch of sirens and saw two fire trucks, an ambulance, an electrical cherry picker truck and a quarter of the town of Eureka, South Dakota come over the ridge. They pulled me out of my waders with a ladder truck. The best part is I set up my mojo and shot two ducks while stuck in the mud waiting for help.
What got you into hunting? My dad took me hunting.
If you have children do you take them duck hunting? If so what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? I take my son whenever he can go. Took my wife once and she stood up and started yelling for the ducks to fly off before I could shoot them. She hasn’t been back.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Probably Tommy and Davey Inman in Carlisle.
|Doug Weeks, EVP and COO
Baptist Health, Little Rock
Number of days you hunt a season? Ten to 15. We need to go more often now that we have a Boykin puppy that needs the work.
Where do you hunt? My son Steven and I share a hunting camp with my brother, Layne, and his son Sam. It is south of Star City in a little community called Little Garnett. From there we go wherever we think we might get lucky. Cane Creek Lake, Seven Devils swamp and little bean field in Yorktown are pretty routine spots for us.
Club name? We just say “we’re going to Star City”.
What kind of gun do you use? Benelli, Nova Pump 12
Duck call? I have a couple of inexpensive calls that I like that I’m not very good with. My wife Leighton got me a nice Echo single reed when I first started duck hunting. I can make that sound a lot like a Gadwall.
Fields, reservoir or timber? All of the above!
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? We always seem to do better the nastier it is outside.
Favorite hunting story/memory? Five or six years back I went with a couple of friends, Keith Owen and Hoser Howard, to Cane Creek Lake on opening morning. The blackjacks were hammering us early. They were flying fast and low and my friends ran out of shells. They were having a little trouble with their aim early in the season I suppose. I doled out what I had sparingly but we all managed to get our limit.
What got you into hunting? To be with family and friends.
If you have children do you take them duck hunting? If so what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? As mentioned before, my brother and I love to take Steven and Sam. Steven is 14 and Sam is 18 and headed for Louisiana Tech. Most of the highlights include the early morning and mid-morning snacks we bring along for the slow periods!
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? I do make sure I always have plenty of shells in case of hunts as described above!
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Not sure, but John Ransom and his son Matt are pretty darn good!
|Jack Butt, Attorney, Managing Partner
Davis Law Firm, Little Rock
Number of days you hunt a season? Twenty
Where do you hunt? Canadian River bottoms. [It’s] 40 minutes west of Ft. Smith.
Club name? Dux, Bux and Bax Hunting Club, LLC
What kind of gun do you use? Pump — either an Ithaca model 37 or Winchester 870
Duck call? Several; we don’t call much. If I have a hunter with me that grew up in eastern Arkansas, I let them do the talking — they grew up fluent in “duck.” It’s a learned second language to me, and I obviously have a foreign accent apparent to both the good callers and the ducks themselves, though on my own, I do get a few in.
Fields, reservoir or timber? None. We hunt the Canadian River, its creek tributaries, sloughs and overflows. Where and how we hunt depends day to day on the river level, as it creates (or deletes) the habitat for attracting ducks along the river. A good set-up one day in layout blinds on a river beach may be underwater the next day, [so] that hunkering down in full camo amidst buck brush or next to a stump on a pothole the river left full of water as it dropped overnight, may be the “blind du jour.”
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? All, because you don’t kill ducks if you’re not on the water — rain or shine. But I wouldn’t trust anyone who says they enjoy hunting outside in the rain — they’re either prevaricating, crazy, or both.
Favorite hunting story/memory? Watching my German Short Hair Pointer make several open water, fast current, long retrieves in the early morning hunt, and then nail down several quail coveys that afternoon. Nothing better, in any kind of hunt, than watching a dog you’ve trained yourself do their thing.
What got you into hunting? When I was growing up in the 1950s and early ‘60s, my father hunted quail and all my friends’ fathers hunted quail. We occasionally got to go. By the time we got old enough to hunt by ourselves, there weren’t many quail left. So we figured out squirrel hunting, dove hunting, varmint hunting, as numbers returned, deer and turkey hunting, and even jump-shot a few ducks on northwest Arkansas rivers. I came to “real” duck hunting (i.e. decoys, calls, waders, etc.) late, in my 40s, through friends that took me. It’s about being in the woods, on the water, and in the outdoors, regardless of what the bag holds at the end of the day.
If you have children do you take them duck hunting? If so what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? I did. My children are all grown, live away and have limited opportunity to join the hunt, so now I’m waiting to see if the grandbabies have any interest. … I mostly worried that they’d be too cold, too wet, too bored, not see game, not get to shoot at game, or not bag any game. Any hunt where I could make all of that work, and they enjoyed being out of doors, was a great hunt.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? A comfortable cushion to sit on.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? I imagine those who grew up doing it, whoever they may be. Ed Smithson, who manages for the Lindsey Companies in Fayetteville (and grew up in Helena speaking “duck” as a native language), is the best I’ve heard. But I’m not sure I hunt with enough Arkansas executives to make my test field statistically relevant.
|John A. Riggs IV, Chairman/Dealer Principal
J. A. Riggs Tractor Company, Little Rock
Number of days you hunt a season? I aspire to hunt 60 days but usually only make 20 or so.
Where do you hunt? Almyra
Club name? Longshot Farms
What kind of gun do you use? Browning Maxus or Remington 870 (depending on how hard the hunting is).
Duck call? Heydel’s
Fields, reservoir or timber? Buckbrush and willow swamp
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Bluebird, although hunting in the snow is cool too.
Favorite hunting story/memory? Killing my first greenhead with both of my grandfathers sitting next to me and a 410 pump at Bayou DeView Club, which is now part of AGFC property.
What got you into hunting? My father first took me hunting, but his father helped develop and grow my passion for duck hunting.
If you have children do you take them duck hunting? If so what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? Five of my six kids have hunted with me. One of my favorite stories is taking my oldest three kids hunting when they were 6 to 10 years old. We got into some teal and wounded two, which we captured and put in the boat. The two younger kids jumped in the boat, picked up the wounded birds and petted them. I have a picture of it, and it sits on my dresser at duck camp.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? Goobers (salted and in shell).
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Logan Bass of Bass Concrete.
|Lee Maris, Senior vice president
Bank of Little Rock Mortgage
Number of days you hunt a season? Twenty-five to 35
Where do you hunt? Family Hunting Club. South of Carlisle
Club name? Button Willow
What kind of gun do you use? Benelli semi-automatic
Duck call? Various
Fields, reservoir or timber? Buck Brush Reservoir
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Blue sky
Favorite hunting story/memory? Hunting with my brother and father in the 1970s. My brother and I would play on those old Mattel, battery-operated football games in the blind. My dad would get so mad, because I don’t think they had a mute button.
What got you into hunting? Hunted all my life. Father and grandparents are/were hunters.
If you have children do you take them duck hunting? If so what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? My 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son just started a few years ago. … Any time they kill one and the simple things like wearing waders and wading in water is so much fun for the kids … and some of their observations.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? My father or Biff Morgan.
|Scott Thone, Co-owner/president
Arkansas Portable Toilets & Mini Bins, central and northwest Arkansas
Number of days you hunt a season? Twenty to 25
Where do you hunt? East of McCrory
Club name? Duck Hook Hunting Club
What kind of gun do you use? Remington 870. Pump
Duck call? RNT
Fields, reservoir or timber? Mostly fields in our club, but I love to hunt in the timber.
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Bluebird
Favorite hunting story/memory? Two hunting partners and myself went and hunted on the north side of the White River Refuge one year back in the ‘90s (long before cell phone cameras!). The water was very low, so we had a small, flat bottom boat in the back of the truck. We drove in and unloaded the boat in the first oxbow lake we came to that didn’t have someone hunting it. We paddled out to a little island with a couple of big cypress trees on it and hid. We weren’t there five minutes, blew the duck call a couple of times, and the sky filled with birds. We let them all land, which seemed to take forever.
Once the lake was full of birds, we just sat and watched in awe at what we were experiencing. That was one of the loudest things I had ever been a part of. The quacking and chuckling of that many birds was deafening. We looked at each other to get ready to get up and shoot, and one of my partners didn’t even have his gun out of his bag. He had a jig pole in his hand trying to catch crappie! Me and the other guy emptied our guns. The ducks were so thick that we killed more ducks than we had shots (it definitely wasn’t our shooting prowess). Once we shot, the ducks went up, circled and many came back in again. We limited out in around 15 minutes and sat there watching the birds work for another hour. It was incredible, and I’m sure I will never see anything like it ever again.
What got you into hunting? My Dad was a member of a club at Crockett’s Bluff, and I started going with him in my early teens. I was hooked.
If you have children do you take them duck hunting? If so what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? I have a son and a daughter. My son likes it but doesn’t love it. He likes to go to the club and eat more than he likes to hunt.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? I don’t really have an unusual item, but one of my hunting partners, Evans Dietz, has to have Nilla Wafers to give to his dog when he does a good retrieve.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Chris Lane — Regions Insurance.
|Skip Davidson, Attorney, senior partner
Davidson Law Firm, Little Rock
Number of days you hunt a season? Thirty
Where do you hunt? England & Ink Bayou
Club name? Black Bayou Duck Club
What kind of gun do you use? Browning A5 (humpback)
Duck call? I have a pitching call (works best when I pitch it in the water).
Fields, reservoir or timber? All
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? All
Favorite hunting story/memory? My old retriever, Biscuit. He died a few years ago.
What got you into hunting? Hunted all my life. Grew up in Lake Village.
If you have children do you take them duck hunting? If so what are some of the highlights from these youth hunts? Took them hunting as kids, and now they are adults. I plan on taking my grandchildren.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? Coffee and extra bullets.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? Roy Huddle.
|Trey Buckner, Owner/Certified General Appraiser
Charles S. Buckner III Real Estate Appraisals, White Hall
Number of days you hunt in a season? Twenty-five to 30
Where do you hunt? Bayou Meto and some fields to the west of Government Cypress
Club name? Cornerstone Club
What kind of gun do you use? Semi-Automatic Beretta Extrema II
Duck call? Rich-N-Tone
Fields, reservoir or timber? Fields and timber; prefer timber.
Rainy, nasty or bluebird sky? Rainy and nasty any day.
Favorite hunting story or memory? Right out of college (1993 or so) we had been getting to hunt with Dr. Charles Logan at his Reservoir (now known as Cross Winds) for three or four years on the last three days of the season. It was Sunday and it was a full house; Dr. Logan and all of his friends plus eight or nine fraternity brothers (Phi Delta Theta). We had taken the usual death march to the cross levee and spread out. Dr Logan shot a 20 gauge most of the time and was a dead eye. He would be in the middle and that day he had shot his ducks and was waiting for the rest of us to finish up. And he had a sharp voice that you could hear a long way and we had a group of ducks coming in and all I could hear was him yelling “Shoot that duck Lumpy.” he had told many of us that over the years.
The hunting in the reservoir ended several years later but the hunts he took us all on for years were the stuff of duck hunting legend. He passed away [in July] and that story and those memories came flooding back at his funeral. Thanks to Dr. Logan there were many boys and men that got to go hunting and he was a true gentleman sportsman.
What got you into hunting? I was born in Stuttgart and my grandfather Ralph Vickers lived there. My grandfather started taking me hunting when I was 6 years old. My first hunt was on a farm owned then by Steve Luckadoo. I shot my first mallard lying on a levee in hip boots soaking wet and freezing. I spent many a Saturday morning riding down the boat ditch at Bayou Meto at the Halowell access with my grandfather and his brother Glenn. From then on I was hooked.
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 children and three stepchildren. I have three girls and three boys. Two of my girls have gone with me. Emma goes to appease me but Ruth Ann really loves to go. All of the boys like to go. My stepson Alex has stopped because he is in college. James loves to go and so does his stepbrother Ben. Last season James was 12 years old and he is coming into his own. He has been shooting trap with the White Hall trap team for one year and has gotten pretty good. We had one morning at Four Ducks farm that he shot his limit and then and only then could I shoot. I look forward to having many more days with my kids in the blind.
What is your most unusual “must have” in the duck blind? Three things: coffee (black), Tasty Cake Big Honey Bun, good cigar.
Which Arkansas executive calls ducks the best? He passed away about six years ago but it was hands down Bill Lea of Bill Lea Service Company in Sherwood.