Admittedly, before last winter, I had never heard of a “polar vortex.” But the weather phenomenon we experienced not once, but twice accounted for some fantastic waterfowling. The duck numbers we hunters questioned for years seemed to be accurate as the mallard population pre and post freezes of early December and January seemed to be like the “good old days.” Waterfowlers able to find open water to float a decoy typically enjoyed fast and furious action as ducks became desperate for groceries.

Coming off a more than satisfactory duck season and hoping for another, we are proud to present the fifth annual edition of Greenhead, The Arkansas Duck Hunting Magazine. It truly seems only yesterday we were conceptualizing the first Greenhead and wondering if we could build an audience for a once-a-year magazine that was 100 percent about Arkansas duck hunting. The editorial team is proud to say “yes” and then some as our nationwide fan base grows with each edition.

Our feature story is an incredible, four-day “bucket list” adventure I experienced with renowned outdoor photographer Dale Spartas of Montana. Dale and I hunted some of the most historic shooting grounds in Arkansas with great friends and outstanding hospitality.

Stalwart, annual contributor John Gordon tells a touching story of teenager Cole Croteau. Cole is like many high school-aged boys with an unquenchable love for the outdoors. The difference is Cole is fighting Cystic Fibrosis and has found a vested support group with Stuttgart duck hunting as a key component. Gordon also gives waterfowlers expert advice on how to hunt pit blinds in flooded rice fields. Hopefully even experienced field hunters will find a tip or two to help them enjoy more success.

Managing editor Todd Traub introduces us to Hunter Harris, a young entrepreneur from Little Rock who built his own video production and apparel company centered on his love for duck hunting. Traub also explores the rehabilitated and improved Arkansas Game and Fish Commission retriever training pond in Mayflower and its driving force, Larry McMurry.

Award winning Arkansas Business senior editor George Waldon takes a look at the legacy of the Lagrue Land Company and the long relationship with the Chlapecka family of Hazen.

That magic sound to lure mallards into your decoy spread might be found in Mark Friedman’s article on Arkansas-based duck call makers you may not be familiar with.

The youth shooting sports movement is in full swing and writer Jeff Reed gives Greenhead readers insight to competitive shooting sports and the new Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex in Jacksonville. Reed also writes about guide/conservationist Stan Jones and his popular Mallard Lodge.

Once again, we hope you find the magazine engaging, educational and energizing. Habitat conditions were optimal for the spring hatch and duck numbers are on the incline. If we can get a little cold weather and enough water to hold the ducks, this season should be another good one.

Good luck this season and please share with us any story ideas you may have for future editions of Greenhead.

Brent Birch