November 03, 2010
The Natural State offers more than any waterfowler could ask for.
When a wildfowler's thoughts turn to Arkansas, they more than likely are thoughts of flooded timber and rice field hunting for greenheads. But Arkansas has even more to offer the wildfowler. Last January I experienced several new sides of this unique waterfowl hunting experience.
Sure, we hunted flooded green timber and a rice field or two. Mallards were the predominate species bagged in the timber, but we shot woodies and the occasional gadwall in the woods, too. The rice fields yielded a cornucopia of waterfowl. And there's more.
Stuttgart, Arkansas has an amazing amount of waterfowl habitat and winters huge numbers of ducks and geese. While the bulk of my hunting has been in the vicinity of Stuttgart, there is great hunting in many other parts of Arkansas.
This past January, we hunted from a blind cut into a levy. On the backside of the levy was a 20-acre flooded buck brush slough that roosted hundreds of puddle ducks that were not hunted until the last week of the season.
The surrounding area had numerous catfish ponds, corn and rice fields, and lots of flooded timber. Remember the saying from the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come"--and come they did, on windswept wings.
Arkansas is overrun with snow geese. They receive very little hunting pressure and are not held in high esteem by many of the locals, who refer to them as sky carp. Hoot Gibson would know. Hoot's outfitting business is appropriately called Goose Busters, and his logo is a snow goose silhouette circled in red with a red line through the goose like the Ghost buster logo.
My last hunt of the 2007/2008 Arkansas season was a specklebelly hunt in a rice field. About a half hour after sunrise, we heard specks calling from the west behind us. Persuasive and well-timed calls worked the birds over the blinds. Three specks came in, none left. It was a red-letter day and a fitting end to the waterfowl season in Arkansas, experiencing so much more than meets the eye.