Arkansas Sampler

There's a reason ducks love "The Natural State": diverse habitats and plenty of water.

With a flashlight illuminating the darkness, we waded to a small island in the middle of a flooded rice field. While we stowed our gear in the pit blind, our guide Jim Ronquest made a few adjustments to the 100 decoys that surrounded the pit. By shooting time we were settled in and scanning the horizon for birds.

It wasn't long until a distant flock of mallards caught Jim's eye and he went to work on the call. It was a textbook example of championship calling--a series of highballs attracted and turned the birds and they came in high over the blind. As they winged closer he shifted from the high ringing call to a staccato feeding chuckle punctuated with several seductive quacks. The birds broke high and right and appeared to lose interest.


Jim switched to the come back call and the birds made a wide pass and dropped altitude. More feeding chuckles and a few lonesome hen calls brought the birds in range. When they were 25 yards out and over the decoys Jim gave the command and we rose to at least a dozen committed birds. I picked a greenhead on the right and squeezed the trigger. I missed with my first shot and anchored the drake with the second. When the shooting was over, three mallards and a gadwall were lying on the water.


If you are a serious waterfowl hunter, when Arkansas is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is mallard hunting in flooded timber. Arkansas winters more mallards than anywhere in the U.S. and flooded hardwoods forests, known to many as green timber, form the cornerstone of the habitat base. Arkansas is a place where duck populations reach legendary proportions and mallards are given celebrity status.

The reason for this concentration of birds is the variety and quality of the habitat available. Along with flooded timber, Arkansas has flooded rice and soybean fields, dead timber breaks and marshes. While timber hunting is all about mallards and wood ducks, rice/soybean field and dead timber break/marsh shooting provides the opportunity to take a variety of species including mallard, gadwall, wigeon, green-winged teal, shoveler, pintail and wood ducks along with snow, Ross's and white-fronted geese.


When hunting Arkansas and the birds are not in the "woods," one simply has to look to the fields, marshes and timber breaks to work a hard-charging retriever.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Women

Women's Waterfowl Lineup

SITKA Gear waterfowl product manager Jim Saubier shows off the company's full line-up of women's waterfowl hunting gear for 2019. From warm and moisture-wicking base layers to water and windproof outer layers, this is a complete system for women who love to chase fall and wintertime ducks and geese across the four flyways!

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

Gun Stories host Joe Mantegna talks about the origin and history of the Browning A5 shotgun.

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

Puppy Training Getting Started

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter from How-To

Building a Duck Boat Blind on a Budget

Mike Marsh - May 10, 2016

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter...

Waterfowl hunters must find creative ways to practice the demanding types of shooting challenges we face. How-To

7 Ways to Improve Your Shooting Skills

Mark Romanack

Waterfowl hunters must find creative ways to practice the demanding types of shooting...

A teacher made a $100 row boat into a bluebill's worst nightmare, and a dog's best friend.   Boats

Convert a Row Boat into a Bluebill Blind

Mike Marsh

A teacher made a $100 row boat into a bluebill's worst nightmare, and a dog's best friend.  

We found Migra's shells to be plenty capable of taking down ducks and geese. Ammo

A Closer Look at Migra Ammo

John M. Taylor

We found Migra's shells to be plenty capable of taking down ducks and geese.

See More Trending Articles

More North America

 On the short list of must-hunt destinations in the world of waterfowling, Manitoba holds a secure North America

Manitoba: A Waterfowl Mecca

Brad Fenson - February 12, 2018

On the short list of must-hunt destinations in the world of waterfowling, Manitoba holds a...

In Mississippi's impassioned greenhead culture, family and limits are the margins by which a successful season is measured. North America

Duck-Hunting Culture of the Mississippi Delta

Joe Genzel

In Mississippi's impassioned greenhead culture, family and limits are the margins by which a...

Missouri has the ducks, and more Midwest hunters are slipping across state lines. North America

Duck Hunting on Missouri's Public Water

Jack Ballard

Missouri has the ducks, and more Midwest hunters are slipping across state lines.

There are many fine places to hunt waterfowl throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few North America

8 Awesome Ducks Hunts You Can Do Right Now

Wildfowl Online Staff - October 25, 2017

There are many fine places to hunt waterfowl throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few

See More North America

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Wildfowl subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now