Way OT - Duck hunting

Having grown up in Pine Bluff which is fairly close to Stuttgart and the rich Duck hunting area of the state I recall as a youngster seeing huge flocks of Ducks this time of year. The sky would sometimes be filled with Ducks.

I seem to remember that the Duck population (or migration patterns) had decreased over the years in those areas. But I’m not certain. A week ago today we had to make a quick trip back home and I saw huge flocks of Ducks again.

Anyone in the know on this subject? Just curious. Loved seeing the Ducks again.

Ducks Unlimited has had a lot to do with the preservation and growth of the duck population. George Dunklin, Jr., a Pine Bluff native, has been a recent president of the National Ducks Unlimited and has spent a lot of his time in this conservation effort. Duck hunters are like us golfers…crazy to the max about their sport.

If you see or meet George, thank him for the duck revival. He has spent a lot of his life in this effort…he and many others.

The duck population did decline. It’s rebounded thanks to the efforts of Ducks Unlimited to reclaim the habitat in Canada where the ducks breed. You still may not see numbers in Arkansas like in the 30s and 40s, but some of that is because farmers in states further north of Arkansas have learned how to protect and keep ducks over the winter. Habitat has improved all up and down the Mississippi Fly Way.

I will duck hunt the next two weekends, first at Steel Wings between Humnoke and Carlisle. Then the next weekend probably further south, below DeWitt on either side of the White River National Refuge, perhaps at Whiskey Chute or Wards Reservoir. Those two places usually have ducks. But, that’s not why I go. The fellowship (and food) is usually off the charts good. Killing ducks is not really the draw.

I am a resident of Stuttgart and I rarely see huge flocks of ducks in the sky. Most often, the"huge flocks" of waterfowl you see now are flocks of geese, mostly snow geese, but also lots of specklebellies. As others have posted, the duck population is stable and duck hunting has been pretty good for a number of years. Habitat for ducks has really expanded around here because of efforts by DU and farmers. There’s so much water that ducks have lots of places to go. Duck hunting can be really good or not good at all. This year has been very slow so far. There have been some better reports lately but not everywhere. I have friends who have traveled from out of state (NC and TX) to hunt this week. Their guide (around Dewitt) has suggested at least one morning that they not bother to show up, the hunting was so slow.

Yep, more geese than we know what to do with, lol. The duck numbers are down, so far in NEA, supposedly still hung up on MO. We’ve sat around and watched more football, than worried about getting up to hunt at my club. My youngest went to one of the “best” hunting lodges right before Christmas, 4 of the groups of 4 didn’t fire their guns. Only good thing was they didn’t have to pay, they lease some pits from us.

Thanks everyone for the information. Geese are a problem here in Chattanooga too. Our last home was on a golf coarse and geese were everywhere on the coarse. The mess they made was pretty bad.

Some recreation areas along the river here have had wildlife officers shoot some which supposedly caused the geese to move. Something along those lines.

I’m not sure how I missed out on Duck hunting since in my younger years I deer hunted, squirrel hunted and loved bird hunting. Guess I never knew anyone that belonged to a club.

Good hunting Clay and all the others! To me the best part of hunting was the fellowship anyway.

I seem to remember when I was a youngster my father would take my brother and me crappie fishing at a place called whiskey chute. First time I’ve heard whiskey chute mentioned in over 50 years, not sure if it’s the same place or not, do they also crappie fish there ? WPS

Oh, yes. There is crappie in Whiskey Chute. That’s the name of the drainage ditch that dumps into the national refuge from the farm land between the White and Mississippi rivers. You can find Whiskey Chute on the map.

The actual name is Old Blytheville Hunting Club. One of the boundaries is the White River levee. The other boundary is Whiskey Chute, the stream. But the members just call their club Whiskey Chute. I go with two of my college roommates, Conway’s Leo Crafton III and Hal Hunicutt. Leo introduced me to my wife, Jean Ann. She’s a DeWitt girl. Leo’s brother Hal Crafton owns Ward’s Reservoir and recently purchased Double Deuce Hunting Club from Kevin McReynolds. Ward’s Reservoir and Double Deuce share a common boundary.

Whiskey Chute is on the east side of the national refuge. Double Deuce and Ward’s are about 12 miles west on the other side of the refuge. Only problem is that you have to drive over 60 miles (through St. Charles and DeWitt) to get from one to the other. You might hunt the same ducks over a period of a couple of days.

my family has had a hunting club on Big Island going back to my grandfather, no ducks but plenty of deer and now wild hogs on the land between the Mississippi, Arkansas and White. Best crappie fishing I ever knew was off our dock on Lake Ouachita, but next were some oxbows off the White. Geese used to fill the harvested fields in Lincoln county before I knew much about ducks other than those I saw on a brake in my grandfathers back field at Wells Bayou. Damn geese taste nothing like store bought and are hard to want to hunt for food. Geese definitely detract from ducks as more capable competitors. Mr Crafton has an impressive set of properties. Duck hunting around Old Hickory Lake here in Nashville is much better than when I go home and hunt around des Arc with my brother and former club members. I came to feel like it was too far to drive for what I had learned to love in the heyday of Grand Prarie hunting between Humphrey and Humnoke. It was so good that I got spoiled although I am accused of being a lake snob having grown up on Ouachita nothing else can compare at least here in TN. I’m not sure that analyzing duck hunting success does not have as many or more variables than predicting fishing success. Hunting and fishing pressure are off the charts.