Page 1

atching fishing bicycling hiking festivals competitions travel gear geocaching conservation climbing hunting hiki

our hunting issue

Fall 2011

Waterfowl Forecast:

How will your harvest fair? pg. 10


— Also —

Dazzling Fall foliage Adventures In arkansas

Where to go to find the best Arkansas has to offer pg. 46

— & —

FLW Forest Wood Cup Overview and Results pg. 52

Gear of the Year

The stuff every enthusiast wants pg. 40

2 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 3

Table of CONTENTS 10 Waterfowl season By Andi Cooper

14 Where Champions Are Made

Stuttgart’s duck-calling contest brings visitors from across the globe. By Emily Griffin


18 Duck Gumbo: I Wasn't Prepared By Kat Robinson and Grav Weldon

26 New paddling routes added to Arkansas water trails By Zoie Clift

30 The Starting point


Gibbs Grocery and Hunters Outpost south of Sheridan has been the place where hunters prepare for modern gun season in the area for 36 years By Kat Robinson and Grav Weldon


40 Gear of the year

The stuff you want from local retailers


46 Put a little color in your adventure By Joe Jacobs

50 Fall Gardening By Paige Hunter Parham

52 Family business

FLW Outdoors Tournament By Dena Woerner


56 Leave no trace ethics preserve our natural resources By Paige Hunter Parham


The photography of A.C. "Chuck" Haralson

60 calendar of events


56 4 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

64 news briefs

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CONTRIBUTORS Dena Woerner is the

Tourism Division Communications Manager for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. She leads tourism social networking efforts and oversees editing, research, writing and photography for Arkansas tourism publications and In addition, Woerner teaches Hospitality and Tourism Management courses for Pulaski Technical College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Master of Arts degree in Professional Communication from Purdue University, and a certification in Tourism Crisis Management from the University of Florida.

A.C. “Chuck” Haralson

is chief photographer for Zoie Clift is a travel the Arkansas Department writer for the Arkansas of Parks and Tourism. A Department of Parks 32-year veteran of the and Tourism. She has a department, Haralson master's in journalism from travels the state capturing Boston University and images of Arkansas’s scenic received her bachelor's natural beauty fnd travel degree in biology from the attractions. His work has University of Colorado. As appeared in National part of her work with the Geographic Traveler, department she covers National Geographic assignments that highlight Dsicovery, Better Homes the distinctive cultural and Gardens, Women’s and outdoor destinations Day, Camping Life, and found across the state. Backpaker, and in major Along with her work, she newspapers including the enjoys photojournalism, New York Times, Chicago hiking new trails, mountain Tirbune and the Los Angeles biking singletrack routes, Times. He’s now the proud kayaking, and traveling the grandfather of one-year-old backroads of Arkansas with grandson Wyatt. her pup Kip.


Kat Robinson is a food and travel writer out of Little Rock. Kat's taking aim this fall at pies across the state of Arkansas. She was recently awarded first place for freelance writing for her Eat Arkansas for Breakfast feature for the Arkansas Times. She's probably best known for writing Eat Arkansas, the Arkansas Times blog for food lovers -- and for her personal travel blog, Tie Dye Travels ( Kat also writes for Lonely Planet and Serious Eats and contributes to Food Network Magazine and the Savvy Kids blog. You can catch Kat each month on KARK News 4 at Noon and every other week on KARN's The Dave Elswick Show.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, fall is probably your favorite time of the year. From the opening of hunting season to amazing vistas along hiking and biking trails, autumn in Arkansas is an amazing time of year. In this issue you will find tons of information on hunting, the best places to see fall foliage and how to get there, some great outdoor gear available locally, and an extensive calendar of events to keep you busy this fall.

Grav Weldon is a photog- Andi Cooper is a native rapher and animator out of Mississippian and has Fort Smith. Grav's travels a Master’s degree from have recently taken him as Mississippi State University far as Alaska and Canada, in Wildlife and Fisheries Chicago and New Orleans Science. Cooper cur— but he still has time to rently holds a position with capture fascinating scenes Ducks Unlimited’s Southof Arkansas life. Grav's art ern Region in Ridgeland, show "Travels" is on display MS as a Communications in Little Rock at OW Pizza Specialist. While she’s not Downtown through the working, Cooper enjoys end of the year. You can bird watching, deer huntalso follow his travels ing, outdoor photography, at persistentgravity. woodburning, camping, and wandering the woods with dogs, Jake and Ziva.

Baker Kurrus is an attorney who lives in Little Rock with his wife, Ginny. He is the president of The Winrock Group, Inc., which operates the auto dealerships Mercedes Benz of Little Rock, Riverside Subaru, Riverside Acura, Honda World and Honda of Jonesboro. He is also involved in farming and real estate development. Baker, Ginny and their three adult children spend many weekends and holidays at their log cabin. Baker enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, dog training and wildlife management.

Joe Jacobs has served as the manager of Marketing and Revenue for the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism since 2005. In this role, he manages the division’s marketing program, including the Division’s annual advertising program, and oversees the revenue producing for Arkansas State Parks. Jacobs spends his free time managing the Arkansas Outside Blog, arkansasoutside. An avid backpacker for over 30 years, he and his family have hiked many miles of The Natural State.

Fall 2011


THE YEAR GEARstuffOF every enthusiast wants The

pg. 40

How will pg. 10


— Also —

pg. 42

— & — pg. 48


Read the current issue for free at or download the enhanced PDF to read anytime on your iPad, laptop, or other portable device!




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Wild  Fall 2011

I hope you enjoy this issue of Arkansas Wild. For more than 10 years we have worked to bring our readers features on the outdoors from every angle. From hunting and fishing to hiking and biking, Arkansas Wild has featured it all! I also hope that you will take the time to become a fan of Arkansas Wild on Facebook ( arkansaswild). Our fans can find links to important (and just plain interesting) outdoor information, news, post photos, and more!

Heather Baker Publisher

Shady Lake fishing

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.com SCAN HERE FOR VIDEO AND FALL COLOR MAP. Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 7

Heather Baker Publisher

Editorial Emily Griffin Editor Paige hunter parham Editorial Assistant BRYAN MOATS Editorial/Creative Art Director

Advertising Tamara Adkins Account Executive Kelly daniel Account Executive Michelle miller Account Executive Emily Withem Account Executive kelly lyles Advertising Assistant

Photography Brian Chilson A.C. (Chuck) Haralson

Production Weldon Wilson Production Manager

Wildlife P r o P e r t i e s

Roland Gladden Advertising Traffic Manager kelly schlachter Advertising Coordinator tracy whitaker Advertising Coordinator KAI CADDY Graphic Artist Patrick Jones Graphic Artist Rafael Mendez Graphic Artist Sandy sarlo Graphic Artist Mike Spain Graphic Artist


Office Staff Weldon Wilson Controller

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Robert Curfman IT Director Linda Phillips Billing/Collections Angie Fambrough Office Manager Anitra Hickman Circulation Director 201 E. MARKHAM ST. SUITE 200 LITTLE ROCK, AR 72201 501-375-2985 All Contents © 2011 Arkansas Wild

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Waterfowl Season Looking Back, Looking Forward


by Andi Cooper

2010 Waterfowl Season Report


ccording to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest Report, waterfowl hunters in Arkansas had a good 2010-11 season, harvesting more ducks and more geese than the previous year. More than 1.4 million ducks were harvested in Arkansas last season, an increase over the 2009 season of more than 300,000. Total goose harvest for 2010 was 142,500 an increase of 42,000 geese over the 2009-10 season. Top five duck species in Arkansas bags were mallards (accounting for 49 percent of harvested ducks), gadwall, green-winged teal, wood duck and northern shoveler. Those five species collectively covered nearly 93 percent of ducks harvested 10 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

in Arkansas last season. Arkansas’ duck harvest was third highest in the nation after Louisiana and California, accounting for 18 percent of the Mississippi Flyway harvest and 9 percent of the U.S. total duck harvest. The goose harvest was a little more evenly distributed, with Canada geese accounting for 37 percent of the total goose harvest, followed closely by snow geese and whitefronted geese. While goose hunter numbers remained steady from the 2009-10 to 2010-11 seasons, hunter effort increased by about 16,000 days in 2010-11. The increase in goose harvest resulted in an average seasonal goose harvest of 9.5 geese per hunter in 2010-11 compared to 6.7 geese per hunter in the 200910 goose season. Duck hunter numbers dropped slightly, but effort increased similar to goose hunters. Duck hunters in 2010-11 did better

than those the prior year with a seasonal average of 26.8 ducks per hunter last season compared to 20.1 ducks per hunter in 2009-10. All indications from the breeding grounds are that Arkansas hunters will have ample opportunity to enjoy another satisfying waterfowl season. However, as many hunters experienced last season, there are multiple other factors that impact individual hunting success. If local habitat conditions are good, and the weather cooperates to push waterfowl south this winter, be ready for an exciting season!

Indicators Good for 2011 Fall Flight The breeding grounds of the Prairie Pothole Region in Canada and the U.S. produce most of the waterfowl harvested in Arkansas

Species May Ponds (U.S. & Canada) Total Ducks Mallard Gadwall American Wigeon Green-Winged Teal Blue-WInged Teal Northern Shoveler Northern Pintail Redhead Canvasback Scaup



% Change From 2010

% Change From Long-Term Avg.

8.132* 45.554* 9.183* 3.257 2.084 2.900 8.948* 4.641 4.429* 1.356 0.692 4.319

6.665 40.895 8.430 2.977 2.425 3.476 6.329 4.057 3.509 1.064 0.585 4.244

+22 +11 +9 +9 -14 -17 +41 +14 +26 +27 +18 +2

+62 +35 +22 +80 -20 +47 +91 +98 +10 +106 +21 -15

*indicates significant increase from 2010

each year. Stretching from southern Alberta across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, south through Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota, the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) serves as the “duck factory” for waterfowl harvested across much of the U.S. That’s why Ducks Unlimited has always held work on the breeding grounds as a top priority.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2011 report on breeding ducks and habitats, total duck populations were estimated at 45.6 million breeding ducks, only the fifth time in the survey’s history that the total duck population exceeded 40 million! This estimate represents an 11 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 40.9 million birds and is 35 percent above the 1955-2010 longterm average. The USFWS utilizes aerial and ground surveys in May and early June to make these estimates. “The USFWS has reported nearly unprecedented waterfowl habitat conditions and breeding duck population levels for 2011—the best in several years for some areas,” said Ducks Unlimited’s Chief Scientist


Looking forward to the 2011 fall flight, wetland conditions across the Canadian and U.S. breeding grounds are largely good to excellent for waterfowl production this year. A good waterfowl breeding effort was observed across much of the PPR in late May.

Waterfowl Management Plan goals, their numbers surpassed 4 million for the first time since 1980 this year. Similarly, scaup and American wigeon populations remain below their long-term averages.

A pintail nest in the prairie pothole region. Northern pintail numbers surpassed 4 million for the first time since 1980 this year, but the population remains below North American Waterfowl Management Plan target levels.

Dale Humburg. “Full wetlands and good upland cover supported a strong breeding effort, particularly in the prairies, this year.” Of the 10 species traditionally reported, eight were similar to or increased in number from 2010. Northern shovelers, blue-winged teal and northern pintails were bright spots on this year’s survey. Northern shovelers and blue-winged teal reached record highs (4.6 and 8.9 million, respectively).Though the northern pintail population remains below North American

Water availability on the breeding grounds is a strong indicator for breeding success, but available grassland nesting cover is equally important. Unfortunately, nesting cover across the PPR continues to decline, particularly on the U.S. side of the border. During the survey, observers noted many large tracts of former Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands that had been converted to cropland since last year or were in the process of being plowed. North Dakota alone has lost 22 percent of its CRP acres since 2007. Experts predict that another 387,000 acres will be lost in 2010-2011, and more than 1 million acres will be lost in 2012-13. The continued loss of critical nesting cover will negatively impact the future of breeding ducks. That’s why Ducks Unlimited supporters across the continent contribute to conservation of important habitats on the breeding grounds. “As a waterfowler, I’m optimistic about the USFWS report. However, unprecedented water conditions are only part of the story. Water without nesting cover does little to improve the future of waterfowl,” Ducks Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 11

Unlimited’s CEO Dale Hall said. “As good as this news is, waterfowl and prairie habitats continue to face significant long-term threats. Grassland habitat is under siege on many fronts and is being lost at alarming rates. Key public policies such as the Farm Bill and North American Wetlands Conservation Act will need to continue to focus on conservation for the good news to carry into the future. That’s our challenge in years to come.”

Commission to improve public land habitats for waterfowl and to increase hunting opportunities for waterfowlers. However, DU’s ability to do so is limited by the availability of funding. Public land improvements for waterfowl are often funded in part by grants from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), a crucial source of waterfowl habitat

leveraged an additional $3 billion from matching and non-matching funds for North America’s wetlands. Since its inception, more than 1,600 NAWCA projects have contributed to the conservation of more than 25 million acres of habitat across North America, including more than 64,700 acres in Arkansas. Unfortunately, NAWCA funding is on the chopping block in Congress.

Waterfowlers are looking forward to the upcoming season.

Despite a very favorable breeding ground report, it’s still quite a while before we can put out the decoys. How broods fare this summer and what impact summer flooding has on migration and wintering area habitats and food resources will have significant bearing on what to expect this fall. “I encourage everyone to celebrate this year’s good news as we recommit to the long-term conservation of waterfowl and waterfowl habitat,” said Humburg. “But remember, as always, fall weather and habitat conditions along migration routes will have a big impact on migration chronology and local hunting success.”

Help Ducks Unlimited Ensure Continued Success Ducks Unlimited continues to work diligently to ensure that waterfowl have sufficient habitat to breed, migrate and survive the winter in prime condition. Since 1937, DU has been putting habitat on the ground where it matters most to waterfowl. To date, DU conservation efforts in Arkansas have restored, enhanced or protected more than 340,000 acres of vital waterfowl habitats across the state. Additionally, more than 26,000 acres of important habitat in the Natural State are permanently protected by private landowners committed to ensuring a future for wildlife through donated conservation easements. In Arkansas, DU works very closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish 12 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

funding. NAWCA funding helps to conserve North America's waterfowl, fish and wildlife resources while producing a variety of environmental and economic benefits. NAWCA requires that every federal dollar provided be matched by at least one dollar from non-federal sources. DU consistently surpasses this goal by matching each federal dollar more than three times with non-federal funds. Because the program is so effective, more than $1 billion in federal grants has

“In a time of tight budgets, it is important to remind Congress that conservation programs not only protect vital habitat and natural resources, but also bring significant income to local and federal treasuries, thanks to the jobs created through hunting and other outdoor activities,” DU CEO Dale Hall said. “Ducks Unlimited is well known for its fiscal responsibility, and we support efforts to reduce our national deficit. We understand there are tough choices to be made, but these financial challenges make

it even more important that costeffective conservation programs like NAWCA are not cut from the FY 2012 budget. NAWCA not only conserves important natural resources, it also provides significant positive economic impacts.”

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NAWCA not only conserves important natural resources, it also provides significant positive economic impacts. Projects funded through NAWCA grants enhance habitat not just for waterfowl, but also for myriad other game and non-game wildlife species. That translates into big bucks in the local economy. People spent more than $2.09 billion dollars on wildlife-related recreation in Arkansas in 2006, according to the most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and WildlifeAssociated Recreation. Hunters and anglers alone spent more than $1.7 billion that year. Clearly, an investment in conservation is also an investment in the economy. Ducks Unlimited and its members will continue efforts to inform Congress on all the benefits that NAWCA provides to our nation’s natural resources, people and economy. Because every NAWCA grant dollar has to be matched with non-federal dollars, partners, corporations and major sponsors become critical allies. In Arkansas, more than 300 major sponsors support DU’s conservation work through generous giving. Join these dedicated conservationists. Support Ducks Unlimited’s wetlands and waterfowl conservation efforts today. Let your congressional representatives know that you support NAWCA funding. For more information, visit

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Wings Over the Prairie Festival circa 1940.


Champions Are Made W

Stuttgart's duck-calling contest brings visitors from across the globe.

by Emily griffin

hile many have competed, few have earned the title of the World’s Champion Duck Caller during the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest as part of the Wings Over the Prairie Festival held each year in Stuttgart since 1936.

The festival is held every Thanksgiving weekend in “the rice and duck capital of the world.” To qualify for the contest, a contestant must win a preliminary 14 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

state or regional duck-calling contest sanctioned by the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce and held in one of 38 states. Each contestant is required to perform a 90-second routine. Each routine must include a hail call, feed call, mating call, and comeback call. A panel of five judges scores each contestant, with the high and low score thrown out. Cumulative scores are totaled after three rounds.

Contestants can compete in several other divisions, including a Women’s World, Junior World, Intermediate World, and Junior Women’s. A scholarship contest, the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest, is open to any high school senior in the United States, with the top four finishers receiving scholarships. The Champion of Champions Duck Calling Contest is held every five years, inviting former world winners

Right: Brad Allen takes the prize at the 2010 World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. to compete against each other to determine the best of the best.

The 2010 World’s Champion title holder, Brad Allen of Judsonia, has competed in the contest 10 times and said the prize package is really something. In addition to the trophy, the prizes include a War Eagle Boat, a ring, watch, grill, shotgun shells, artwork, and various other things associated with hunting. “I also received a $1,000 bonus from RNT for winning with one of their duck calls,” Allen added. Allen said he was introduced to the world of duck hunting at the age of six when his dad took him along on a hunt. “Some of my best childhood memories revolve around spending time with him in a duck blind on the Cache River. The calling aspect of the hunt was always fascinating to me, and I practiced alot trying to learn.  One of my dad's friends, Phillip Nance, worked with me on each hunt and really got me started.  After a couple years of scaring off large flocks of mallards, I began to really catch on to it. At about age 12, I noticed that some of the grown men who hunted with us were content to keep their calls in their coat and let me handle the calling.” Allen started competitive calling in 1998. He has won nine regional titles and won the Arkansas State Championship last year, as well as many non-sanctioned contests over the years. “I was very fortunate to learn from some of the best callers in the world. My mentors include Rick Dunn, Bernie Boyle, Trey Crawford,

Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce

Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce

Seventeen people participated in the first contest in 1936. The winner was Thomas E. Walsh of Greenville, Mississippi, who won the contest by producing the sounds in his throat rather than using a duck call. His prize was a hunting coat valued at $6.60. In 1947, the contest began offering a cash prize of $1,000. Today’s winner, however, receives a prize package valued at $15,000.

Reigning champion, Brad Allen, competes during the 2010 World's Championship Duck Calling Contest.

“Overwhelming is the best word I can find to describe it. The World’s Championship Trophy is the ‘holy grail of waterfowling’ according to many, and to have it handed to you is almost a surreal experience.” and Butch Richenback,” Allen said. “All these guys are past World’s Champions. I owe my success to these guys. Without their help, I could never have won the World’s Contest.” Allen recalled hearing his name called as the World’s Champion during the competition last year. “Overwhelming is the best word I can find to describe it. The World’s Championship Trophy is the ‘holy grail of waterfowling’ according to many, and to have it handed to you is almost a surreal experience.” Allen said what makes it so special is understanding the history of the contest. “If you look at the names on the list of past champions, you’ll see the names of people who are truly

legends among duck hunters. Some of the best hunters and call makers in the world are past World’s Champions. Having my name added to that list is a humbling experience and is truly an honor I can’t really describe.”

RNT was his call of choice. Allen explained that there are a lot of great call makers these days and competitors can choose from many different calls. “I use a call that is made especially for competitive calling. It is an RNT call that was hand cut by Butch Richenback.” Richenback is a legend among call makers, and has been inducted into the Arkansas Outdoors Hall of Fame. “It’s a matter of personal preference, but the call he made for me gives me a great balance between top end hail call notes and bottom end duck sounds. I think finding this balance is what you need to have in your call to be successful on stage.”

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 15

2011 Wings Over the Prairie

Schedule of Events NOVEMBER 19, 2011 (Saturday)

7:00 p.m. • QUEEN MALLARD and JR. QUEEN MALLARD PAGEANTS, Grand Prairie Center | Phillips Community College

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce

Since the first contest was held, the yearly event has grown to become a truly national and international contest. The contest grew in part because of Stuttgart’s location in the heart of the Mississippi Flyway, the traditional migratory route for ducks flying south for the winter from Canada. The ducks are also attracted to the area because the rice grown there provides an excellent food source for their journey.

Festival info, photos, news, history and lots more at: 16 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

2:00 p.m. • Intermediate World's Championship Duck Calling Contest Main Street Stage

3:30 p.m.

NOVEMBER 20, 2011 (Sunday)

7:00 p.m.

• Wings Over the Prairie Festival Open House. Visit the novelty shops in Stuttgart's unique Downtown Shopping District

Allen plans to compete again this year. “I enjoy competing and seeing all the contestants from all over. I consider those guys to be some of the best friends I have, even though I only get to see them a couple times a year.”

• Junior Women's World's Championship Duck Calling Contest, Main Street Stage


1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Darvin Purdy of DeWitt proudly displays his trophy from the 1956 Junior World's Championship Duck Calling Contest.

1:00 p.m.

• Last Chance Regional Duck Calling Contest Main Street Stage • SPORTSMAN'S PARTY Featuring: Big Stack band performing Grand Prairie Center | Phillips Community College MUST BE 21 YEARS OLD NOVEMBER 26, 2011 (Saturday)

NOVEMBER 23, 2011 (Wednesday)

3:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.

8:00 a.m.

• Carnival & Midway • Armband Day, Sponsored by Scott Manufacturing on Main Street

• GREAT 10K DUCK RACE, Sponsored by Baptist Health Race begins at 7th and Main • Registration Opens World's Contest, Women's World, and Junior World's

6:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m.

• YOUTH DUCK CALLING CONTEST featuring Butch Richenback • Stuttgart Stage on Main Street *This contest is only for children that attended the classes conducted by Butch Richenback

NOVEMBER 25, 2011 (Friday)

• Carnival and Midway Sponsored by Scott Manufacturing Closes at 10:00 p.m. • Arts & Crafts Fair Sponsored by CenturyLink Closes at 8:00 p.m. • Commercial Exhibits Sponsored by Riceland Foods Closes at 8:00 p.m. • Sporting Collectibles Show Sponsored by Walmart Closes at 8:00 p.m. • Off-Road Village Sponsored by Heritage Agriculture Closes at 8:00 p.m. • Junior World's Championship Duck Calling Contest Main Street Stage

8:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m.

• Registration Opens for all contests

• Senior World's Championship Duck Calling Contest Main Street Stage

NOVEMBER 24, 2011 (Thursday)

1:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. • Carnival & Midway. Sponsored by Scott Manufacturing

10:00 a.m. • CHILDREN'S DUCK CALLING CLASS, Sponsored by Riceland Foods - Children 4-8, Meet at Stuttgart Stage - Bring your own duck call. • Carnival & Midway Sponsored by Scott Manufacturing • Arts & Crafts Fair Sponsored by CenturyLink Closes at 8:00 p.m. • Commercial Exhibits Sponsored by Riceland Foods Closes at 8:00 p.m. • Sporting Collectibles Show Sponsored by Walmart Closes at 8:00 p.m. • Off Road Village Sponsored by Heritage Agriculture Closes at 8:00 p.m.

11:00 a.m. • WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DUCK GUMBO COOK-OFF Sponsored by Bud Light and Ludwig Distributing Company. Featuring: Tragikly White band performing. Location: Producers Rice Mill parking lot on Park Avenue, MUST BE 21 YEARS OLD • Women's World's Championship Duck Calling Contest, Main Street Stage

2:00 p.m. • 76th annual WORLD'S CHAMPIONSHIP DUCK CALLING CONTEST. Sponsored by Mack's Prairie Wings, Winchester Ammunition, Lennox Industries, Main Street Stage

11:00 a.m. • Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest Open to any high school senior in the United States

NOVEMBER 27, 2011 (Sunday)

10:00 a.m. • SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE, Main Street Stage

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 17

A duck's-eye view of the bustling crowd at the Duck Gumbo event.

Duck GUmbo: I wasn't prepared by kat robinson — photos by grav weldon

18 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011


ings Over The Prairie may be the most overlooked festival in our state by our own folks. There are people I have met and spoken with up in the northwestern sections who had no idea that our state hosts a duck hunting festival every year.  It doesn’t keep the out-of-state crowds from coming, though. They come in mass, in the uniform of choice — camouflage overall onepiecers with big tan boots or camo jackets and jeans.  The girls, almost to unanimity, wear knee high boots, whether it’s with their jeans or their short skirts, every one of them.  Tennis shoes are eschewed in the post-Thanksgiving weather.

I had no idea what I was about to experience. I just knew I was going to cover a competition between teams cooking up their best attempt at gumbo made with duck. What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t just an event or a cook-off.  It’s a significant feature of Stuttgart culture, a Bacchanalia that happens once every year.

duck blind structures complete with viewing decks on top, often with ladies in skimpy clothes or guys in funny hats throwing beads into the crowd. The creativity in these structures was extreme, and the décor fell between Razorback ultra fandom to duck hunter’s delight to taxidermy havok to… well, let’s just say anything went.

Cotton wind was blowing, with little spiderweb-like strings in the air on a crisp November Saturday when I ventured into that giant tent on the parking lot at Producer’s Rice Mill on Highway 165. Identification shown, wristbands applied and my photographer and I merged into the mass of humanity beyond.

Early on it was very relaxed — a couple of hundred people flitting in-between the different stands, chatting with others and nibbling on the provided nibbles. There were a lot of these — lots of cheese and crackers, sausages and such. One booth had quartered pork barbecue sandwiches, another sausage balls and spinach dip, another salami and olive appetizers on skewers, another beef and bean chili. In-between those croissant-wrapped Lil Smokies and cheese balls with Fritos there were competitors hovering over pots, every different sort of color of roux going from deep brown to bright red to pale green.

It was early, and it looked a little crazy but about on-par with other festival happenings I have attended. Each of the competitors has their own booths, and in those booths they must come up with a suitable gumbo in just a few hours consisting of half duck and half whatever else they serve up. But those booths — now, they’re something else and they consist of everything from a couple of tables and a banner to stories-tall

And the scents… the lovely smoky scent of sausage and the wild bite of duck combined with all sorts of things — okra and celery and tomatoes and bell peppers

They come for many reasons. For the bulk, it’s a chance to make the annual pilgrimage to Mack’s Prairie Wings, where customers will literally be shoulder-to-shoulder both inside the gigantic store and out in the tents specially erected for the festival.  They’ll head to Main Street for blocks and blocks inside end-to-end tents checking out duck calls, duck blinds, clothes, beverages, trucks, food and whatnot.  There’s always a festival.  There are a bevy of different dinners and such to enjoy. And then there’s Duck Gumbo.  It’s a secretive little affair... in fact, before going myself

Duck Gumbo festivities have been compared to Mardi Gras by many event goers. Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 19

and onions and spices — slightly different at each stand but still always with that prevalent scent underneath. Duck was getting its due in those pots. A gentleman from one booth came up to me with a tissue, which he quickly and quietly tucked into

“You stick out like a sore thumb, but that’s okay. You look like a box of Crayons. That’s good.” He pulled away the thing against my chest and pulled the tissue out of my shirt. “What do you think?” I looked down and saw he’d applied a tie dye peace sign temporary tattoo.

“redneck Mardi Gras” but having experienced Mardi Gras I figured it was a bit too light for that. Or so I thought. I was about three quarters of the way around my survey round, and I got smacked on the butt. I turned around to see a couple of guys laughing. “Oh, she’s a noob!” one of them laughed. I smiled and moved on, thinking it was a random incident. It was not. Over the next couple of hours I’d get smacked numerous times. It seemed like some sort of fraternity rite. But instead of leaving just stinging cheeks, these rascals were leaving stickers. A lot of stickers. And was this frowned upon? Not at all. In fact, many of the local girls (all in the “uniform” of tight jeans, camoflauge shirt or jacket and knee high boots) were showing off their sticker-bedazzled bottoms. I ran into an old friend, Josh Heffington, who had his cell phone out showing off photos from last year’s debacle. Among the many shots were those of random bottoms plastered from one hip to the other with a smattering of stickers. Apparently it’s a source of pride.

Ducks to be prepared for a batch of duck gumbo. my cleavage. I started to issue a protest but he held up a spray gun of water, shot me at the collarbone with it and pressed something to my chest. “This is your first time here, ain’t it?” he asked me. “Sure is.” 20 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

I grinned. “That’s pretty good.” “I hope I got it right side up. You have a good time.” Well, it was, interesting. The next booth’s purveyor adorned me with beads. I’d been told upon entering that the event was considered

As the afternoon progressed, smoke hung in the air and the crowd packed out. There were even crowds waiting for use of the portable facilities, housed in a connecting tent, a good three dozen of them in constant use. The hired band started playing in-between updates from the Razorback game. There were lines at the liquor stands (the event is 21 and older only). There were groups of older men and groups of teens chewing the fat and having a good time. In many ways it reminded me of a Jimmy Buffett-haze on a beach. The competition in many ways came second — just a chance to have a booth and make some gumbo while enjoying one hell of a party. It was getting too tight to take many photos on the ground. My photographer managed to talk

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It didn’t keep me from sampling other things, though, like the scrumptious duck tamales one contestant had set out. He seemed discouraged that no one was trying them. I did — they were smoky and wonderful and I was glad I’d sampled them. The crowd was thickening and the clock was ticking. We were planning to wait until the judges had made their announcements, but overhead we heard a guy on the loudspeaker saying the judging itself wouldn’t begin until 4 p.m. Well, that cinched it. We had to go do something on the other story. You're in the right place if you're getting slapped with stickers. one of the guys manning a booth near the epicenter of the event into letting him up on the upper platform. He told me later that while it was awesome to be able to shoot down into the crowd, the platform swayed amidst the activity — and for someone afraid of heights it was quite a challenge to conquer. There was just one thing that confused us. Duck Gumbo seemed to be a pretty rockin’ event, sure — but it overlapped the actual World Championship Duck Calling Competition, which we figured was the main reason everyone was coming to Stuttgart for Wings Over The Prairie anyway. I realized that yes, there were going to be rounds for the competitors in the competition, but there was really no way to be in both places at one time. And we were missing out on that story. The allure of Duck Gumbo continued to grow on me. It was coming up on three o’clock, when the cooking was over and the judging would apparently begin. Booth after booth was getting prepared for the big moment. I saw those competition cups go out — I’m familiar with them from the CASI chili competition circuit — and I watched a couple of different booths as they carefully packaged away the 22 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

judge’s sample of gumbo and sent it off. Then the floodgates were open for anyone to have themselves a try. Each participant is required to cook up at least three quarts of gumbo but most of the competitors I saw had made gallons, and they were quite generous with samples. A host of six ounce Styrofoam cups appeared like egrets on Lake Conway, each with its own sample of a different duck gumbo in them. Some included tasso, some andouille, some ham, some pork chops. One included summer sausage and opossum — and the guy at that booth dared me to try

“You stick out like a sore thumb, but that’s okay. You look like a box of Crayons. That’s good.” it. Without the pork in it, I woulda. I was sorta disappointed, just because I couldn’t try it. Every single gumbo — even though all gumbos were supposed to be 50 percent or more duck — every one of them contained some sort of pork. I was out. Dangit.

And here’s the part where I realized we had come to Stuttgart with an entirely different idea for a story than we’d actually started out to get. Because while there were a lot of people in downtown Stuttgart, they were in the vendor tents out in the little carnival at the north end of the stretch of Main Street. There weren’t quite a hundred people standing around watching and listening to the World Championship Duck Calling Competition. We realized why less than half an hour later. Each competitor has 90 seconds to do five calls. They are, for all intents and purposes, the same five calls. And while I’m somewhat used to duck calls, it about drove my photographer out of his head. The idea of sitting through it all was just too much. Besides, we had another assignment to catch that afternoon. So, what am I telling you? Well, if you go to Wings Over The Prairie, you’ll probably want to spend a few minutes watching the duck calling. You’ll certainly want to check out the vendor booths. But if you’re an adult and you like “a good time” as it were, you really should be over in the parking lot at Producers Rice Mill under the big tent. It’s an event like no other I’ve ever seen in Arkansas, and it’s definitely something you won’t forget any time soon.

Mecca The

by kat Robinson

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Mack’s Prairie Wings isn’t just another sporting goods store. It’s a destination for duck hunters across the country. When you go to Wings Over The Prairie, you may hit a traffic jam in the vicinity of the intersection of Highways 165 and 63. People will pull off on the shoulder and leave their cars to walk half a mile or more… because there just isn’t any free parking anywhere near Mack’s Prairie Wings the weekend of Thanksgiving. This sporting goods store has become a destination, the must-go place for duck hunters across Arkansas and across the country to gear up and get gone before hitting the swamps and fields for duck season. Mack’s Prairie Wings is the vision of the McCollum family. Back in the ‘30s, M.T. “Mack” McCollum had a hardware store in Stuttgart. About that time folks started to come to Stuttgart en masse for the bountiful duck hunting they’d heard about. McCollum found he had a lot more business for guns and whathaveyou than he did for his hardware, so in 1944 he opened a duck hunting store called “Mack’s Sports Shop” right next door to the hardware store. Today the whole shebang is more than 104,000 square feet and packed top to bottom with anything a duck hunter might need.

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And I’m not just talking about hunting. To the left is everything you might ever need to gear up for going out to duck hunt — waders, coveralls, headgear, socks and of course duck call after duck call. The fun stuff is on the right hand side of the store — with all manners of designer jeans, coats and knee high boots in evidence. There are several aisles of T-shirts, belts and accessories. And then there’s that one special department — you know, the one with home furnishing such as camouflage couches, the best knives for filleting your duck, salsa and sweet jalapenos in jars and camouflage lingerie. The variety and good humor makes Mack’s Prairie Wings just about the best place you can go to shop for your family and friends who believe duck hunting is more than just a hobby.

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Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 25

Photo by Arkansas department of parks and tourism

New Paddling Routes added to

Arkansas Water Trails By Zoie clift


he aim of Arkansas Water Trails, a program initiated by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC), is to highlight Arkansas as prime paddling territory. The project is at the forefront of creating a system of water trails throughout the state. So what exactly is a water trail? “A lot of times people think it’s a trail along the water,” said Kirsten Bartlow, director of the program and Watchable Wildlife Coordinator for AGFC. “It’s kind of a new concept. Some states call them blue trails, some call them paddle trails. Basically it’s paddling some kind of riverway or bayou. And it’s such a great way to view wildlife. We can be so much quieter in a boat. And really ease up on wildlife. Hiking, you might make a lot of noise on the rocks or crunching through the leaves. Also you can paddle in the heat of summer…it opens up a longer season for folks to get outside.” Trails are added to the program, which was created in 2009, as site assessments are completed and maps developed. According to Bartlow, 26 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

unlike hiking or biking trails that have to be built, water routes are already there and “our job is to get the infrastructure in place.” This includes providing route signs and maps for the trail. Once a route is part of the program, “we need people to be the eyes and ears of the trail,” she said. “We want the communities to be involved—it’s their trail.”

“If we get behind this idea we can build the best water trail system in the nation.” Arkansas has more than 90,000 miles of rivers, streams, and bayous. “I have led groups of paddlers on trips through some of the most amazing waters in the nation right here in Arkansas,” said Debbie Doss, Conservation Chair of the Arkansas Canoe Club. According to Doss, marked trails will make some of these areas accessible to

people seeking quiet places to enjoy the forest and view or photograph wildlife without the risk of getting lost. “Large tracts of flooded forest can be a challenge for even the best backwoods tracker,” Doss said. According to Doss, the Roanoke River Trail in North Carolina is one of the most successful water trail systems in the nation. “I spent four days camping along the Roanoke and all I could think was, the Big Woods of Arkansas has no rival,” said Doss. “If we get behind this idea we can build the best water trail system in the nation.” There are currently two official Arkansas Water Trail routes open: the Wattensaw Bayou near Des Arc and the Arkansas Post Water Trail. Bartlow said they are close to adding three other trails. Two (which have tentative opening dates of fall of this year) will be on the Dagmar Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Brinkley at Robe Bayou and Bayou De View. “Dagmar has cypress trees that are more than 850

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years old,” said Bartlow. “And Bayou De View is where the woodpecker was spotted. Whether you believe in the Ivory-billed Woodpecker or not, it is that classic bottomwood hardwood forest that supports really neat wildlife. Both trails are flatwater paddles in cypress and tupelo and bottomwood hardwoods.” So how do they choose which trail to add? “We definitely are trying to pick places that are good wildlife viewing opportunities,” said Bartlow. “Places that have fishing and unique habitat. We want to introduce new paddlers to the sport. That’s not to say advanced paddlers aren’t going to enjoy this. For instance, at Bayou De View beginners can just do the part that we sign and those that are more advanced and have good GPS skills can continue on.” Bartlow added that at this point they aren’t planning on developing any whitewater streams since white water is a seasonal sport and they are trying to focus more on the wildlife viewing aspect. One of the overall goals of the project, she said, is to help smaller communities. “The whole goal of the Watchable Wildlife program, which encompasses these water trails, is getting people out to our rural communities,” she said. “We really hope to see some sustainable economic development happen in conjunction with these projects.”

There are many places to canoe in Arkansas and thanks to the Arkansas Water Trails program, new routes are being added.

28 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Photo by Arkansas department of parks and tourism

Another trail in the works is located on 24 miles of Crooked Creek. “I’m excited about Crooked Creek. People love to paddle those Ozark streams,” said Bartlow. “For the most part I just see anglers out there. So I think it’s going to be a new opportunity for paddlers that they might not be aware of.” Other planned routes include Grassy Lake on Bell Slough WMA in Mayflower, St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA and Cutoff Creek WMA. “I don’t think that many people realize the treasures we have in eastern and southern Arkansas or why trails are needed,” said Doss. “Because of the well known struggle to save the Buffalo River, many people realize

the importance of Ozark Mountain streams. However, few know the White River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and its surrounding Wildlife Management Areas are listed by the Ramsar treaty as a wetland of international importance for the preservation of the largest mature intact bottomland hardwood forest in the U.S. It is completely unique in the world. Going into these areas is like stepping back in time to a period before the arrival of Europeans. Until recently it has only been accessed by hunters and fishermen.” Doss said the best way of getting into these areas to view or photograph wildlife is by paddling a canoe or kayak. “Within the Cache River NWR, Bayou De View, the White River NWR, the Felsenthal NWR, the lower Arkansas River and many other wildlife management areas are hundreds of miles of potential water trails,” she said. “For many of those who have been there it is easy to envision a network of water trails stretching across eastern and southern Arkansas with local events promoting the trails, bringing much needed business to delta communities. Bartlow added that the project naturally promotes exercise, getting people more involved in conservation and helping the state’s rural economies. “I think it’s a pretty neat program that benefits different aspects of our lives,” said Bartlow. “Paddling is one of the fastest growing sports and there are more people getting into canoeing and kayaking. And we want them to get out and enjoy Arkansas.” If you'd like to become a partner with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and create a water trail in your community, visit the Arkansas Water Trails homepage for more information at: Pages/EducationProgramsAWT. aspx or e-mail Kirsten Bartlow at Zoie Clift is a travel writer for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

Good water does not happen by accident! Central Arkansas Water and the Watershed Management Staff want you to get out and enjoy one of Central Arkansas’s most treasured resources this summer… Lake Maumelle! Go sailing, take your kayak for a spin or do a little fishing. Bring a backpack and take a day hike through the Ouachita National Recreation Trail or stretch your legs for a short jaunt on the Farkleberry Trail. Pack a picnic, take in the view and enjoy the wildlife but remember to enjoy the outdoors responsibly, this is our drinking water.

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Starting Point

Gibbs Grocery and Hunters Outpost south of Sheridan has been the place where hunters prepare for modern gun season in the area for 36 years.


sed to be folks from all around central and south central Arkansas would migrate to one particular area the morning of the start of deer season. They’d come by truck, some with four wheelers, all with their hunter orange and their guns and line up dutifully at checking stations like Gibbs Grocery and Hunters Outpost for the annual right of passage — registering their first kill of the season.

by kat robinson photos by grav weldon

need for the grand display of deer huntery that had happened before — no trophy shots, no big brags, no photographs, just maybe an email here and there later on down the line from a victorious trip to leased lands along the river bottoms. Yet still Gibbs Grocery remains and even thrives, with a fresh coat of bright green paint and the ever-buoyant attitudes of its staff.  It’s a place for family.

That particular Friday usually starts off around five in the morning. There’ll likely be a few guys already parked out front, waiting for the store to open to get their cup of coffee and their license for the year.  Some will sit at one of the little yellow booths in the middle of the store and start swapping hunting lies and big buck stories.  

••• The Gibbs bought themselves the place along Highway 167 South some 36 years ago, when their son Alan was getting ready to go into the second grade (and when I was about, oh, two years old). They offered a place to get some gas and a quick bite for down the road.  

Visitors will find thousands of photos taken of folks with their kills and a number of taxidermied animals. It’s a little different these days. This, like the past couple of years, will be a lot quieter for the Gibbs and their kin at the little store south of Sheridan.  Sure, there will be all sorts of folks coming through at ohdark-thirty in the morning to pick up a little breakfast and maybe some pimento cheese for later in the day, but since Arkansas Game and Fish put the registration of taken deer in the hands of the hunter with online and phone registration, there’s no 30 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

But the place grew. Buddy and Barbara got the place up and going and added in the feed and seed, the various camouflage apparel, the scopes and guns and whatnot.  Taxidermied examples of what could be found in the woods out that way were brought in, mounted and displayed on any available surface.  Buddy’s son Alan grew up and started his own business, Gibbs Archery Manufacturing, which took off on its own and whose Easy Sling has become one of the top selling bow slings in the world.   Over the years, Gibbs has seen its biggest boom over two days in November — the day before modern gun season and the day it starts.  It never fails — the Friday before the start of the hunt folks come in from everywhere to provision up, grab a bite to eat and get their license for the year.  

They sit in an environment wallpapered with hunts of the past. When this place was still a checkpoint for Game & Fish, Polaroids were taken of just about every trophy deer, turkey, boar or duck.  The Polaroids are beginning to fade, though. We dropped in at Gibbs Grocery for a bite and noticed one thing right off the bat — since last year, the Gibbs have painted the exterior bright green.  Inside it’s not much different, though amidst the stuffed deer heads, foxes and the eponymous deer butt on the wall there was spotted the head of a small T-Rex.  We hope that’s a joke. “Y’all aren’t from around here?” Miss Barbara asked.  When he replied in the nugatory, she started on about all the hunters that would stock up here.  “We get people that come back every year, only right the day before.  It’s like family.  They always come back.” I noticed that in amidst all those Polaroids there were now emails taped to surfaces like the walls and the deli counter.  “The internet makes it different, I bet.”

Gibbs Grocery and Hunter's Outpost is a traditional stop for many hunters on opening day.

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“They don’t bring them deer here any more, no, they go do that on the computer or the phone now,” she told me. “There’d be people lined up all along the road back a ways, waiting their turn in. It was like homecoming.” “Do they still do that?”

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“Not as much, but they still come. Day before the season we’ll have our busiest day of the year.” We shopped around a little while we were there and found all sorts of stuff beyond the convenience and grocery store up front.  There were all sorts of displays of things like Remington knives, duck calls, gun scopes and various guns.  There were also motorcycle leathers, bags and feathered leather vests.  You honestly could fuel up, dress up and dress out for a real adventure here.

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When we were headed out the door, Miss Barbara hollered after us. “Y’all comin’ back for hunting season?” “I think we just might,” I hollered back.  And you know, I think I will.  I want to see what it’s like right before the big day.  I want to hear some of the tales that will be shared over hot coffee and sausage biscuits and pimento cheese, and see if whomever got that deer butt stuffed and mounted will be back to explain that particular sense of humor. I know the place will be packed, no matter what year I return.

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opening day withpop T by baker kurrus

he first colors of daybreak were rising over the willows as I stood in the duck blind with my son on the opening day of duck season in 2003. In the few moments after decoys were spread, but before shooting started, he and our friends were quietly watching and listening as hundreds of ducks swirled around the reservoir where we were hunting. The ducks were still just dark silhouettes. They circled as they quacked and whistled. As I stood there with my son and three generations of other dads and sons, my mind went back to the forty or so opening days I had shared with my father.

Earlier in the year, in June, I had gone to the wonderful facility that was 32 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

caring for my dad after it had become impossible for him to stay at home. Alzheimer’s disease and a stroke had taken most of his memories, and he no longer called me by name. That morning, when I walked into his room, his eyes brightened, and just for an instant I think he recognized me. He extended his hand and said, “You are my good friend.”

He and I attended a small Sunday church service that day. He wept when the hymns were sung. That was the only time I ever saw him cry. After the service, I was pushing him in his wheelchair in a little courtyard outside the main building. As I pushed him, some sparrows skittered away in front of us. Pop raised his hands, as if he were holding his old hump-backed Browning. He clenched his hands, like he was firing

the imaginary gun at the birds. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he was duck hunting. I told him that I remembered the first duck I ever shot- a green-winged teal. I described that duck hunt from the mid-1960’s, as best as I could recall it. I told him that I will always remember the small flock of birds whipping around our decoy spread. I remembered Pop saying, “Pick ONE out and take him.” I pulled the hammer back on the single-shot H & R .410, and fired. To our mutual surprise, a bird hit the water. As I was recounting the story of that duck hunt to Pop, he turned around in the wheelchair, looked at me and muttered, “I tripled.” He was exactly right. We had not focused then on his shooting feat because we were both excited that I had just killed my first duck.

We all cheered my son’s beautiful shot. As the dog went about his work, my buddy leaned over to me and quietly said, “Bake, you tripled.” I sort of lost my breath for a second. All I could do was shake his hand, hug my son, and silently thank my father. giant Canada goose flew overhead, going due north. My father died that afternoon, on June 8, 2003.

We had spoken of his triple only in passing once or twice over the ensuing years. I was amazed that Pop remembered that detail, when he really couldn’t recall much else at all. My dad and I hunted ducks together for almost forty years, until his arthritis (“old Arthur”) kept him from going. Pop taught me how to shoot and how to call. He and I usually went by ourselves on opening day. No matter what else got in the way of our relationship, and we had our moments during my teenage years, we shared opening day of duck season. He always bought my duck stamps, and got me a membership in DU. Duck hunting kept us close and connected.

Five months later, I stood with my son as shooting time approached. I felt lucky and blessed in every way, but I did miss my own father. With the exception of my late mother and my stepmother, nothing in the outdoors was as beautiful to Pop as the sun coming up on the Grand Prairie, with ducks on the wing, geese honking overhead, and the colors of sunrise appearing in the east. My son was just as mesmerized and excited that morning as I had been those many years ago. All of us were excited as ducks began to settle into our decoy spread. I left my unloaded Browning in the corner of the blind as I watched the younger boys open the season. I marveled at their shooting skills and sportsmanship. I enjoyed listening to my son blowing his duck call. Even though my son was just learning to call, the oldest man in our group encouraged my

son to keep up his calling. “That’s how you get better.” he said. After a bit, my buddies encouraged me to load up and start shooting. I was actually enjoying what I had been doing, which was drinking coffee, working the dog, and kidding anyone who missed a shot. Nevertheless, I loaded up and stood next to my son. A flock of a dozen or so green-winged teal whipped in, darting up and down, and banking around in echelon as they found a landing path. I whispered to my son, “Pick ONE out, and take him.” As a bird banked rapidly in front of the blind, he swung on the teal and fired. The bird fell to the water. I then shot three times. No one else raised a gun. We all cheered my son’s beautiful shot. As the dog went about his work, my buddy leaned over to me and quietly said, “Bake, you tripled.” I sort of lost my breath for a second. All I could do was shake his hand, hug my son, and silently thank my father.

Baker Kurrus and his son Andrew just after Andrew's first kill.

After our Sunday visit that day, as I was walking to my car, a lone Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 33

34 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 35

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hunting UPDATES

Crow hunting can be a fun tuneup for shotgunners By Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Crows – they are everywhere in Arkansas, they are extremely plentiful, and they offer hunting opportunities on both public and private land. Another factor with crow hunting is the birds are a challenge, every bit as demanding of hunter skills as ducks, doves and other birds. Most farmers regard crows as pests, so this can be a tip for finding a place to hunt them. Ask a farmer or other landowner for permission. You don’t even need to offer a share of what you take. Very few people will welcome a gift of a mess of crows. Crow hunting dates are set by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission but under federal parameters since the birds are classed as migratory. Crow season opened Sept. 3 and will run through Feb. 24, but hunting is five days a week. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are closed. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. There is no limit on crows. Arkansas crow hunters fall into two gen-

eral categories. One is people wanting to hone their skills in the off season. The other is people who find it an enjoyable and different game from other types of hunting. Any type shotgun works for crows, and they don’t have to be plugged to a 3-round maximum. Some crow hunters go for medium chokes since shooting can be anywhere from very close to way out there. No. 7 ½ shot is a popular choice, and No. 8 works well also. 38 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Calls, electronic or hand-blown, are used and you’ll find a few Arkansans who can simply imitate a crow with mouth only. Decoys are suggested – two to a halfdozen crow decoys and perhaps an imitation great horned owl, a traditional enemy of crows. Put the decoy owl on a fence post or a branch of a tree with decoy crows nearby, and you may not have to call if crows are in the vicinity. Finding a crow roost is a major plus. The birds are habitual, using the same paths to and from the roost. Set up near this route, put out the decoys and hide well then wait. In the crows’ favor, though, are their extreme wariness and excellent eyesight. Some hunters regard crows as highly intelligent. Fool them once, and they’re gone for the day is a common belief. Some hunters shoot into a group of crows, see the survivors leave then they stay put and wait for a new group to show up. Other hunters will change locations after a flurry of shooting at one bunch. Full camouflage is vital for crow hunters. Some believe crow hunting requires as serious attention to camouflage as turkey hunting does. For more information, visit

What’s the statewide deer limit this season? Six It’s a question that is asked over and over by Arkansas deer hunters: "What is the statewide seasonal deer limit this year." Six is the correct answer – but with an asterisk. It is not really a trick question. But it’s something that should make every deer hunter read the rules carefully and closely and not depend on what somebody says down at the corner store or coffee shop. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission rules for the 2011-2012 hunting season include a maximum of six deer that can be taken by a hunter, as long as he or she does not go over the limit for any zone. The limit on legal bucks is two. Each of these deer has to be checked within 24 hours after you get it. This seasonal bag limit of six is liberal, and it’s an indicator of the total deer we have in Arkansas. Deer are thriving but not equally and in all places. By the liberal season limit, the idea is to try to hold down the excess. Realistically, however, very few people will kill six deer. Again, the suggestion is to get a copy of that AGFC Hunting Guidebook and read the rules for yourself. For more information, visit

There's an app for that! Arkansas hunters can check game, share trophy photos, check lake conditions, use the sunrise/sunset timer, and more. Technology and the internet has changed the nature of the hunt over the past decade. Instead of the check points around the state a decade ago, today checking a kill is just a click or phone call away. Steve “Wildman” Wilson of Arkansas Game and Fish says it’s been a logical progression.  “We started out changing the system by allowing certain deer camps to check their own deer, before we all had computers.  Now they can call in to Telecheck (the AGFC hotline phone number, 866-305-0808), they can go online or even now, there’s an app for that.” Has the change Scan to view affected the number of in App Store deer taken each year?  “It’s actually gone up.  We think the new system is easy, it’s what customers want.  Most people comply now, we make it so easy.  It’s also helping us gather statistics easier, year to year. “It makes it easier for us to set special seasons, too.  Used to be, with all those READING THIS checkpoints out there, our guys would visit every one of them and get done with everything about the time it was time to TO READ HOW TO hunt again.  Now we can make a CHECK YOUR better determination on when to schedule hunts.   “We have a special hunt this year in several zones, a the AGFC app! doe-only hunt before the regular (OPENS PDF) season.  We’ve determined from the numbers that there’s too high a doe ratio down in those areas.” You can learn more about how to check your game by visiting the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website at  There you’ll find the link for online checking and a link to the AGFC game checking app.




- Kat Robinson

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Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 39

GEAR YEAR of the

There’s not a lot you need to spend time outdoors, but there’s certainly a lot to want! On these pages you find some of the best outdoor gear available locally.

Add a little more fun to deer camp this year by filling the cabin with games and accessories from Jones Brothers Pool Tables. Find pool tables, darts, poker, shuffle board, foosball and air hockey tables and more! Jones Brothers Pool Tables, Jones Brothers Pool Tables, 309 Broadway St., North Little Rock 800-372-0169

This Bad Boy is quite a ride! More power and torque with a longer battery life, this electric MTV is available as a two or four person ride. Bad Boy Mowers, 102 Industrial Dr., Batesville 866-622-3269

40 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

This single axle utility trailer offers a 4” channel frame for added strength, EZ lube axles, bulldog coupler, radial tires, treated pine floor, removable siderails, and a bulldog flip jack. Find this and many other trailers at Trailer Country, 3903 Hwy., 367 S., Cabot 501-982-9022

Keep warm and show your support! This “Chewed Up Hoodie” is available through Ducks Unlimited and the proceeds from every sale benefit the non-profit organization which conserves wetlands and waterfowl across the nation. Find this and many other Ducks Unlimited items at

An all-around contender in the mid-sized category, the 2011 Kawasaki Prairie® 360 4x4 ATV helps you handle business and fun. Its dependability and state-of-the-art technology combine to deliver the power and stability users seek in a practical off-road machine. Kawasaki Sports Center, 5922 S. University Ave., Little Rock; 501-562-9448

Don’t forget your widow—your deer widow, that is! Give her the gift of elegance with a special piece of jewelry from Kyle-Rochelle Jewelers. Choose from their wide selection of jewelry available or let them customize something special for your occasion. Kyle-Rochelle Jewelers, 523 S. Louisiana St., Little Rock 501-375-3335

Get all of your gear packed in your truck neatly and out of sight with the GearBox Interior Storage by Husky Liners. The durable containers are molded to fit in almost any extended or crew cab trucks and feature removable dividers. Goodsell Truck Accessories, 401 Municipal Dr, Jacksonville 501-982-2245

Perfect for duck hunters, this G3 1756 SC camo boat with a Yamaha 70 hp Four Stroke offers plenty of storage for all your gear and even boasts an extended front deck. Arkansas Marine, 4718 N. Shobe Rd., Alexander 501-847-1275

The Woody Armor Hunting Boot by Muck Boot Company offers all the standard features customers have come to love, plus scent free camo rubber, molded outsole for maximum protection and stability, and added toe protection. Gladco, 500 Lora Dr., Bryant 501-847-7201

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 41

Open Season Now that hunting season is

officially open, we asked readers and Facebook fans to send us pictures from their recent hunting trips. On these pages are just a few of the photographs submitted. You can view all of the photos on our Facebook page at arkansaswild

42 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011


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It’s Beef For The Holidays! For great recipes and serving suggestions, visit or call 501.228.1222.

44 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Beef Kabobs with Parmesan Orzo

Ribeye Steaks with Fresh Tomato Tapenade

1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick 2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 tablespoon prepared Italian dressing 2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 beef ribeye steaks, cut 1-inch thick (about 12 ounces each) 2 teaspoons course ground black pepper 1 teaspoon salt

ToTal Recipe Time: 30 minuTes makes 4 seRvings

paRmesan oRzo: 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta, cooked 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons olive oil 1. Soak eight 8-inch bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes. 2. Cut beef steak into 1-1/4-inch pieces. Toss beef and bell peppers with 1 tablespoon basil, dressing and garlic in large bowl. Alternately thread beef and peppers onto skewers. 3. Toss orzo ingredients in medium bowl; keep warm. 4. Place kabobs on grid over medium, ashcovered coals. Grill, covered, about 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 11 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. Serve with orzo.

ToTal Recipe Time: 21 - 24 minuTes makes 2 To 4 seRvings

FResh TomaTo Tapenade: 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese 1. Press pepper evenly onto beef steaks. 2. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 10 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 14 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. 3. Meanwhile combine Fresh Tomato Tapenade ingredients in small bowl. 4. Season steaks with salt, as desired. Top each steak evenly with Fresh Tomato Tapenade. Cook’s Tip: To broil, place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 3 to 4 inches from heat. Broil 14 to 18 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning once.

Classic Tenderloin with Cranberry Drizzle

ToTal Recipe Time: 1-1/2 To 1-3/4 houRs makes 8 To 12 seRvings

1 center-cut beef tenderloin roast (about 2 to 3 pounds) 2 pounds cipollini onions, peeled 2 pounds small Brussels sprouts, trimmed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 1 tablespoon pepper sauce: 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots 1 can (16 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce 1. Heat oven to 425°F. Combine onions, Brussels sprouts, oil and 1 teaspoon salt on metal baking pan; toss to coat. Set aside. 2. Combine thyme and pepper; reserve 1 teaspoon thyme mixture for sauce. Press remaining thyme mixture evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast. 3. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef. Do not add water or cover. Place vegetables in oven with roast. Roast beef in 425°F oven 35 to 40 minutes for medium rare; 45 to 50 minutes for medium doneness. Roast vegetables 45 to 50 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. 4. Meanwhile, prepare sauce. Combine vinegar and shallots in small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 3 minutes. Stir in cranberry sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 6 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in reserved 1 teaspoon thyme mixture and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Keep warm. 5. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare; 150°F for medium. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare; 160°F for medium.) 6. Carve roast into slices; season with salt, as desired. Serve with vegetables and sauce.

Braised Beef with TomatoGarlic White Beans

Savory Beef Stew with Roasted Vegetables

4 beef chuck mock tender steaks, cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick (about 6 ounces each) 1 teaspoon olive oil 1-1/2 cups chopped onions 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, rinsed, drained 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach Grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

1-3/4 to 2 pounds beef for stew, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 3/4 teaspoon pepper 1 can (13-3/4 to 14-1/2 ounces) ready-toserve beef broth 2 teaspoons dried thyme 1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 3 cups cooked couscous

ToTal Recipe Time: 2 To 2-1/4 houRs makes 4 seRvings

1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place beef steaks in skillet; brown evenly. Pour off drippings. Add onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Remove steaks; keep warm. 2. Stir beans into cooking liquid; bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook 7 to 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. 3. Stir in spinach; remove from heat. Let stand 1 minute. Serve steaks with bean mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Cook’s Tip: Most supermarkets carry a variety of canned white beans, such as Great Northern, navy and cannellini. Any may be used in this recipe.

ToTal Recipe Time: 2-3/4 houRs makes 6 seRvings

RoasTed vegeTables: 12 medium mushrooms 6 plum tomatoes, quartered, seeded 3 small onions, quartered 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown beef with garlic in batches; pour off drippings. Return beef to pan; season with pepper. 2. Stir in broth and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-3/4 to 2 hours or until beef is fork-tender. 3. Meanwhile heat oven to 425°F. Place vegetables in lightly oiled jelly roll pan. Drizzle with 1-1/2 tablespoons oil and vinegar; toss. Roast in 425°F oven 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. 4. Stir cornstarch mixture into stew; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in vegetables and 2 teaspoons vinegar. Serve with couscous.

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 45

Put a Little Color in

Your Adventure By Joe Jacobs


utumn in Arkansas is always a special time. The cool, crisp temperatures, the shorter days and the colors make it a perfect time to be outside in the Natural State. But let’s not forget another thing we are known for, ADVENTURE! This year, don’t resign yourself to experiencing the beauty of an Arkansas fall from behind a windshield. Get out in it. Be a part of it. Get all of your senses involved. Take in the cool air, smell a morning campfire, feel the texture of the fallen leaves. Arkansas State Parks can help you get the most out of this fall season. Here is a list of Arkansas State Parks and adventurous activities you can enjoy while taking in all that wonderful color.

Devil’s Den State Yellow Rock Park

Overlook (hiking)

One of the best ways to see fall color is from an overlook, deep in the woods and Arkansas has more than its fair share of stunning views. A favorite of many is the Yellow Rock overlook at Devil’s Den State Park in northwest Arkansas. Looking into the Lee Creek Valley, hikers will enjoy bronze, reds, oranges and purples. Look for dogwoods and maples across the valley and sycamore and sweet gums down along the creek. Of course, the oaks and hickories can be seen throughout the valley. The Yellow Rock Trail can be accessed from either of two trailheads. One is at the CCC overlook (another great view of the park) on Highway 170. It meanders up and down rolling hills to the Yellow Rock outcrop. The other starts below, near camping area A, and works its way up through unique rock formations and under overhangs to the overlook. Other activities you can enjoy in the park include mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, fishing and backpacking. The park also has well appointed, historic cabins but make your reservations 46 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

early. www.arkansasstateparks. com/devilsden or 479-761-3325

Mount Magazine State Cameron’s Park

Bluff (bike ride)

A ride down some nicely paved, wide road with bike lanes in the fall isn’t just for those who live inNew England. Over six miles of road on the top of Mount Magazine between the Park Visitor Center and the Lodge is waiting for you this fall. The color on top of the mountain happens earlier than in the surrounding valleys. First, the black gum trees usually turn bright red, followed by the pastel reds of the dogwoods and brighter reds of the red maples. Sugar maples and hickories will contrast the dark reds of the oaks with some beautiful yellows. Easy rolling hills take you out to Cameron Bluff were you can take in the incredible views from several overlooks. Stopping at the Skycrest Restaurant in the lodge is a must with its sweeping views of the Ouachita Mountains to the south. The park visitor center is a wonderful place to learn about the flora and fauna of the mountain. Bikes can be rented at the lodge. Other activities you can enjoy in

The trees on Mount Magazine draw cyclists and h the park include hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, camping, four wheeling and rock climbing. Experience the luxury of spending a night in the lodge or cabins. www.mountmagazinestatepark. com or 479-963-8502

Village Creek State Horseback Park

Trails (horseback)

Bring your own horse and camp in the equestrian camp area. The park has beautiful and well appointed campsites. Thirty plus miles of

you can enjoy in the park include hiking, mountain biking, fishing and camping. Beautiful cabins are nestled in these colorful woodlands. villagecreek or 870-238-9406

of fruit along the branches. Yaupon Holly contributes with their small bright red berries. All of this will be mixed with the greens of Eastern Red Cedar and Shortleaf pine. “ Other activities you can enjoy in the park include day hiking, whitewater kayaking, fishing and camping cossatotriver or 870-385-2201

Cane Creek State Cane Creek Lake Park

Trail (mountain biking)

Mississippi River State Park

Cossatot River Natural State Park

Photos by Arkansas department of parks and tourism

Area – River Corridor (long hiking)

hikers across the state with their distinct sparkle. trail through the hardwood forest of Crowley’s Ridge can be enjoyed during a ride or hike. Soft trails are great for the horses and the colors are spectacular. Many of the trails are also open to hikers and mountain bikers. Sugar maples and sassafras will present yellow, burnt orange or red leaves throughout the fall season. The American beech turns a golden bronze and the leaves of the yellow poplar trees turn golden yellow, all set off by the bright red of the red oak leaves. There is nothing like a cool fall day and slow quiet ride through the woods. Other activities

When you think you really need to immerse yourself in a colorful outdoor experience nothing beats a good backpacking trip. The newly redesigned, 14-mile River Corridor trail along the Cossatot River offers some of the most intimate views of the Ouachita Mountains. Camping is allowed at the Sandbar area and the Cossatot Falls Area. I asked the park superintendent what a hiker can expect on the trail in the fall. “The river itself will be dressed in bright yellow as the Vernal witch hazel turns in late October. Rough leaf dogwood will have a red color with drupes of white fruit. Chalk maple along the slopes and the river’s edge will be a beautiful burnt orange. Sumac and poison ivy will add some brilliant reds as will Black Gum. Sweet Gum will have both a bright yellow will a mixture of red tint. Sycamore tends to produce an orange yellow mixture. Hickories are yellowish brown. The oaks such as White Oak and Red Oaks will have a burnt brownish red. Deciduous Holly and Beauty Berry contribute more with the bright colored fruit, the holly with bright red berries and the Beauty Berry with lavender clumps

Over 15 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails surrounding Cane Creek Lake are calling cyclists. The Cane Creek Lake Trail includes rolling hills and numerous bridges, three of which are large suspension bridges, with views of the lake and woodlands. Just south of Pine Bluff in Star City, Arkansas, Cane Creek State Park is a wonderful retreat and surprise for cyclists from all over the state. Beautiful fall colors from the sweet gums, white oaks, red maples and hickories are contrasted against the year-round green of the pines. The park also has a Rental RV and campsites if you’d like to stay a night or two. Other activities you can enjoy in the park include hiking, backpacking, recreational kayaking/canoeing camping and fishing. www.arkansasstateparks. com/canecreek or 870-628-4714

Pinnacle Mountain Little State Park

Maumelle River (kayaking/canoeing)

Kayaking or canoeing past huge cypress trees, paddlers can take in reds, yellows, oranges, and purples of the black gum, hickory, sassafras, sweet gum, red maple, dogwood, sumac and buckeye. Pinnacle Mountain State Park has two excellent places to launch your boat in for a nice easy float. The Little Maumelle River (which flows past the Day Use Area and Kingfisher trail,) and the Big Maumelle River can be accessed near the visitor center. This is also a great way to Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 47

do some fishing (fishing license required), bird watching or leaf collecting. Contact the park for more information about kayak rentals. Also ask them about their fall hay rides. Other activities you can enjoy in the park include hiking, mountain biking and fishing. pinnaclemountain or 501-868-5806

Prairie Grove Battlefield State Walking Tour Park

(Historic tour)

Walking among the historic structures on the hallowed ground of Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park should be experienced by all Arkansans, particularly in the fall. October is apple harvest time and visitors have the opportunity to walk through maple, osage-orange, red mulberry and ailanthus trees that line the pathway to the apple orchard. www.arkansasstateparks. com/prairiegrovebattlefield or 479-846-2990

Mississippi River State Park

Campsites (camping on the water view) One of the newest campsites in the Arkansas State Park system is at Mississippi River State Park just south of Marianna in the St. Francis National Forest. There are several trees that turn beautiful shades of red and purple such as black gum, red maple, sumac, poison ivy, and sweet gum. The yellow hued trees include hickories, sugar maples and persimmon, which will eventually turn orange. The sassafras and sycamore also tend toward orange. The Beech Point Campground is fully renovated with some of our nicest campsites and can handle everything from large RV’s to tents. Sticking out into the lake, every campsite is near water. Imagine being surrounded by all that color, the smell of the campfire on the cool morning air. That’s serious relaxing. Other activities you can enjoy in the park include fishing and hiking. 48 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Top: The battlegrounds at Prairie grove offer a historic autumn landscape. Bottom: Fishing at the Bull Shoals White River Fall is a stunning treat for the whole family. mississippiriver or 870-295-4040

Bull Shoals White River State Park – The White River (fishing) Start practicing your fly fishing technique now so you’ll be ready to wade out into the cold water of the White River just below the Bull Shoals Dam, one of the premier trout fisheries in the country. Few activities are more relaxing than working that cast into the perfect spot. Totally surrounded by the colors of fall amplified by the reflection on the water you soon forget time and commitments. What better place to go in search of the rainbow and brown. Enjoy the orange and yellows of the sycamore and cottonwoods,

the reds of the black gum, dogwoods, persimmons and sassafras. Oak, hickory and maple trees round out the colorful experience. Kayaks and bikes are available for rent at the park. Other activities you can enjoy in the park include hiking, mountain biking, camping and recreational kayaking/canoeing. bullshoalswhiteriver or 870-445-3629 More information on these and other adventures in Arkansas State Parks can be found at www. Joe Jacobs is the Manager of Marketing and Revenue for the Arkansas State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

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Photos by Arkansas department of parks and tourism

Putting trash in its place keeps our water clean and helps fish and wildlife stay healthy. Keep Arkansas clean. Make it SHINE.  Facebook  YouTube  888-742-8701

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2/3/11 4:32 PM

PUT U S U T P LE Your Lights So You Can Enjoy The Outdoors

LIGHTS BY SPARKY 501.317.5736 |

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 49

Pansies are many fall gardeners' favorite source of vibrant color.

Fall Gardening By Paige Hunter Parham


all is a great time to garden - the weather has cooled considerably, yet there are still plenty of sunny days to enjoy. Many plants and succulents thrive in the cooler months, and some spring plants need to be put in the ground now before winter falls. The average date of the first fall freeze in Central Arkansas is November 15. If you start now, you should have plenty of time to get your garden and flowerbeds in order before the first frost is on the ground. In September, it is best to remove your summer color, fertilize, and work the soil. Working the soil means using a small rake or hoe to break apart the soil, aerating it and allowing it to expand. This is also the time when you will want to add organic material, like compost or manure, as well as fertilize your garden. After you’ve worked your soil, you should water the entire area thoroughly and prepare for planting your fall color. Pansies, violas, asters, begonias and snapdragons are all gorgeous flowering plants that will give your fall garden a wide spectrum of color and contrast nicely with the autumnal backdrop of oranges, reds and golds 50 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

of the changing trees. Many garden centers are offering deep discounts on perennials as the warmer months draw to a close, making this the perfect time to get great deals on some of your favorites. If you’ve got any potted plants that have been enjoying the summer outdoors, it’s time to move them inside before the first freeze. Before you bring them in, check carefully for insects and spray if necessary. Many times, infestations can be handled with a quick spray-down of water and pesticides won’t be necessary. Spring bulbs should be planted before winter begins, so now is the time to get your tulips, daffodils and irises in the ground. When choosing bulbs, look for large, firm, unblemished bulbs in a variety of colors. Water them after planting, and plant a variety of sizes for an eye-catching display when spring arrives. Fertilization is not necessary at the time of planting, but you do need to make sure that drainage to the site is effective. Kale, carrots, broccoli, collards, turnips, radishes, and lettuce are among the garden vegetables that should be planted in the autumn. As

the months get colder, winter peas, leeks, garlic, spinach, cover crops, and peas are ready to go in the ground, as well. November and December are the best months to lime your garden soil and to order new seed catalogs. Yards should also be given special attention in the fall and winter months, as well. It’s a good idea to apply winterizer before the first frost, to spray for hard-to-kill weeds, and to go ahead and plant trees and shrubs. If you were planning on transplanting any plants from pots to soil, now is the time to do it! After the leaves fall, they should be removed from the lawn so as not to cause a thinning of the grass. It’s also important to thoroughly water your plants before extended freezing spells, and don’t forget to winterize your sprinkler systems. In the colder months, watering should be done weekly or bi-weekly instead of daily. With just a day or two of hard work, you can get your garden and yard into shape for the winter months and well as prepare for the upcoming spring bloom. For more seasonal gardening information, check out the University of Arkansas’ Cooperative Extension Service’s website at

“We’d have gone anyWhere in the World for the best treatment, but all We had to do … Was come back home.” – Stanley and Beth RogeRS

When the Rogers family vacationed in Colorado, everything seemed perfect until Stanley’s unusual headache revealed a life-threatening neurological problem. His condition was so rare that he needed a medical flight to a specialty institute – back home in Arkansas. A team of experts at the Arkansas Neuroscience Institute at St. Vincent was ready to respond as soon as the Rogers family arrived. Led by world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ali Krisht, the team performed the intricate brain surgery Stanley needed to save his life.

The Arkansas Neuroscience Institute is dedicated to providing the highest‑quality care for your family. Call 501‑552‑6412 for a referral or learn more at

SVH 1011 005 Rogers_ANI_Brain_7x4.875_4C.indd 1

Cane Creek

10/13/11 2:12 PM

Mount Nebo

DeGray Lake

hi g h - sp eed p rovider From exciting outdoor sports to adrenalinepumping adventures, you can experience it all in the state parks of Arkansas.

C o s s a t o t R i ve r S t a t e Pa r k- N a t u r a l A r e a

888-AT-PARKS • Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 51


By dena woerner

FLW Outdoors Tournament

Scott Martin takes the stage to celebrate his win at the FLW World Cup in August.


he stage, lined with boats representing each angler, exploded with pyrotechnics and laser light displays as smiling fishermen walked into view. As if at a rock concert, cheering fans leapt to their feet as their favorite contender waved and approached his boat. There he would sit and wait out the grueling moments as, one by one, fish were added into the scale.

Mark Rose of Marion is currently in 3rd place overall in the FLW tournament standings. Among the notable people to address the crowds were T. Boone Pickens, FLW Tournament founder Irwin L. Jacobs, Forrest L. Wood and Senator Mark Pryor, who reminisced about his childhood saying, “I grew up fishing on Lake Ouachita, Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine. I’m excited to have the 52 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

The week of August 12, 2011, was filled with excitement! All eyes in the fishing world were focused on beautiful Lake Ouachita and Hot Springs, the location of the 2011 Forrest L. Wood World Cup fishing tournament. Each day anglers battled their way through the 40,000 acres of clear water in search of a trophy bass that would tip the scales in their favor. Later, they would bring the fish to downtown Hot Springs’ Summit Arena for daily weigh-ins. The event, including the Forrest L. Wood Expo, concerts and weigh-ins, drew 55,432 fans over four-days of fishing action.

FLW Tournament back in Arkansas.” Forrest L. Wood encouraged the host to get the weigh-in started and said, “I’m ready and I bet some of those fish are ready; for some of them, this is the first time they’ve been to town!” As predicted this year, the top water bite in shallow water lead the early days of the competition, but it was Scott Martin’s trips to the deep water of Lake Ouachita that would deliver the cup and the $600,000 grand prize. As Martin was lifting the first bass from the bag of fish into the tank, he stopped and told the crowd that he had a few things to say before it got crazy in the arena. Martin, from Clewiston, FL, said that his family was from Mt. Ida and he was able to stay in the family home while he fished the tournament. “I can’t say enough about Lake Ouachita; for a highland impoundment like this — especially in August — the fishing was amazing!” He thanked his sponsors and his family, and then he turned his attention back to his catch. You could feel the tension in the air as Martin pulled out each fish, the size increasing each time. Finally, he pulled out two whoppers making his tournament total 61 lbs., 1 oz.!

The first days of the tournament were met with cool temperatures and cloudy skies. Martin said, “the weather really helped us this week and we saw a lot of top water action. ”Many of the anglers chose to concentrate on the shallower areas and creek channel of Ouachita. “There was a lot of pressure in those areas so I stayed deep and worked brush piles.”Places that really produced for him were the Bird Island area, the deep water around Mountain Harbor Resort, and the main lake area. In second place was Randall Tharp from Gardendale, AL., weighing in on the last day with 56.7 lbs. Tharp carried in the heaviest catch of the final day, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead. After placing his last fish in the scale, he said to the crowd, “Lake Ouachita is awesome! Where else in the country can you go and catch fish like that?” Tharp’s reward for second place ­— $100,000! Making his home state proud was Mark Rose. The Marion native worked his way up the leaderboard for a surprising third place finish and a total weight of 50 lbs. 15 oz. Although Rose took home $60,000 instead of $600,000, he was pleased with his performance. “August is tough on

Lake Ouachita. It’s because of the water clarity. It makes it tough for a four-day tournament. The cloud cover earlier in the week helped out but the clear skies on Sunday made things more difficult — clouds are what you need on a clear lake.”



Rose enjoys fishing in his home state. It’s so much easier to win over a crowd and it’s really nice to be close to home — although he lives about three hours from Hot Springs, he had team Arkansas in his corner.

Fishing is big business but it’s also a family business. As each angler approached the microphone during the weigh-in, many things were said and many people were thanked; however the one subject that remained constant was family. Like Rose, Ron Shuffield is an Arkansan that made it to the 2011 FLW World Cup. He finished 19th in the tournament. This year marks Ron Shuffield’s 26th year of professional fishing. Raised in Bismarck, he first started fishing professionally in 1985 with the BASS organization. With a straight face, Shuffield said, “If I do this much longer, I’ll be on The History Channel!” He fished his first championship in 2007. This was his fifth year to fish in the World Cup. He fished in the 2007 tournament, also held at Lake Ouachita. “This year the fishing was much better. Luckily, the weather cooperated. The cloud cover kept things cooled down. It also helped with the bite,” said Shuffield. Arkansas is known for its crystal clear lakes that are very appealing to visitors. For fishing, however, it can make things a little more challenging because the fish can see you. Near the end of a big tournament such as


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this one, the fish become skittish — especially on a bright sunny day. “The best bite was on the surface, called a top water bite. A lot of anglers were fishing in just two feet of water.” Fishing is big business but it’s also a family business. As each angler approached the microphone during the weigh-in, many things were said and many people were thanked; however the one subject that remained constant was family. Angler after angler thanked their amazing families for their love and support. Fans see the brightly wrapped boats, logo covered jerseys and big fish. The

Ryan are obsessed with competitive fishing. Recently, Spencer won the 2011 FLW Co-angler of the year! During tournament season, Ron travels with Debbie, Spencer and their two yorkies. “Sometimes it’s a three ring circus with all of us together but it is always fun and enjoyable,” said Shuffield. Reflecting on the past two and a half decades of his fishing career, he added, “It was an honor to fish in the tournament again and spend time with people that share the same passion I have for fishing. Fishing has given me the opportunity to fish some of the greatest lakes in the country and see things I might not otherwise get to see. “

was heading out, my daughter held up her hands about two feet apart and said, ‘this big, daddy!’” When school is out, the family travels together as Mark fishes his way through the tournament season. Just look for the yellow shirts and you’ll most likely see friends and family of Mark Rose. Mark, who has had four consecutive top 10’s this year, grew up in Marion fishing the Mississippi River and its oxbow lakes. Mark credits his granddad, a commercial fisherman and trapper, with instilling in him a love of the outdoors from an early age. Mark is a very competitive person. Fishing the tour allows him to combine his


Randall Tharp thanked his wife and his family for supporting him. His wife Sara quit her job a year ago to travel with Randall fulltime. “This is everything we work for all season. I don’t think we’ve been home one week this year.” She added that being on the road can be stressful, especially when you’re not winning, but she wouldn’t trade it for the world. “It’s a sacrifice, but we are working together and traveling together.”

Anglers heading out for their final day on Lake Ouachita. behind the scenes action is seldom noticed. A lot of work and preparation must be completed for these anglers to be successful in each tournament. Travel plans must be made; bills have to be paid. And then there is the follow-up after each tournament. From websites to Facebook, information must be passed along. Often, it is the wives and family members of the pros that take on these tasks. Mark Rose’s wife Christi taught school for 12 years and recently quit to help with their family fishing business. The family, including daughters Natalie and Grace, were with him in Hot Springs for the tournament. During the weigh-in, before he lifted his largest fish up for the crowd,Mark told a story from that morning. “As I 54 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

“Sometimes it’s a three ring circus with all of us together but it is always fun and enjoyable,” said Shuffield. love of fishing with that competitive drive. “Fishing keeps me young and motivated. I hope I can keep doing this as long as Ron Shuffield. I have a lot of respect for him — he shares my burning desire to compete.” Fishing is a family affair for Shuffield as well. Ron and his wife Debbie have three grown children, Spencer, Ryan and Summer. Both Spencer and

When Scott Martin isn’t traveling around the world fishing tournaments, guiding or filming his television show, “The Scott Martin Challenge,” he is spending time with his family. Back in Clewiston, Scott’s wife Suzanne tends to the home and their four children Jacob, Reed, Hilary and Amelia. The family spends time traveling and enjoying the outdoors together. Fishing has been a family business for Scott Martin’s family for many years. He is the son of legendary angler Roland Martin. His father flew into Hot Springs just in time to see his son win the super bowl of fishing, the coveted FLW World Cup. Hot Springs wasn’t the last stop of the year for these anglers. Several of them left Arkansas to head to other tournaments. Currently, Mark Rose is in 3rd place overall in the FLW tournament standings. You can follow all of these anglers on the FLW Tournament trail at

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Leave no trace ethics preserves our natural resources From hunters to hikers, everyone can do their part to help conserve the great outdoors of Arkansas. The “Leave No Trace” movement has its roots in the conservation of backcountry and wild spaces, but this philosophy can also be applied in urban settings such as walking trails, bike paths and parks. By paige hunter parham


ould you want to climb a mountain that was littered with empty water bottles and waste? Part of being able to appreciate the wilderness is learning about how to do so responsibly. There are no hard and fast laws for people who are enjoying some time in the outdoors, but the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics has composed a set of principles for protecting our natural spaces from human contact. Before you begin any outdoors adventure, it’s important to plan your activities and to prepare for your needs while you are outside. This means bringing adequate food and water, personal hygiene items, and proper outdoor gear. However, many people fail to pick up after themselves on their way back to 56 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

civilization, which can affect the animals and plants in the area, upset the ecosystem, and lessen enjoyment of the next people who come to enjoy these spaces. Only bring with you what you will need and commit to using your resources wisely. While outdoors, it is essential that you travel and camp only on durable surfaces. Campsites are placed where they are for a reason, and trying to leave the designated camping spots to “get closer to nature” can have dangerous consequences for both personal safety and the environment. Hike and climb only on designated trails, and do not attempt to forge your own paths. Most State and National Parks have land managers who are responsible for their upkeep and can provide you with maps of appropriate camping and day-use areas to enjoy.

Mount Magazine is arguably one of Arkansas’ most beautiful locations. Abiding by a few simple outdoor ethics guidelines can help keep it that way. “Pack in, pack out” means to take with you every single item that you bring into the wild. If one person were to leave a gum wrapper in the woods, it would admittedly not be a huge problem; but if a thousand people did, the waste would be enough to dam a creek or cover an entire campsite in garbage. It can be tempting to collect souvenirs from your time outdoors, but this practice can be extremely damaging to the environment. Rocks, leaves, feathers and flowers are all integral parts of the ecosystem. You should never take anything from a protected area, even if it seems inconsequential.

Photo by Arkansas department of parks and tourism

Most people, when spending time in the wild at night, enjoy building campfires. This can be a safe way to provide warmth and light to campers, as long as you are educated on how to minimize the impact that your fire has on the surrounding area. Only dead wood and downed wood no larger than the wrist of an adult should be used in a campfire. When you are finished with your fire ring, scatter all ashes and burned wood remnants in the surrounding area to decompose. The goal is for your campsite to appear just as it did before you arrived. Respect for wildlife is the sixth guideline of Leave No Trace ethics. There is a simple rule to gauge whether or not you are keeping a safe distance between you and the native fauna; if an animal changes its behavior – you are too close. Do not interfere with wild animals as they go about their activities. It can be dangerous for you as well as the animals. When wild creatures get used to human contact, they become easy prey for those people who mean them harm. If you feel like you need to get up close and personal with wild animals, be sure to bring a camera with a telephoto lens or a pair of binoculars. Finally, being considerate of other visitors to the area is just good courtesy. No one goes camping and expects to hear loud music, television, or rowdy neighbors. Be respectful of other people and their enjoyment of the wild. If everyone abides by these guidelines, we will have plenty of green spaces to enjoy for many years to come. It is important for people to understand what Leave No Trace means and why it is important. Without our green spaces, Arkansas would lack its identity as The Natural State. If we want to continue to enjoy our forests, lakes and rivers, we must learn to use them wisely and with conscience. For more information on Leave No Trace ethics, visit www.lnt. org or read about their upcoming training seminar on page 60.


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Fall Into Beauty

A.C. “Chuck” Haralson The Natural State is beautiful year round, but there is something exceptionally beautiful about the fall months across the state. The bright oranges, yellows and reds offer a bit of warmth as temperatures start to cool. Vistas, once rolling hills of green, now resemble a patchwork quilt of many colors. On these pages, Arkansas Wild presents a selection of photos taken during fall in Arkansas. Clockwise from Top Left: Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Little Rock; Bridal Veil Falls, Heber Springs; Buffalo National River at Steel Creek, Jasper; Cedar Falls at Petit Jean State Park, Morrilton

58 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 59

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BO BROOK FARMS PUMPKIN PATCH & CORN MAZE October 19 thru 31: Come on out to our farm and enjoy a fall day. There are many activities for the whole family. Take a hayride around the farm and see our scarecrows, play in the corn pit, climb on the hay pyramid, go through the hay maze, see our animals or just relax and enjoy the fresh air. Patch admission: $5. Prices includes all ages. Under 2 is FREE. Of course you can pick your own pumpkin. Pumpkins sold separately. For your convenience, we have portable toilets, farm store and concessions. Check out our store for crafts, jams, jellies, and fall decorating items including: hay bales, ornamental corn, corn stalks, weird gourds, strange pumpkins, carving kits, and much more! For hours of operation and more information call 501-519-5666 or visit

LEAVE NO TRACE TRAINING WORKSHOPS October 20 thru 23: The Subaru/ Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers will visit Central Arkansas to conduct workshops on Leave No Trace ethics and practices. But when they’re gone, you won’t find any sign they’ve been here, and that’s just fine with them. The Subaru/ Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are a program of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, a national organization that teaches people how to enjoy the 60 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Perfect your skills dduring the Gaston's Fly Fishing School on Nov. 5th & 6th

outdoors responsibly. Initially aimed at back country enthusiasts, Leave No Trace “frontcountry” work protects recreational areas closer to home and in urban areas. The frontcountry program addresses impact issues such as user conflicts, dog waste, graffiti, and trash. The Arkansas River Trail’s Leave No Trace program is unique in the nation in that it brings together two cities, a county, a state park, several non-profit organizations and diverse user groups. This consortium is dedicated to preserving our natural and man-made resources for all to enjoy. During the Traveling Trainers visit to Central Arkansas, Leave No Trace events and workshops are planned on and near the Arkansas River Trail. They will be taught by two Leave No Trace instructors who criss-cross the United States in a Subaru Outback educating the public about Leave No Trace skills and ethics. The Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer program has reached over 12 million people in 48 states. For more information and a schedule for each day contact the Leave No Trace Center at 800332-4100 ext. 109.

DUCKS UNLIMITED MEMBERSHIP BANQUET UNION CO. CHAPTER October 29: This event will take place at the El Dorado Conference Center. The meal will be catered by Chelles Catering serving catfish, shrimp, and chicken. There will a silent auction, raffles, door

prizes, and always something a little different. There will great entertainment, family atmosphere, something for the kids, and “spend bucks for the ducks”. For more information contact Chris Wallace at 870-862-3235 or via e-mail chriswallace@

FLW REGIONAL BFL November 3 thru 5: Come out and enjoy the wonderful Lake Dardanelle area just off the Arkansas River. This fishing tournament brings people from all over to compete. If you are an avid fisherman, then you need to be here. Admission: FREE. Event place: 708 West Main Street, Russellville, AR. For more information visit or contact Christie Graham 479-967-1762.

CARVING THE OUACHITAS VII-FAST LANE RALLY November 3 thru 5: Unique rally with riding experience for all types of ridersQuad, Sport Bike, and Sport Touring. If you like excitement, there is sure to be a ride for you! Join us at Wolf Pen Gap for exciting ATV trails, the Ouachita National Forest trails for some off-road rides, or through the Arkansas countryside for a Sport Touring overnight ride. Camping is available on Iron Mountain (in Hatfield, AR), meals available, movie night, CMA Goodies, RC car races, live music, and more! For more information call 870-3896196 or visit




November 5 and 6: Have you ever wanted to take your family on a camping trip, but were afraid you didn’t have the knowledge and skills necessary to create a fun and memorable experience? Here’s your opportunity to introduce the kids to the great outdoors during Lake Ouachita State Park’s newest overnight adventure, the Ouachita Nature Experience (O.N.E.). This family-friendly campout is designed for those who have never camped before or haven’t camped in a long time. It’s also great for people who lack the know how to properly use camping equipment such as a tent, camp stove or lantern. By the end of the weekend, campers will know how to pick a campsite, set up camp, and get a roaring campfire going for some good old fashioned quality family time in the great outdoors. Campers will take a boat ride out to one of Lake Ouachita’s numerous islands for the ultimate overnight camping trip with experienced, trained park interpreters for this one-of-a-kind adventure. Meeting place: Lake Ouachita State Park Marina Boat Ramp. For more information, fees or to make reservations, contact the park at 501767-9366 or visit

November 5 and 6: This event will take place at the State Fairgrounds, Hall of Industry building. Number of tables: 400. Private sales, ammo sales, and powder sales are allowed. Event time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 5 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 6. For more information call 563-927-8176, e-mail, or visit

GASTON’S NOVEMBER FLY FISHING SCHOOL November 5 and 6: Our goal is to provide you with the very best instruction and quality education. Frank Saksa has developed many new techniques for catching fish here on the White River, ones that will make you a much better fly fisherman, no matter what you fly fish for. Admission: $205. For more information visit

7th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CLINTON CENTER November 12: Don’t miss this opportunity! Come celebrate the Clinton Center’s Seventh Anniversary

with FREE admission to the library, FREE Acoustiguide audio tours narrated by President Clinton and FREE family activities! For more information call 501-374-4242 or visit

SURVIVAL SKILLS WEEKEND November 12 and 13: Start or add to your knowledge of surviving in the great outdoors. This weekend will be filled with survivor skill workshops such as using a map and compass, fire starting, shelter building and more! Contact the park for a workshop schedule and advance payment is required for workshops. Call 501-868-5806 or visit

DUTCH OVEN COOKING WORKSHOP November 19: Ever noticed that all food tastes better around a fire? Outdoor cooking is a longstanding Arkansas State Park tradition! Here is your chance to learn to cook tasty meals in the great outdoors and discover the secrets of



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successful Dutch oven cooking. Advance payment is required. Meeting place is Pinnacle Mountain State Park Visitor Center. Event time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information call 501-868-5806 or visit


THE 2011 INAUGURAL CORNBREAD FESTIVAL November 5: Ask any Arkansan what his or her favorite meal is, and the answer will include cornbread in some way. To celebrate this simple dish in all of its comforting glory, the Bernice Garden will host the first Arkansas Cornbread Festival. In addition to cornbread, sides and beverages, the festival will include blues, bluegrass and folk bands, children’s activities, nonprofit booths and vendors selling new and vintage goods. “The area south of Interstate 630 in downtown Little Rock is revitalizing by focusing on things that refresh everyone’s spirit-simple, pure and good food, nature, music and community,” said Anita Davis, community advocate and owner of the Bernice Garden. The festival is seeking up to 40 participants to compete for the best cornbread in Arkansas. Categories include traditional, nontraditional and sweet, and it is up to the participant to determine what category his or her cornbread is entered and judged. Cornbread will be ranked by two sets of judges: those attending the festival and a celebrity panel. Entries will be judged on a 1-10 (10 being best) scale based on flavor, texture, aroma, appearance and creativity. The New Orleans Roadfood Festival has extended an invitation to the best overall professional winner of 2011 Cornbread Festival to compete in next year’s event. This is an exclusive invitation to less than 50 restaurants representing the best of what American cuisine has to offer. Bernice Garden is located at the southeast corner of South Main Street and Daisy Bates Avenue in downtown Little Rock. Event time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets to the Cornbread Festival are $5 for adults, $3 for children age 6-12, and FREE for children five and younger. For more information about the Cornbread Festival or the Bernice Garden visit arcornbreadfestival. com or contact Liz Sanders (coordinator of the Bernice Garden) at 501-617-2511 or via e-mail

62 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

November 23 thru 27: Owl prowls, guided hikes, nature games, and lake tours to search for wintering bald eagles make a visit to DeGray Lake Resort State Park a must for this family holiday. Walk a trail, ride a bike or join an activity and leave your day-to-day schedules at home. A traditional Thanksgiving Day meal at our Lodge Shoreline Restaurant is certain to help make this a pleasant memory for you and yours. For lodging reservations call 800-737-8355. For camping reservations call 501-865-5810.

THANKSGIVING WEEKEND AT HARBOR November 24 thru 27: Join us for our annual Thanksgiving celebration. We last all weekend long! Thursday our Lodge Restaurant creates a beautiful Thanksgiving meal complete with all the trimmings. Seating is limited so book early. Friday we have a holiday party set to music with bonfires, cocoa, and hayrides. Kids, come help Santa throw the big switch and turn on the resortwide holiday lights. Saturday night we meet at the Joplin Firehouse for our annual spaghetti dinner auction and fundraiser. Don’t worry-we’ll have the big game on so don’t let that stop you! It’s a family fun weekend jam-packed with good friends, good food, and good times! So, come on out to Mountain Harbor Resort in Mount Ida, AR and help us celebrate Thanksgiving. For more information call 870-867-2191 or visit

14TH ANNUAL MOUNTAIN RENDEZVOUS November 25 thru 27: Experience a primitive camp and learn some of the survival skills used by Arkansas pioneers. Watch a variety of demonstrations including muzzleloading rifles, tomahawk throwing, and more inside Petit Jean State Park! Co-sponsored by the Early Arkansaw Reenactor Association. Contact the park for a schedule and more information 501727-5441 or visit

FALL HAYRIDE & CAMPFIRE AT PINNACLE MOUNTAIN November 26: Jostle, bounce, and laugh your way across the fields and through the woods on a guided hayride with a warm campfire, stories, hot chocolate, and marshmallows. Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12. For more information call 501-868-5806 or visit

NW ARKANSAS CONVENTION CENTER GUN SHOW November 26 and 27: This event will take place at NW Arkansas Convention Center/ Holiday Inn located at 1500 S. 48th Street, AR. The number of tables is 325. Private sales, ammo sales, and powder sales are allowed. Event time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 26 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 27 For more information call 563-927-8176 or e-mail or visit

WINTER IN THE PARK December 17: Everyone camping in Lake Catherine State Park is encouraged to decorate and show their holiday spirit. Prizes will be given to those with the best decorated RV/tent site. We will have interpretive programs such as making tree cookies ornaments and homemade hot chocolate, and other programs focused on nature and winter in the park. Contact the park for a detailed schedule at 501-8444176 or visit

CAROLING IN THE FOREST December 17: We’ll meet at the Kingfisher Trail inside Pinnacle Mountain State Park to stroll into the forest, and sing your favorite holiday carols along a paved trail. Bring a flashlight and your best singing voice. Visit with everybody afterwards as we serve hot chocolate around a campfire at the Pinnacle Pavilion. This fun family activity has quickly become a tradition! Event time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information call 501-686-5806 or visit

JACKSONVILLE GUN SHOW December 17 and 18: This event will take place at the former Wal-Mart building in Jacksonville, AR. The number of tables is 800. Private sales, ammo sales, and powder sales are allowed. Event time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 17 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December

18. For more information call 563-9278176, or e-mail, or visit

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FLAME ON 2012 YOUTH MOVEMENT STUDENT SLAM December 29 thru January 1, 2012: This high impact student conference especially for CMA Youth Movement students age 12-18, is filled with uplifting praise and worship, vital ministry training, loads of crazy fun and most importantly, plenty of moments for teens to connect with Christ. Registration opens summer of 2011, so if you haven’t already registered, do so now. Event place: Iron Mountain (in Hatfield, AR). Hosted by CMA (Christian Motorcycles Association). For more information call 870-389-6196 or visit


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December 31 thru January 1, 2012: Join us for the end of the holiday season and to help ring in 2012 as we celebrate our annual New Year’s Eve event here at Mount Magazine State Park! Start your new year off with views of the river valley and Blue Mountain Lake. Our party includes a live disc jockey, hors d’ oeurves, party favors, and more. Tickets are limited; fee includes a prime rib buffet-style dinner the night of the party, the party itself, and breakfast the next morning for two. Overnight lodging is not included in the ticket price, but there are lodge rooms, cabins, and campsites on the mountain. They are likely to fill quickly, so make reservations early! Dinner begins at 7 p.m. in the Skycrest Restaurant, and the party begins at 9 p.m. in the Banquet Hall. Contact the park for more details, tickets, and to make reservations at 479-963-8502 or visit

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The Audubon Center is available for event rentals. This green facility — with student labs, teaching gardens, miles of trails, and a 425-acre park to call home, is insulated with straw — really! To book a date or learn more about Audubon Arkansas and its programs call 501.244.2229.

HALL OF INDUSTRY GUN SHOW December 31 thru January 1, 2012: This event will take place at the State Fairgrounds, Hall of Industry building. The number of tables is 400. Private sales, ammo sales, and powder sales are allowed. Event time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 31 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 1. For more information call 563-927-8176, or e-mail, or visit 501.244.2229 Little Rock Audubon Center 4700 Springer Blvd.

Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 63


LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas deer hunters have an additional five-day opportunity to pursue their favorite activity this season. A doe-only hunt by any method is scheduled for Oct. 31

through Nov. 4. That’s Monday through Friday. Modern guns, muzzleloaders, bows and crossbows will be allowed, but the hunt is for designated zones, not statewide. The new doe-only hunt is for Deer Zones 6A, 8A, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17. This basically is south Arkansas, some of central

Receiving that distinct paper certificate after reporting a banded duck is something many hunters have looked forward to. Now hunters will have to print their own certificates.

Banding program eliminates paper certificates LITTLE ROCK – Hunters lucky enough to

shoot a banded duck or goose this season will have to print their own certificates of appreciation. As of Aug. 1, the Bird Banding Lab of the U.S. Geological Survey discontinued the practice of mailing certificates displaying banding information on reported birds. However, hunters can still collect an electronic certificate by providing an e-mail address when they report the band. The BBL will send an e-mail message with a printable certificate as soon as the banding data for the reported bird is available. "The BBL regrets not being able to continue the practice of sending paper certificates of appreciation, but budget reductions necessitate an end to this practice," said Bruce Peterjohn, BBL chief. "Even though paper certificates have been eliminated, the BBL recognizes the valuable contribution to the North American Bird Banding Program made by hunters and other members of the public who report bird bands." While waterfowl managers certainly understand the reality of tightened budgets, they hope the change doesn’t undermine the banding program’s effectiveness. 64 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Getting that distinct paper certificate after reporting a band is something many waterfowl hunters have looked forward to for quite some time, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission waterfowl biologist Luke Naylor says. "However, everyone is tightening their belts these days and we understand that tough decisions must be made. Hunters embraced the shift from written band reports to a toll-free phone reporting option to the more recent webreporting capabilities and I’m confident we will adapt to this new system as well, Naylor said. "Without hunters' continued cooperation, the value of this important monitoring tool could be compromised. I urge hunters to carry on as they have in the past and promptly report the harvest of banded birds. Individuals reporting bands will still be able to generate a certificate with information about the bird’s history as has been available in the past," he added. More than 17 million waterfowl have been banded as part of the program since 1922. Band reporting is a key management tool that helps biologists understand the migration and survival of ducks and geese in North America.

Arkansas and a bit of north-central Arkansas. Deer Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 4B, 5, 5A, 5B, 6, 7, 8 and 11 will be closed. The bag limit on this special doe hunt is the zone limit. No WMAs will be involved in the doe only hunt. Any doe taken by a hunter in this new season will count toward his or her season bag limit, both zone and statewide. There is a generous six-deer statewide limit for next season. Most zone limits are less than six, but a hunter can take deer in more than one zone up to the statewide limit of six. Dick Baxter is the deer program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He said, "The rationale behind the hunt is simple. In many areas of the state, we have very high deer densities, and we need to try to reduce deer numbers. By providing hunters with doe-only days, hunters that participate will not have the option to wait on a buck, which is why many hunters pass up opportunities at doe during the regular modern gun and muzzleloader hunts." One point for the thinking of the AGFC people who set the hunting seasons is that it is best to go a little conservative when instituting hunts. This new hunt is labeled modern gun, but this means hunters can use lesser weapons – archery, crossbows and muzzleloaders – if they so choose. The doe-only rule, along with one specifying taking a doe before taking a buck, has been used by many private hunting clubs in Arkansas with success where there is a need to reduce herd numbers. Baxter said, "We have allowed DMAP (Deer Management Assistance Program) clubs to harvest does early in the season for years. This is a sound management practice because we are able to lower the standing crop before hunting season, thereby providing remaining deer with better resources to keep them in better shape heading into the rut and post-rut periods." "Additionally, removing doe early in the season can also help to reduce the amount of unnecessary energy expenditures that bucks may have. Less doe on the landscape will ensure that there is a more defined rut and that more doe are bred by older age-class bucks."

Hellbender new on endangered list The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently designated the Ozark Hellbender as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) and also finalized its decision to list the Ozark and eastern hellbender in Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of

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Arkansas’s Great River Road Challenge Cache Continued on page 50 N 35° 29.506 W 090° 21.522

This featured cache is part of the 150 special geocaches located along Arkansas’s Great River Road National Scenic Byway. Named “Tribute to a Time of Change,” the cache is located somewhere on the grounds of the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza. The coordinates of the cache are N 35° 29.506 W 090° 21.522. The cache is a magnetic keyholder and is rated 1.5 in difficulty and 1.5 in terrain. The museum offers visitors the opportunity to explore the history of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union. Exhibits focus on the story of tenant farming and sharecropping and the movement to remove abuses from the widely used system. The museum is located in the building that housed H.L. Mitchell’s dry cleaner and the service station owned by Clay East, two of the original organizers of the Union. The building also served as the unofficial headquarters of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (STFU). The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum is located on Main Street at Chicago and Frisco Streets in downtown Tyronza. For more information, visit http://stfm.astate. edu or phone 870-487-2909. For more on geocaching in The Natural State, visit For more information on the “Tribute to a Time of Change” cache, log on to and search by GC code for GC1W9N2. For questions email DeltaTraveler@gmail. com.

Get out there and get geocaching! For more information visit 66 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Jeff briggler


Ozark hellbender Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). In combination, these listings will provide significant protection to hellbenders, both domestically and internationally. Under the ESA, an endangered species is any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The Ozark hellbender, a type of salamander, which grows to lengths up to 2 feet, inhabits the White River system in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. Ozark hellbender populations have declined an estimated 75 percent since the 1980s, with only about 590 individuals remaining in the wild. It is believed numbers have dropped because of degraded water quality, habitat loss resulting from impoundments, ore and gravel mining, sedimentation, and collection for the pet trade. Also threatening the Ozark hellbender is a fungal disease, chytridiomycosis (chytrid), and severe physical abnormalities which most Ozark hellbenders exhibit. The average age of Ozark hellbender populations is increasing and few young are being found, indicating problems with reproduction or juvenile survival. This, and the multiple threats from disease and habitat degradation, could lead to extinction of the Ozark hellbender within 20 years. Two subspecies of hellbenders are recognized, the Ozark hellbender and the eastern hellbender. The Ozark hellbender only occurs in Missouri and Arkansas, whereas the eastern hellbender range includes portions of the following 16 states: Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Hellbenders are salamanders with large tails and tiny eyes. Adult Ozark hellbenders may reach lengths up to 2 feet, and their flattened bodies enable them to move in the fast-flowing streams they inhabit. Hellbenders are habitat specialists that depend on constant levels of dissolved oxygen, temperature, and flow in their aquatic environment. Even minor alterations to stream habitat are likely detrimental to hellbender populations. For more information, visit

Upcoming Deer Seasons


Map of Zones:

Archery All zones: Oct. 1-Feb. 29 Muzzleloader Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4A, 5A, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10, 11, 14 & 15: Oct. 22-30 and Dec. 17-19 Zones 9, 12, 13, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 22-30 and Dec. 29-31 Zones 4, 4B, 5 and 5B: Closed Modern Gun Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10 and 11: Nov. 12-Dec. 4 Zone 4: Nov. 12-13. Zone 5: Nov. 12-13 and Nov. 19-20 Zones 4A, 5A, 14 and 15: Nov. 12-Dec. 11 Zones 4B and 5B: Nov. 12-20 Zones 9, 12 and 13: Nov. 12-Dec. 18 Zone 16, 16A and 17: Nov. 12-Dec. 25 Modern gun doe only Zones 6A, 8A, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 31-Nov. 4 Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 4B, 5, 5A, 5B, 6, 7, 8 and 11: Closed Statewide Christmas holiday modern gun deer hunt: Dec. 26-28 Youth hunts: Nov. 5-6 and Jan. 7-8

conservative turkey season Proposed again PINE BLUFF — Biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recently proposed continuing the conservative turkey season structure, which has been in place since 2007. If approved, the season would be 18 days for most of the state with an additional two-day youth hunt. The proposed season would begin April 14, 2012, and continue through May 1, 2012, in zones 1, 2, 3, 4B, 5, 5B, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9, 10 and 17. In zones 4, 4A, 5A, and 9A, it would run April 14-24, 2012. Zone 1A would remain closed. A youth hunt is proposed for April 7-8, 2012, in all open zones. Bag limits would remain the same as las year. The statewide bag limit is two adult gobblers or bearded hens, no jakes. Hunters 15 and younger may harvest one jake as part of their two-bird limit during the season (including the youth hunt). No more than one turkey may be taken per day.

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Located in the heart of the Mississippi Migratory Bird Flyway, the Delta Conference Center & Resort and Coon Bayou Hunting Club in Tillar, Arkansas are a haven to tens-of-millions of migrating waterfowl annually. That immense number of birds in flight makes Coon Bayou part of the most abundant waterfowl habitats in North America. The game bird activity is simply amazing. All hunts come with a guide experienced in gun safety, blind/pit duck hunting, duck calling, decoy setting Two Bedroom Suites or Guest Rooms: In-room Flat screen and WIFI, On-site Dining, Gaming and Media Area All Meals are included

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The Delta also offers the finest in Olympic Bunker Trap and Clay Shooting with over 1,700 acres dedicated to these disciplines. In 2011 the Junior Olympic Qualifier was held here along with sporting clay’s Delta International Open and Delta Classic – both setting record highs in prize purse payouts. And now with the scheduled 2012 opening of Delta Place, our Course-side Guest Facility, shooters can stay close to all the clay action. For details on Stay’n’Clay Packages & more click



Fall 2011  Arkansas Wild | 67


for a great “deer widow” gift?

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Located In The Historic Lafayette Building at 6th And Louisiana, Ste. M100 • Monday-Friday 10am-6pm 68 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2011

Profile for Arkansas Times

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