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FA L L 2 0 1 2

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Revolvers

Information every pg. 34 collector needs to know

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+ Plus Hot Fishing in Cold Weather: Lake SWEPCO Delta Dreams: New resort offers duck hunting, shooting sports

A Finely Tuned Instrument Arkansas Duck Call Makers Deliver Quality Around the World pg. 14


2 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012


Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 3


Table of CONTENTS 12

Fall Care for Healthy Lawns By Melinda Myers

14 A Finely tuned instrument

Arkansas Duck Call Makers Deliver Quality Around The World By Erica Sweeney

12

20 Public Hunting Opportunities for Waterfowl in Arkansas By Andi Cooper

24 Delta dreams

New resort offers duck hunting, shooting sports By Janie Ginocchio

14

26 Officer of the year

WEO Michael W. Neal talks about his job and his love of duck hunting By Janie Ginocchio

28 Hunters Adapt and Score with Buffalo River Elk

Courtesy of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

32 Ready for a snipe hunt? By Janie Ginocchio

20

34 Antique Smith & Wesson Revolvers By Larry LeMasters

36 Hot Fishing in Cold Weather: Lake SWEPCO By Brad Wiegmann

40 Out and about

Reader submitted photography

24

44 Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is A Perfect

Playground for Rock Climbing, Zip Lining and Swinging By Jill M. Rohrbach

50 Photography of A.C. “Chuck” Haralson

34

52 Calendar of Events 56 In The Know

News updates from the outdoors

44 4 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012


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Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 5


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

6 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

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 2012  Arkansas Wild | 7


CONTRIBUTORS A.C. “Chuck” Haralson is chief

Andi Cooper is a native Mississippian and has a Master’s degree from Mississippi State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Science. Cooper currently holds a position with Ducks Unlimited’s Southern Region in Ridgeland, MS as a Communications Specialist. When she’s not working, Cooper enjoys bird watching, deer hunting, outdoor photography, woodburning, camping, and wandering the woods with her dogs, Jake and Ziva.

8 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Larry LeMasters

is a freelance writer and owner of LeMasters’ Antique News Service, a syndication service in North Little Rock. Besides magazine articles, primarily on history or antiques, Larry also publishes poetry and is currently writing a novel set in New Orleans. When not writing, Larry reads and tries to avoid getting bit by his dog, Maggie.

Erica Sweeney is

a freelance writer and editor based inLittle Rock. She regularly writes for SavvyKids, Mature Arkansas and, of course, Arkansas Wild. In between her journalistic adventures, she enjoys traveling the world and playing with her dogs, Cookie and Coco.

Jill Rohrbach is the travel writer for the Arkansas River Valley and Ozarks regions of The Natural State. Based in Northwest Arkansas, she has been with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism since 1999.

Gardening expert, TV host and author Melinda Myers has 30 years of horticulture experience and has written more than 20 gardening books, including “Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening”. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments, which air on TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine, hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for more than 20 years as well as “Great Lakes Gardener” on PBS. Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure. Myers’ web site is www.melindamyers. com

PHOTO BY CHRISTY HOLLINGSHEAD

photographer for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. A 33-year veteran of the department, Haralson travels the state capturing images Brad Wiegmann of Arkansas’s scenic is a published writer natural beauty fnd whose articles and travel attractions. His stories have appeared in a wide va- work has appeared in riety of publications. National Geographic Brad has covered Traveler, National everything from bass Geographic Discovery, tournaments, to fish- Better Homes and ing techniques, des- Gardens, Women’s tination pieces, the bass fishing industry, Day, Camping Life, and Backpaker Magazine, and other outdoor and in major related topics. His newspapers including passion is writing about unique, hand the New York Times, crafted lures and Chicago Tribune swimbaits. Brad is and the Los Angeles also an accomTimes. He’s now the plished angler. He is proud grandfather of also a fishing guide one-year-old grandson on Lake SWEPCO Wyatt. and Beaver Lake.

Fall in Arkansas is a great time of year and this issue of Arkansas Wild is jam packed with all sorts of outdoor news. Take the time to read our cover story on local duck call makers starting on page 14. Want to find some great duck hunting opportunities? Check out Andi Cooper’s story on page 20. Looking for a hot fishing spot during the cold weather months? Check out Brad Wiegmann’s story on page 36. For a little Ozark adventure, be sure to read the story Jill Rohrbach shared with us about the Horseshoe Canyon Ranch starting on page 44. I hope you enjoy this issue of Arkansas Wild. Over the 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 (facebook.com/arkansaswild). Our fans can find links to important (and just plain interesting) outdoor information, news, post photos and more! Now get out and go “wild!”

Heather Baker Publisher heatherbaker@arktimes.com

Arkansas Wild is Interactive. Get everything Arkansas Wild has to offer every issue by reading the interactive edition on your computer or handheld device. Arkansas Wild is full of links to useful websites, apps, videos, documents, valuable hunting information, tutorials and more! Read the current issue for free at facebook.com/ArkansasWild or download the enhanced PDF to read any time on your iPad, laptop or other portable device!


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Fall Care for Healthy Lawns by Melinda Myers

thin lawns after core aerating. This will enable you to get good seed to soil contact and ultimately enjoy a thicker more lush lawn. And be sure to fertilize. Fall fertilization helps lawns recover from summer stress, encourages root growth, thickens your grass stand, and prepares the lawn for winter. Use a low nitrogen fertilizer like Milorganite to encourage slow steady growth and prevent damage to already stressed lawns. Plus, research has found when microorganisms work on the Milorganite to release the nutrients they also make some of the phosphorous and potassium bound to the soil available to the plants. The phosphorous is good for root growth and potassium boosts hardiness and disease resistance.

Summer can be hard on our lawns. With much of the country suffering from extreme heat and drought conditions this past summer, many lawns took a beating. Fall is the perfect time to help your lawn recover from the stressors of summer and prepare for winter. The warm soil and cooler temperatures promote root growth and thickening of the lawn. Continue to mow the lawn as long as it keeps growing. Mow high to encourage deep roots and leave clippings on the lawn. They add nutrients and organic matter to the soil and do not cause thatch. There’s no need to cut the lawn shorter for winter unless you are in an area 12 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

subject to winter diseases. Mow—don’t rake—those fall leaves. This will save you time and improve your lawn. The leaves add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. As long as you can see the grass leaves through the shredded leaves your lawn will be fine. Or shred and collect the leaves in your bagger and add them to your compost, dig into annual gardens to improve the soil, or use as mulch around perennials in the garden. Consider core aeration if your lawn is suffering from compacted soil and thatch. Core aeration machines remove plugs of soil in the lawn, allowing air and water to reach and nourish the grass roots while promoting the breakdown of the thatch. Overseed

Those in the south growing Bermuda, St Augustine and other warm weather grasses can make their last fertilization about one month before the lawn goes dormant. That’s about the time of the first killing frost. Fertilizing later can result in winter damage. Northern gardeners growing cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue and ryegrass should make one application in early fall and their last application sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving before the ground freezes. And always sweep any clippings, fertilizer and other debris off walks and drives to prevent them from entering our waterways and eventually our drinking water.


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FinelyTuned Instrument Arkansas Duck Call Makers Deliver Quality Around The World By Erica Sweeney

Arkansas duck call makers have fine-tuned their instruments to produce the highest quality call for hunters all over the world. Each manufacturer, no matter how big or small, has its own unique history and strives to carry on the state’s rich duck hunting tradition so that it is passed along to the next generation. “A duck call is truly a musical instrument,” says Bob Migeot, owner of Mojo Duck Calls, a “one-man” operation based in Maumelle. Migeot, a California native, started making calls in 1980 after a neighbor took him duck hunting for the first time. “It was all I needed to see,” he said. “I bought a $10 duck call but couldn’t make it sound like a duck.” So, Migeot decided to make his own call, and says he was inspired by Arkansas call-maker Andy Bowles. Migeot says he tried to duplicate a call Bowles made for him “using a hand drill and piece of walnut.” At first, Migeot made calls for himself, and then made them for others. Instead of selling his calls, he says he bartered them for hunting equipment. “As a new hunter, I didn’t have a lot of equipment, and bartering worked pretty well,” he says. 14 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Migeot made more and more calls, and eventually sold them in stores. His mission was always to remain small: “It’s not fun when it’s a major business. It loses the personal touch,” he says. Now, Migeot sells his calls mostly at Ducks Unlimited dinners, by word of mouth and retailers such as McSwain Sports Center in North Little Rock and Fort Thompson Sporting Goods in Sherwood. At 73, he says his eyesight is failing, but since he can put together a duck call by rote, he’s planning to continue making them for as long as he can. Rick Dunn, owner of Echo Calls in Beebe, began making calls as a hobby in 1975 and gave away the first two he made. But his third call was “really good,” and he says he didn’t want to give it away. When someone offered him $40 for it, he accepted, and it just “took off from there,” he says. Dunn continued making calls part time until 1996, when he became a full-time duck call maker. “I had no idea when I started that a hobby would snowball and now it’s hard to keep up,” Dunn says. Echo has now outgrown its shop, and plans to move to a larger location at the beginning of next year, Dunn says. He says he hopes Echo continues to grow, but at age 61, he “doesn’t want to


Hunters try to support us because we’re from around here.” “Arkansas duck calls sound more like a duck than others. That’s why Arkansas duck calls are being duplicated in other parts of the country,” Migeot says. Each duck call made in the state has its own unique look and sound, and makers are quick to point out what sets theirs apart from the others. “We have a passion for waterfowling, and strive to build the best-sounding call,” Ronquest says. “A little friendly competition and rivalry goes a long way in building a better product.” Mojo Duck Calls

keep working so hard,” and plans to train someone to handle the day-to-day operations so he can just supervise. One of the state’s newest duck call manufacturers, Black Ops Duck Calls, started in 2009. Owner Mike Fleeman wanted to make new versions of the P.S. Olt, an older duck call that had been out of production for several years. After a friend paid about $100 for an out-of-production Olt call on ebay and it arrived broken, Fleeman says it “sparked” his idea for the company. Now, he can’t make calls fast enough, he says. In 1976, Butch Richenback founded Rich-N-Tone right in the heart of Stuttgart, often called the duck hunting capital of the world. Richenback learned to make duck calls from Dixie Mallard call-maker Chick Majors, but didn’t start selling his own calls until Majors died, says Jim Ronquest, RNT’s “PR guy” and producer of RNT-V. Rich-N-Tone first made only one type of call, which could be adapted to meet individual needs. “At the time, there was no tone board like it,” Richenback says, and the design was unique. He says he modeled the call’s lip on a Coke bottle. Richenback says he intended to make duck calls as a hobby, but it steadily grew until he couldn’t keep up with demand. “I went from small time to big time,” he says.

“We’re the guy everyone chases,” Richenback says. “But no one could ever catch us.”

RNT has a team of 14 and manufactures 13 different duck call models and six Canada goose models, and the company’s Quackhead line includes eight duck and three goose calls. RNT calls are made of wood, acrylics and molded polycarbonate, Ronquest says. They are sold online (www.rntcalls.com), as well as at Mack’s Prairie Wings, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s and more. Most RNT calls are Arkansas style, which has a straight reed on a curved surface, Ronquest says. Another common type of call is Louisiana style with a floating wedge design, he says. Ronquest says RNT provides many different models to match people’s needs. And, Richenback is always available to make adjustments so calls can be even more individualized. “The hard part is trying to find the middle ground that fits most everybody,” Ronquest says. “The good news is, if it is not right for you out of the box, we will make it right as long as you give us a chance.” Migeot makes two types of calls – one made of wood and one made of Tenite, a soft plastic material. Migeot says Mojo calls

In 1999, John Stephens purchased the company and it became RNT, now the biggest custom call manufacturer in the state, maybe the nation, Ronquest says.

Homegrown Duck Calls

Because duck hunting is so entrenched in the state’s culture, Ronquest says Arkansas hunters often enjoy buying a homegrown product. “I like to think our homeboys have our backs,” he says. “Stuttgart is the duck capital of the world,” Dunn says. “Arkansas is the mecca for duck hunters. People come from all over the world to hunt here. Calls made in Arkansas suit our needs a little better than calls made in other parts of the country.

Preston “Treetop” Fleeman proudly wearing his Black Ops Duck Call around his neck Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 15


“stick” less than others, meaning that when saliva gets trapped inside the call, the reed can stick to the soundboard. His calls also have a “good low end, good high end and good middle end. Most don’t have all three,” he says. “Some people try to do things cheaper,” Dunn says. “I don’t think duck hunters are looking for the cheapest. They want something that will last. We always try to make a good product. We’re very particular on quality. We think ours is the best. We have the best wood finish, the shiniest acrylics, best sound.” Echo has a staff of eight and makes 12 different varieties, both single and double reed, using wood, acrylics and polycarbonate, Dunn says. He says all raw materials are American-made, and calls are made in Beebe. Echo calls are sold via their website (www.echocalls. com) and at large and small retailers, like Mack’s, Gander Mountain and others. Based in Benton, Black Ops makes two types of calls, the 5011, a Louisiana-style call, and the DFB (Death from Below), an Arkansas-style call. Black Ops calls are made out of a material that Fleeman developed, which is a cross between rubber and plastic, and similar to Bakelite, the original P.S. Olt material. Fleeman, along with his dad, Dennis, and best friend, Jarrod Hambric, hand make each call. Fleeman says Black Ops calls are best suited for hunting in the woods and on public land, and are much different from other calls made in the state. “Ours don’t look like regular duck calls or sound like them,” Fleeman says. “Our calls are loud, raspy and coarse. We’re more aggressive and out of the box than traditional call makers.”

Black Ops calls are sold online (www.blackopsduckcalls.com) and at Turbyfill Outdoors in Benton. Quality is most important to all duck-call makers. Ronquest says RNT constantly strives for perfection: “Each call is hand tuned and blown before it leaves the shop.” Each Echo call is tested before it distribution, Dunn says, and “if it doesn’t measure up, we don’t send it.” Dunn and the others say it’s important to regularly come out with new products. Ronquest says RNT came out with three new calls last year. Black Ops plans to debut a new call soon, Fleeman says.

For Hunters By Hunters

Being a hunter is first and foremost for duck-call makers, and, “if it’s not one we would use, it doesn’t go out,” Fleeman says. “We’re hunters first, and we’ve won more world titles than anyone in the country,” says Ronquest, who estimates that more than 80 world titles have been won using RNT products, and several RNT staff members have won titles. Richenback, a member of the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame, won the World Champion Duck Calling title in 1972 and the Champion of Champions in 1975. In early October, he received the Ducks Unlimited 8th Annual Jerry Jones Sportsman’s Award. RNT President John Stephens has won world calling titles in 1995, 1998 and 2005. At the Wings over the Prairie Festival in Stuttgart in November, Echo will have a booth and several World Championship competitors will use their calls. Dunn says several world titles have been won using Echo calls. A collection of handcrafted Mojo Duck Calls

16 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012


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Hunters can have the best duck call in the world, but “you have to know what you’re doing,” Migeot says. Hunters must understand when and how to use a call, he says. “Once you can call, hunting changes forever,” says Migeot, who goes duck hunting two to three times a week during the season. “It’s fun to watch ducks respond to what you say to them. It’s a pretty sight seeing them cup their wings and come into the decoys.” Arkansas duck call makers offer many resources to help hunters learn to use their calls. Dunn holds a free training session at his shop in Beebe on Tuesday nights to teach people how to use Echo calls. He says 25 to 35 usually attend.

Teaching kids to use duck calls and getting them interested in duck hunting is essential in keeping the industry alive for future generations, says Richenback, who holds a kids calling clinic each year during the duck festival and teaches anyone who needs help. Dunn also teaches kids the art of duck calling through Green Wings and Ducks Unlimited. Besides the sense of accomplishment, Dunn says, the best part of being in the duck-call business is going hunting every day. “I’m glad to be part of something we really like to do. That’s what makes it worthwhile,” he says. Fleeman says, “it’s nice to hunt with something you’ve made,” and seeing others use his calls is an “awesome feeling.”

Fleeman has several YouTube instructional videos and often teaches people how to use his calls over the phone. In its seventh season, RNT-V, broadcast on the Sportsman Channel, “shows folks our vision on duck hunting,” says Ronquest. It also shows off RNT products, he says. “One of the perks is a lot of time in the field with a camera,” he says, adding that RNT-V produces 13 shows a year, which air twice covering a total of 26 weeks. RNT also works with Ducks Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl in habitat management and other conservation efforts, Ronquest says. “Whether it’s a lifestyle, passion or occupation, if you take care of waterfowl, it will always be there for your kids and grandkids to enjoy,” he says.

Black Ops Duck Calls owner, Mike Fleeman, with his son after a successful hunt.

Arkansas Duck-Call Manufacturers’ Best-Selling Calls Echo Calls – XLT Timber Call

The XLT Timber Call is Echo’s most versatile duck call, producing a loud ringing hail call when hunting big open water. Says Echo’s website: “when you need to get soft and nasty, the XLT Timber Call will put the finishing touches on those hard to work mallards.” Costs are $85 to $140.

Black Ops Duck Calls – Death from Below Duck Call

The Death from Below (DFB) is a Bayou Meto-style duck call that “breaks ‘em high and puts ‘em in your face,” Black Ops’ website says. The DFB is made of a material developed by founder Mike Fleeman that is a combination of plastic and rubber. Cost is $75.

Mojo Duck Calls – Mojo Mellow Yellow

The Mojo Mellow Yellow is made of amber-yellow transparent Tenite, allowing users to see the reed inside the call. The Mellow Yellow call has a “real ducky sound,” with a full range of clear and crisp tones, from the low to high end, says Mojo owner Bob Migeot. It is also an easy call to blow. Cost is $100.

RNT Calls – Alpha 2

The Alpha 2 is a double-reed duck call that produces the raspy sound of a mallard hen. It is made of acrylic with a stainless steel band. RNT’s website says the Alpha 2 gives “the user the forgiveness and ease of use of a double-reed without sacrificing the free bottom of a single reed.” This call is best for timber, fields, open water and public areas. Costs are $85 to $140.

18 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012


Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 19


Public Hunting Opportunities for

Waterfowl in Arkansas Andi Cooper

Moist-soil wetlands provide a variety of seeds and invertebrates important for migrating and wintering waterfowl. Many Ducks Unlimited projects in Arkansas enable proper water management to optimize moist-soil habitats like this one for waterfowl.

Living up to its name as the Natural State, more than 1.1 million Arkansas residents and 1.3 million nonresidents participated in wildlifeassociated recreation in Arkansas last year. Many of these people took advantage of the spectacular public lands across the state to hunt, fish and watch wildlife. Without the essential ingredient of habitat, wildlife would not be available for such recreational pursuits. This basic principle – that habitat drives and supports wildlife populations – is the fundamental belief underpinning Ducks Unlimited’s conservation work for 75 years. Although Ducks Unlimited’s primary mission is to conserve North America’s waterfowl habitats, the second part of the mission statement says, “These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people.” Fortunately, in addition to producing and supporting ducks, many Ducks Unlimited habitat projects also provide places to hunt ducks, deer, turkeys and other game. Of the more than 70 conservation projects on Arkansas public lands in which Ducks Unlimited has been involved, most are open to public hunting.

Ducks Unlimited

In Arkansas, Ducks Unlimited has worked to enhance habitat on every public land managed for waterfowl. And Ducks Unlimited continues to work with public land partners like the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to ensure not only habitat for waterfowl, but also public hunting opportunities for waterfowl hunters. Eastern Arkansas One example of a project that is a clear win-win for waterfowl and 20 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012


waterfowler alike is the Steve N. Wilson/Raft Creek Bottoms Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in east Arkansas. A partnership between Ducks Unlimited, AGFC, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and others brought this 4,063-acre wetland area into public ownership in 2000. The dual objectives of the project were to conserve and restore an important part of the White River wetland system, one of the most important wintering areas for waterfowl in the Mississippi Flyway, and to provide public hunting opportunity. The new WMA enabled AGFC to experiment with ways to improve the quality of public waterfowl hunting, something in which many public-lands hunters in Arkansas expressed interest. Hunting on Raft Creek WMA has been good so far, and hunters have been pleased with the overall quality of the hunting experience. Hunter harvest during the 2011-12 duck season at Raft Creek WMA exceeded three ducks per person per day – a testament to excellent management by AGFC staff and the quality of hunting available. Raft Creek is slated for more habitat improvements this spring through a cooperative effort between Ducks Unlimited, AGFC and NRCS. The same partnership effort will improve waterfowl habitat on Bell Slough WMA this spring as well. Bell Slough WMA offers residents of Little Rock and Conway a convenient opportunity to get out and enjoy more than 2,000 acres of woodlands and wetlands. The Palarm Creek Rest Area offers birders and photographers excellent opportunity to view waterfowl, shorebirds and neotropical migrants while providing important habitat for waterfowl

that can be hunted elsewhere on the WMA. Central Arkansas In just the past year, Ducks Unlimited and AGFC have partnered to restore hydrology on approximately 125 acres at Lee Leblanc Rest Area on Black Swamp WMA in east central Arkansas. Black Swamp WMA is situated adjacent to Cache River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), providing a large block of important bottomland hardwood forest and moist-soil managed habitats. Restoration efforts funded in part by a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant include new water control structures, a new electric pump and power line. Ducks Unlimited recently partnered with the AGFC to enhance 80 acres of moist-soil habitat at Holland Bottoms WMA between Jacksonville and Cabot in central Arkansas. Development of this important wetland area was also made possible by NAWCA funding. Enhancement efforts involved renovating existing levees, installing new water control structures and modifying drainage features in two moist-soil units to maximize water management capabilities for waterfowl. While managed as a rest area by the AGFC, these moist soil areas provide critical resting and foraging habitat for migrating and wintering waterfowl, as well as numerous shorebirds that migrate through the area each fall and spring. Many area birders enjoy watching ducks and shorebirds on the WMA from the south levee of Lake Pickthorne. Waterfowl hunters will also enjoy the area’s location next to a popular green timber hunting area open to the public.

Ducks Unlimited

AGFC staff plant millet on Holland Bottoms WMA and other public lands to provide excellent waterfowl food resources.

Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 21


Hunters on Raft Creek WMA found success in the early teal season this September.

NAWCA grant, the restoration work at Plunkett Rest Area provides increased management capability and improved water delivery. Similar work at the Dixie Unit will improve two existing moist-soil units and add a new unit opened to public hunting. Rest areas are important to ensure waterfowl have sufficient opportunity to feed and rest, particularly in late winter and early spring, but they also enhance hunting opportunity on adjacent areas as waterfowl wing their way to and from these havens.

Ducks Unlimited

Western Arkansas Ducks Unlimited is also working with AGFC and NRCS to enhance waterfowl habitat on Frog Bayou WMA this spring. Frog Bayou is Arkansas’s newest WMA, established in 2005 in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, AGFC and NRCS. Frog Bayou WMA offers excellent waterfowl hunting in western Arkansas and important waterfowl habitat along the Arkansas River. Connecting the Central and Mississippi Flyways, the Arkansas River serves as a corridor for waterfowl winging their way from the prairies through Oklahoma and on to the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. To learn more about Ducks Unlimited’s work in Arkansas, check out www.ducks.org/arkansas.

In partnership with the USFWS, Ducks Unlimited has delivered habitat improvements on several national wildlife refuges in Arkansas as well, including the Cache River NWR. Channelization of the lower seven miles of the Cache River in the 1970’s caused local conservationists and hunters to call for a halt of further alterations to the river. The preserved portion of the Cache became the Cache River NWR, one of the most critical areas for wintering mallards in the country. As one of the few remaining areas in the Lower Mississippi River Valley not drastically altered by channelization and drainage, the Cache River basin contains a variety of unique wetland communities, including some of the most intact and least disturbed bottomland hardwood forests in the Mississippi Valley region. In 2004, Ducks Unlimited, AGFC and the Corps of Engineers came together to call for a $7.5-million project to restore the lower portion of the Cache River. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) joined the partnership and agreed to raise the money needed for match and full project funding. This project has been identified as a pilot project within the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. A portion of the lower 7 miles is slated for restoration in 2013. Ducks Unlimited, TNC, AGFC and other conservation partners are calling for full restoration of the lower section under this national initiative. Most recently, Ducks Unlimited partnered with USFWS staff on Cache River NWR to restore almost 300 acres of moist-soil habitat at Plunkett Rest Area and Dixie Farms Hunt Area near Little Dixie. Funded in part through a 22 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Hunting public lands For those willing to work for their birds, good public hunting is available across the Natural State. In fact, Arkansas has some of the best public waterfowl areas in the country. The reputation of Bayou Meto WMA, for example, is known far and wide, which tends to draw large crowds and heavy hunting pressure. However, there are some areas of Bayou Meto WMA that are overlooked, and days when pressure is significantly reduced. Hunters willing to put in the effort can find quality hunting opportunities on Bayou Meto WMA. Other public lands in Arkansas are often underutilized by waterfowl hunters, providing additional chances for a great hunting experience. Public land hunting can be a nightmare or a dream come true, and much of that depends on preparation and timing. Here are a few strategies that can assist in making the most of these opportunities. Scout the food. As with most hunting, scouting is an integral part of successful waterfowling. However, due to the migratory nature of waterfowl, it’s equally as important to scout habitat as it is to scout where the birds are at any given time. Knowing where waterfowl foods are in abundance, though they may not yet be flooded and available for waterfowl, is critical. Be familiar with how different river stages flood various huntable areas on surrounding public lands like the White River within the White River NWR. Heavy rains can also flood new areas, making fresh food supplies available for migrating and wintering ducks. As new areas with strong food supplies are inundated, waterfowl will pour in to utilize the newly available foods. If you’ve done your homework, you can be


many hunters have prematurely called it a day.

Know the regulations. Knowing and abiding by state, federal and other regulations is the responsibility of each hunter. Many public lands have regulations specific to that area in addition to standard state and federal migratory game bird laws. These most often have to do with days and times of allowable hunting, but also include blind assignment procedures in some places. Time it right. Arriving early to hunting areas managed on a first-come, first-served basis will ensure you get a great spot. If you have the flexibility, hunting on weekdays makes your competition lighter as many folks have to be at work. Some public areas have rest days, when hunting is not allowed. Researchers have shown that hunting success is greatest on days immediately following rest days, so schedule your hunts on those days if possible. Though many public lands in Arkansas require hunters be out of the area by 1:00 p.m. to allow ducks to settle in for the afternoon, staying well into the morning can increase your success. In heavily hunted areas, waterfowl will often fly later in the morning, when

Remember the Golden Rule. Demonstrating basic consideration for others certainly applies to hunting on public areas. In all regards, treat others as you would like to be treated. Don’t sky-bust, block ramps because you’re not fully ready to launch or encroach on other hunters already set up. Respectful behavior will translate into better hunting and greater pleasure for all who share an area.

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Through NRCS programs like WRP, Ducks Unlimited replants bottomland hardwood forests on public lands across Arkansas. Soon these young trees on Frog Bayou WMA will provide excellent hardwood mast and cover for waterfowl in western Arkansas.

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Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 23

Ducks Unlimited

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Delta Dreams New resort offers duck hunting, shooting sports By Janie Ginocchio For Gary Gibb, a dream decades in the making is coming true.

The Dellta Resort and Conference Center near Tiller.

Dynamic clays are thrown that can simulate movements of rabbits, teal and mallards. There are also Olympic bunkers available for trap shooting, and the seasoned professionals at the resort can outfit you with all the necessary gear for your chosen shooting event, even down to guns and ammo. Private and group instruction is also available.

His Delta Resort and Conference Center, located on 2,000 acres of pristine farmland and flooded timberland near Tillar, Ark., is quickly becoming the destination for hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts who want it all – quality facilities, on-site accommodations and activities for the entire family.

In addition to recreational shooting, the resort has hosted several shooting tournaments, with winning purses worth up to $50,000.

Gibb first visited the area in the late 1970s to duck hunt and “just fell in love with the area,” he said. So when an opportunity came up to purchase the property in 2008, he jumped at the chance. “It’s been a dream of ours to come and own property here, and we’ve been blessed,” he said. The property currently has a bed and breakfast, world-class sporting clay and Olympic bunker trap facilities and a hunting club that boasts the best duck hunting in the world. Under construction is a casual dining restaurant and a pro shop that should be open by November, Gibb said, with a 72-room hotel open by December. The 17,500-square-foot conference center should be open for business in early 2013, and can accommodate groups from a few people to 200-300. Future phases include another hotel and a spa, with planned opening dates in mid-2013, Gibb said. Hunting Club Located in the heart of the Mississippi Migratory Bird Flyway, haven to 40 million migrating waterfowl 24 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Top: Guests enjoying the resort’s range. Bottom: Blue Wings

annually, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which makes Delta Resort part of the most abundant waterfowl habitats in North America and some of the best duck hunting in the world. The numerous blinds and pits located throughout the property are immaculately maintained and feature handicap accessibility, according to the Delta Resort website. The 2012 season will be the first time the property will be open for commercial duck hunting. The hunting package at the resort includes accommodations and meals, a guided hunt, transportation to hunting blinds, and duck processing. Shooting Sports For those who like shooting targets of the clay variety, the resort utilizes the natural terrain to create four unique courses that offer plenty of challenges.

Giving Back to the Community While Gibb describes the property as a “resort destination for large corporate businesses” and other visitors, he is also dedicated to giving back to the community in a variety of ways, including making the facilities available to the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program and by preserving the natural habitat of the area. But one project he is especially proud of is the Patricia Mizell Hearing Center, a distance learning facility that will allow hearing-impaired children to be “taught by the best in the world,” he said. “We’re real proud of that,” he said. For more information about the Delta Resort, visit deltaconferencecenter. com or call 800-518-1387.


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Purchasing a Ducks Unlimited license plate for your vehicle benefits Ducks Unlimited’s habitat work in the breeding grounds and here in Arkansas and ultimately, Arkansas duck hunters. Pick one up at your local Arkansas Department of Finance today, or visit Arkansas Ducks Unlimited online at AR.Ducks.Org for more information. Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 25


recognized by others outside of Monroe County.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

The criteria for the Waterfowl Enforcement Officer of the Year award include an officer’s enforcement activities, efforts in protecting waterfowl resources and community involvement. Award winners from each state in the Mississippi Flyway – comprised of 14 states and two Canadian provinces – are then considered for the Mississippi Flyway Officer of the Year award.

Col. Jeff Crow (left) and Michael W. Neal are photographed here holding the plaque honoring Neal as the Law Enforcement Committee Waterfowl Officer of the Year.

Officer of the year

WEO Michael W. Neal talks about his job and his love of duck hunting By Janie Ginocchio It’s been a year of professional distinction for Wildlife Enforcement Officer Michael W. Neal, 52, of Brinkley, but the three awards he’s won – Waterfowl Enforcement Officer of the Year, Mississippi Flyway Council Law Enforcement Officer of the Year and the Campbell award – are just icing on the cake of what he called his dream job. “I’ve always enjoyed law enforcement and being outdoors, hunting and fishing,” he said. “Now, the two things I enjoy doing, I get to do every day.” Before joining the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGCF) as an enforcement officer five years ago, Neal had a career in civilian law enforcement, both as a sergeant in the Monroe County Sheriff’s 26 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Department and as Clarendon’s chief of police. But when the opportunity came to combine his two interests, he jumped at the chance. “I love being out with the duck hunters, getting to meet sportsmen from around the world” who come to take advantage of flocks who stop in the area, which is between the White and Cache River Wildlife Refuges, he said. Neal -- not to be confused with Wildlife Enforcement Officer Michael Neal, who in May 2010 stopped two gunmen who killed two West Memphis police officers and wounded two Crittenden County Sheriff’s deputies – is a man of few words. But his love of the job and the community he serves is evident in his actions, and has been

“Each state has a representative on the council,” Neal said of the flyway award. “It was very special to be selected by my peers.” The Campbell award, founded by former Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner Craig Campbell to honor his grandfather, also a former AGFC commissioner, and his father, a great outdoorsman, is awarded to three AGFC employees in honor of their outstanding leadership; community service; promotion of hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife and conservation to all AGFC constituents; and their service within the scope of their positions at the AGFC. Depending on the season, Neal’s working days can start at 1 a.m. and finish up well after dark, making sure hunters are adhering to bag limits and other hunting regulations, while also keeping an eye out for poachers and investigating complaints. “No two days are alike,” he said. When asked about memorable moments during his tenure, Neal replied, “I always tell my wife, ‘When you think you’ve seen it all, go check on the next sportsman.’” A lifelong duck hunter Neal went on his first duck hunt at the age of 8, and from then on, he was hooked. He and his father and older brother went out regularly, and it is a time in his life that he treasures.


“My dad would take me and my brother and I shot a single-shot .410,” he said. “I was small enough that I couldn’t cock the hammer back.” He paused for a minute before resuming the story, his voice rough with emotion. “Dad would let me shoot first – he’d cock the hammer for me and let me shoot first. Then he and my brother would shoot. It’s something I would never forget.”

Whether you're hunting for ducks or hunting for bucks, we have the truck for you. 2013 GMC SIERRA

Neal said it’s the group aspect of duck hunting that he loves best. “It’s a social sport – not like deer hunting, where you sit in a stand by yourself,” he said. “You and your buddies are out there, and the only time you’re quiet is when you’re working ducks. It’s a way to bond with friends and family. That’s what makes it so special to me.” He said he’d occasionally take his daughter out with him when she was younger, although she never took to it. “She’s never been a big hunter, but she would go out just to be with me,” he said. His 8-year-old grandson, on the other hand, loves to hunt.

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“He and his dad hunt all the time,” Neal said. “If I have time, I’ll swing by when he’s hunting.” After almost five decades in the sport, Neal said he hasn’t seen many changes. “Use of steel shot has been the major change,” he said. “Sometimes when the duck numbers get low, the AGFC would have to change the bad limits, but overall, the sport itself hasn’t changed.” Neal and his wife Renee have been married 30 years. They have one daughter and two grandchildren.

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Hunters adapt & score with Buffalo River elk

PONCA – For Chris Racey of Little Rock, his first elk hunt necessitated some scrambling and on-the-spot change of plans. But it paid off in a 7X6 bull elk from Richland Valley of the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area. Racey was one of two dozen hunters in action with public land permits in the Oct. 29-Nov. 2 hunt. Other hunters were after elk with private land permits in several counties in the Buffalo River area. Many of the public land hunters worked Richland Valley, a 2008 acquisition of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and an addition to Gene Rush WMA. Racey had a unique team with him for the hunt – his wife Jackie and Alice McCutcheon, who lives at Snowball. The team had scouted a total of 15 days before the hunt started. Racey said they found about 50 elk in a field they had not hunted the first day. On the second morning, another hunter arrived in the area first and took a bull elk. Racey said, “Then this bull came out bugling and chasing cows. They were moving toward Richland Creek (the boundary of his hunting zone), and we ran down trying to cut them off. I was out of breath, my glasses fogged, and I had to pull them off. I tried to use my call, and it was frozen. “I got the rifle on my shooting 28 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Courtesy of Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

sticks, and it misfired. I jacked another round into the chamber and shot. Jackie heard it hit, but the bull kept going. Then I shot again, and it went out of sight.” The bull had dropped over the bank of the creek, and they found it dead in the water. Racey said the range was about 225 yards when he shot. He was using a bolt action Savage rifle in .270 Short Magnum caliber and with 150-grain Nosler Partition bullets. Hunting conditions were closer to ideal for the five-day season with cold mornings, little wind and warming temperatures after the sun rose. Largest elk to be taken was by Nathan Ogden of Fayetteville, an 8X7 bull taken on family land west of Boxley Valley. The first elk was from the same area, a 6X6 bull taken by Adam Clark on his family’s land. Clark said he shot the elk at 7:09 on the first morning of the hunt.

Chris Racey with his 7x6 bull elk from Richland Valley of the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area.

Other hunters who took elk with public land permits were: Rip Finley of Mountain Home, 4x4 bull Jeffrey Phillips of Wilburn, 5X5 bull Jarret Yingling of Judsonia, 6X6 bull Robbie Crocker of Murfreesboro, 4X5 bull Justin Holt of Rose Bud, cow Larry Roton of Prairie Grove, cow Bob Middleton of Paragould, cow Kirby Carlton of Jasper, cow Kenny Smith of Marble Falls, cow Bill Bell of Mena, cow Wesley Fletcher of Monticello, cow Dylan York of Salem, cow Joseph Snow of Gravette, cow Richard Loggains of Harrisburg, cow Jimmy Cox of Bono, cow


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Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 31


Ready for a snipe hunt? By Janie Ginocchio

“Snipe hunting” is a childhood rite of passage for a lot of us who grew up in Arkansas, and if you asked the average person, they’d probably tell you a snipe is a made up animal used to fool the gullible. Think again. A news release from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) raised eyebrows in July when it discussed early migratory bird seasons and included names like snipe, woodcock, rail, gallinule and moorhen.

Known as marsh or shore birds, these species are known for their long, slender bill (used for probing mud in search of food) and secretive nature. All of them come to Arkansas in late fall or early winter, and a good place to look for them is lowlands close to major waterways, like along the Arkansas River, according to the AGFC. One of the challenges to hunting these birds is that you need to identify them before hunting, according to the AGFC, and the agency suggests enlisting the help of a bird field guide.

What? “Yes, indeed. You can hunt them – if you know what they are and can identify them and find them,” the release said. “Some Arkansans do, although these hunters could hold a convention on your back deck.”

32 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

So if you know a hunter who’s too jaded for duck or deer hunting, these birds might offer the challenge they’re looking for. Suggested weapons are shotguns with improved cylinder chokes and small size shot like No. 7 ½ or No. 8.

The AGFC also said all of the marsh bird species are tasty, with dark meat that does best with cooking methods that won’t dry it out. Just don’t expect a lot of meat.

The marsh bird seasons and daily limits this year are: Rail Sept. 8-Nov. 16, limit 25 Woodcock Nov. 3-Dec. 17, limit three Common snipe Nov. 1-Feb. 15, limit eight Purple gallinule Sept. 1-Nov. 9, limit 15 Common moorhen Sept. 1-Nov. 9, limit 15


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A n t i q u e

Smith & Wesson R e v o l v e r s By Larry LeMasters Smith & Wesson (S&W) revolvers have long been the preferred side arm of police and military units world wide. Smith & Wesson also produced the most famous revolver ever seen in a movie—the Smith & Wesson Model 29 used by Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan. Clint Eastwood made Inspector Callahan and his .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson famous in the 1971 movie Dirty Harry. Smith & Wesson first produced a .44 Magnum in 1955, designating it Model 29 in 1957. The Model 29 is a six-shot, doubleaction .44 Magnum revolver, most commonly with an 8 ½ inch barrel. Eastwood made the pistol famous when he pointed it at a bank robber, telling him it was a “.44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head cleeeeean off.” Not surprisingly, sales for the Model 29 jumped drastically following the release of Dirty Harry. In 1852, Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company in order to produce a lever-action pistol nicknamed the “Volcanic pistol.” Two advantages the Volcanic pistol had was rapid rate of fire and its ammunition was waterproof. 34 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

However the “Rocket-ball” ammunition used by the Volcanic pistol was too underpowered to be considered a hunting weapon or a true, man stopper. Not long after founding their company, financial problems forced Smith & Wesson to relinquish control of the company to Oliver Winchester, majority investor. Smith & Wesson continued working for Winchester until 1856 when they left the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company and opened a new company—Smith & Wesson. The success of Smith & Wesson was assured when the partners purchased the rights to exclusively use Rollin White’s newly designed revolver and cartridge. White, a gunsmith, held the only patent on a bored through cylinder revolver and selfcontained metallic cartridge. This new revolver became known as Smith & Wesson Model 1. For more than a decade, Smith & Wesson was the sole manufacturer of this type of revolver, and with the beginning of the Civil War only five years later, Smith & Wesson made a proverbial fortune selling its improved Model 2. In 1867, Smith & Wesson started a

global sales campaign, introducing its revolvers and patented ammunition to new countries, such as Russia. The Smith & Wesson Model 3 became known as the “Russian Model” and was a favorite weapon of American Lawman Wyatt Earp. The Model 3 was later adapted by the US Army and became known as the “Schofield,” a weapon that helped settle the West. Like the other Smith and Wesson Model 3s, Schofields were also popular with lawmen and outlaws in the American West, and were reportedly used by Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, Pat Garrett, Theodore Roosevelt, Virgil Earp, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, and many others. Most gun enthusiasts want a .44 Magnum but Smith & Wesson collectors would much rather have a Schofield or an early Volcanic pistol. But wanting and affording, at least for collectors, are often bi-polar conditions. The simplest truth is that, outside of museums, one sees few Volcanic Repeating Arms pistols offered for sale. The odds of ever owning one is not good, but if you are truly interested, you should check premium gun auctions around the country. Recently, a “small frame” Volcanic


The Civil War Period produced a great demand for Smith & Wesson products.

pistol, .31 caliber, was offered for sale at GunsAmerica.com for $9,500. According to GunsAmerica, only 850 of these small frame, lever action pistols, were manufactured between 1857 and 1960, making this a Winchester Volcanic pistol since Smith & Wesson left the company in 1856. On the other hand, owning a genuine S&W Schofield only requires money. Lots of money. Recently Cabelas Fort Worth offered an 1876-77 S&W .45-caliber Schofied with a 7-inch barrel and walnut grips for $7,000.

GunsInternationl.com, an excellent online site for gun collectors, offered an S&W Model 3 (the First model) Schofield for $6,050. This single action revolver was stamped “Wells Fargo & Co. Express,” had a five-inch barrel, and was .45 caliber. According to the website, “After the Spanish American War in 1898, the US Army sold off all their surplus Schofield revolvers. The surplus Schofield revolvers were reconditioned by wholesalers and gunsmiths (at professional factory-quality level) with a considerable number offered for sale on the commercial market with a 5-inch barrel as well as the standard size barrel of 7-inches. Of the most notable purchasers of these reconditioned model 3 Schofield revolvers was Wells Fargo and Company, who purchased the revolvers for use by Wells Fargo Road Agents and had the barrels shortened to a more concealable 5 inch length. These revolvers were then inspected by a Wells Fargo armorer and uniquely stamped “W.F. & CO. EX.” or “Wells Fargo & Co”, along with the original Smith & Wesson serial number re-stamped alongside the Wells Fargo stamping on the flat part of the barrel just forward of the barrel pivot.” The Civil War Period produced a great demand for Smith & Wesson products. The Smith & Wesson No. 2 Army revolver had a 6-inch octagon barrel and six cylinders. When found in above average or excellent condition, these S&W Army No. 2s are valued at about $900 – 1,000. Two other S&W revolvers that greatly interest collectors are the 1857 Model 1, second issue .22-caliber rimfire and the 1899 S&W .38-caliber military and police revolver. The 1857 Model 1 is a beautiful pistol that truly represent the earliest days of .22-caliber production. Collectors who favor .22s always search for Model 1 S&Ws. The 1899 Special Model .38 was equipped with a special hand ejector and was the first .38 revolver to use S&W .38 Special cartridges. Many antique S&W revolvers used a spear trigger without a trigger guard. By modern standards, these are considered “unsafe” pistols, but collectors love any pistol with a spear trigger since it not only is old, it is visually appealing. It has been said that Samuel Colt made all men equal and Winchester was the gun that settled the West, but the truth of these statements has been called into question by the shear number of Smith & Wesson revolvers manufactured from 1856 until 1900 and beyond. S&W revolvers were smaller than the big-handled Colts, and S&W was the first American company to produce a metallic cartridge and bored through cylinder revolver. In short, collectors love Smith & Wesson revolvers because anything that Samuel Colt produced, he did so on the coat tails of Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson.

“Small frame” S&W Volcanic pistol; .31-caliber; $9,500.

1876-77 S&W .45-caliber Schofield revolver. This pistol was offered by Cabelas Fort Worth for $7,000.

S&W Model 3 Schofield that is stamped “Wells Fargo & Co. Express.” This .45-caliber revolver has a five-inch barrel and was recently offered online for $6,050.

S&W Model 1 was the first revolver manufactured by Smith & Wesson. It held seven .22 rimfire cartridges. The Model 1 was discontinued in 1882.

S&W 1889 Military & Police .38 revolver. This was the first .38 to use .38 Special cartridges.

Smith &Wesson Model 1, 2nd Issue; $600.

Rare, S&W Model 3 bored to a .44 Henry cartridge. This unique revolver is valued at $2,150.

Smith & Wesson Lemon Squeezer or “Safety Hammerless.” This double action revolver was manufactured in the late 1880s in both .32 and .38 calibers. Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 35


Hot Fishing in Cold Weather: Lake SWEPCO By Brad Wiegmann

The weather has changed recently. Long gone are the mornings when you wish a cool breeze would blow down the lake. Now there’s a chill in the air. You zip your jacket up tight. A thick, eerie fog hangs over the lake.

There are two sources of water that fills Lake SWEPCO. Little Flint Creek comes in from the upper end and the pump station that takes water from Siloam Springs City Lake pumping it into Lake SWEPCO.

That’s a typical November morning on Lake SWEPCO located in the far northwest corner of Arkansas; where the water temperatures are often higher than the air temperatures. That’s because Lake SWEPCO is a heated lake. The source of this hot water is the Flint Creek Power Plant.

Lake SWEPCO has three areas that are restricted and anglers cannot go into. One is just below the power plant discharge. Another is across from the boat ramp where the intake to the power plant is located. The other is up the Little Flint Creek arm. This is where the Eagle Watch nature Area is located. The large orange buoy lines mark the restricted areas. There are no camping or picnicking areas. No sail boats are allowed on the lake.

The Flint Creek Power Plant is a coal fuel electric power source for SWEPCO customers and Arkansas electric cooperative members. It’s the only base load power plant in Northwest Arkansas. More importantly for anglers, the power plant discharges thousands of gallons of hot water a day into Lake SWEPCO.

A new two lane boat ramp was constructed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and opened in January of 2008; in addition to a paved parking lot that opened later that year. Along with the new ramp, the AGFC built a handicap accessible pier and walkway. Lake SWEPCO is a small 500 acre lake. The shoreline consists of pea gravel and rock boulders. There is still some standing timber in the upper arms of the lake. A number of brush piles have been sunk around offshore structure; in addition to lay downs and brush piles stacked up along the shoreline. The water clarity of Lake SWEPCO is normally clear with a slight tea stain color to it year round. It’s rare for the lake to get muddy or having any floating debris on it; although the lake level will fluctuate depending on the amount of rain received.

Photo by Brad Wiegmann

Anglers fishing the warm waters of Lake SWEPCO will not be disappointed. It’s the only lake in northwest Arkansas where an angler can catch largemouth bass on topwater lures in January or find them spawning in February or March.

Chris Young with his largemouth catch. 36 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

The best locations to fish depend on the time of year. One thing is for certain. There are few anglers out fishing Lake SWEPCO during the hot summer months. On the other hand, Lake SWEPCO becomes more and more crowded the colder it gets. It’s rare to see the parking lot empty even during the week in November, December, January, February and March. Unlike any other lake, Lake SWEPCO is always CONTINUED ON PAGE 38


Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 37


Hot Fishing CONTINUED FROM PG. 36

warmer on the upper end in the water discharge area. The only exception to this is when the power plant shuts down. If the power plant shuts down during the winter months the bass seem to retreat to deeper, offshore habitat quickly. They also refuse to bite. When the power plant has shut down for maintenance or repair and is not discharging hot water, an angler needs to break out his finesse gear. A spinning rod and reel rigged with 6- or 8-pound test lightweight fluorocarbon fishing line. Anglers can tie on a shaky head and rig it with a finesse worm or rig it up to go drop shot small finesse worms off points. If the power plant is discharging hot water it’s the best place on the lake to fish in November and December. The bream and shad will be hanging around this warmer water. Naturally, the bass seem to know this and follow them into this area. Bass will migrate to the discharge area and become more active the colder it gets. Anglers may find the dam area to be the best location for active bass in early November and follow the migration to where bass are bunched up around the discharge in late December.

Current also plays a part in fishing on Lake SWEPCO. The discharge has enough force to make each back close to it have a current and current is a good thing. On Lake SWEPCO, bass use current to their advantage and set up ambush points around cover and structure waiting for baitfish to swim by in the current. Besides the power plant discharge area there are two other popular fishing locations on the lake. One is the east corner of the dam. This is where the water being pumped from Siloam Springs City Lake is discharged below the water level of the lake. The area is shallow and flat, but the current draws baitfish and in turn attracts actively feeding bass. The other area is located on the west end of the dam by the tower. This is where SWEPCO reclaims water that seeps out of the dam back into the lake. When the water level is low enough, anglers can see the cement culvert where the water is being pumped back into the lake. Just like the other area baitfish are attracted to this area and the bass follow. Are there changes in the future of Lake SWEPCO? There could be since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is imposing strict new regulations on power plants throughout the country. As for the fishing, anglers can expect the largemouth bass to continue to grow and get bigger. “SWEPCO still has a population of pure Florida largemouth bass in it along with the northern strain of largemouth bass,” said Moore. Moore noted that many of the two species have united creating a hybrid largemouth with the best qualities of each one. “Bass in Lake SWEPCO also show an excellent growth rate and it has a healthy population of quality bass,” Moore added. For anglers that means Lake SWEPCO is the lake to go and catch a trophy size bass during the winter months.

Photo by Brad Wiegmann

The migration away from the discharge area begins as the bass migrate to pre-spawn areas. That can happen as soon as December. During that time period pea gravel banks, pockets and coves on the west side of Lake SWEPCO will load up with staging pre-spawn bass. The west side is also protected from cold northwest winds. As the lake continues to warm up, bass will move shallow and begin the spawning process.

The thing that amazes anglers the most about Lake SWEPCO is when bass spawn. Unlike other reservoirs, the bass in Lake SWEPCO spawn early. “Of course it depends on the year, but the bass usually will spawn in January and February in Lake SWEPCO,” said Ron Moore, AGFC District 1 Fisheries Supervisor.

Lake SWEPCO 38 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Fishing regulation on Lake SWEPCO: There is a ten largemouth bass daily limit with only one largemouth to exceed 18 inches. Anglers are being encouraged to keep the smaller largemouth at this time.


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Out & About Sunset photographed by David Roe

Arkansas Wild readers share pictures from their outdoor adventures. In the digital age, sharing a trophy harvest is just a few clicks away. On these pages you will see just a few of the many images Arkansas Wild readers have shared with us throughout the summer. If you would like to share your photos with Arkansas Wild, post them to our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ ArkansasWild.

Chloe Belle Grantham during hike at the Arkansas National Post Memorial in Gillett

At Meadow Creek Wildlife Sanctuary near Fox

40 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Photo by Donna Young-Uher

Buffalo River photographed by Becky Foster

White River catch and release by Jim Gaston


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Fly fishing in the fog Photographed by Marjie Jones

4lb Rainbow Trout caught during a guided tour at Gaston’s White River Resort, Photo by Jim Gaston

First buck, taken in Prairie County

Fishing on the Buffalo National River

Zipping at Oachita Bend

A calm day on the river near Heber Springs Photographed by Marjie Jones

42 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

Crappie catch from Nimrod Lake


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Horseshoe Canyon Ranch A Perfect Playground for Rock Climbing, Zip Lining and Swinging

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Jill M. Rohrbach

The Horseshoe Canyon Ranch Adventure Package adds wild excitement to the dude ranch experience for kids and adults of all skill levels interested in rock climbing, zip lines and canyon-sized swings. I had the pleasure of giving it a whirl in late August and felt like a kid on the most awesome playground I have ever seen. The fun takes place in northwest Arkansas on land nestled in the Ozark Mountains amid some of the most beautiful country that Arkansas has to offer. Horses, goats and Longhorn cattle can be seen wandering about the 350 acres of Horseshoe Canyon Ranch. Log cabins and a lodge blend into the environment. Forested hillsides that also contain sandstone cliffs are separated by a long, scenic valley and open pastures. The place is ripe for adventure Horseshoe Canyon is a western dude ranch offering trail rides, hiking, canoeing on the Buffalo National River, rock climbing, skeet shooting, archery, wagon rides, elk viewing, cookouts and more. Additionally, 44 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

there is a petting zoo, fishing pond, disc golf, swimming pool, hot tub, and games in the lodge and barn. Its all-inclusive rates cover lodging, great meals, and activities for all ages with discounts for groups. Activities are typically only available to ranch guests. But its new Adventure Package is offered separately. “It’s one of the few things we ‘a la carte,’ ” Owner Barry Johnson explained. All three adventures in the package – Via Ferrata, The Big Swing, Iron Horse Zip line - offer a challenge, whether physical or mental, and all can be done by kids and adults alike.

Via Ferrata

Relatively new to the U.S. and the ranch is the Via Ferrata, which means “iron way.” A form of rock climbing, you ascend and traverse the sandstone bluffs using a fixed cable and iron rungs bolted into the rock. The use of these allows otherwise difficult routes to be accessible to people with a wide range of climbing abilities.

It’s likely not a familiar term because via ferrate are more popular in Europe. While their origins date back to the 19th century, they are strongly associated for their use in Italy to help transport troops and equipment during WWI. Horseshoe Canyon Ranch has two on its property. The ranch’s latest via ferrata, the one I did, includes a cave portion, and a wire bridge crossing from one cliff face to another above The Big Swing. “It incorporates so much of the outdoor experience,” Johnson said. I’ve done a bit of rock climbing and rappelling, but it’s not something I could go and do on my own. So strapping on a harness and clipping into the via ferrata system was right up my alley. I climbed along the side of the cliff until I rounded a section that opened up to a panoramic view of the landscape, and scrambled through the dim-lit cave. I’d love to cross that bridge at the same time continued on pg. 46


O N LY I N A R K A N S A S Life in Arkansas is unique. That’s one of the reasons why we love it here – and why we have no desire to go anywhere else. We’ve done a lot of growing in our past 80 years, and we’re glad it’s all been inside our borders. It’s how our family-owned bank likes doing business. And our customers seem to think it’s one of the many reasons why banking with us is better. Member FDIC

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Horseshoe Canyon Ranch continued from Pg. 44

perfect because, at least for me, it was a relaxing thrill to soar over the ranch and soak in the view as if I were a bird in flight. It took all of the experiences of that morning and summed them up like the perfect ending to a great movie.

someone was taking a turn on The Big Swing. That would be wild. The via ferrata is definitely a great introduction to the sport of climbing, which is popular at the ranch with well over 300 routes to choose from. Horseshoe Canyon is known in the world-wide climbing community for having some of the finest sandstone sport climbing anywhere. It has been featured in multiple outdoor magazines as one of the best climbing areas east of the Rockies. There are beginner routes and certified ranch guides to show newbies how to climb safely. But seasoned climbing veterans find challenging routes too. In fact, Patagonia pros will be at the ranch’s 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell (www.twofourhell.com), a 24-hour endurance rock climbing competition, taking place Sept. 27-30. About 130 teams participate. “It’s the only competition of its kind in the country,” Johnson explains.

The Big Swing

Make that The Really Big Swing, a.k.a. “The Screamer or Scream Extractor.” High up on an indented cliff, wire cables are bolted into opposing rock faces. Riders, wearing rock climbing harnesses, are attached to that cable via the harness and another cable. Climbing guides use a rope and pulley 46 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

machine to pull the rider back and up. The anticipation is one thing, but it was the moment after the release that really got me, when I realized I was about to fall. Then suddenly I was swinging way out past the cliff faces above the valley spread out below. “The Screamer. It lives up to its name,” Johnson said. I can attest to that having filled the ranch valley with my own piercing cry. I flailed my legs wildly when I swung out to the highest point and hit that moment of weightlessness that comes in between rising and falling back down. I was scared to do it. And I would be scared to do it again. But I most definitely would do it again. The adrenaline rush, the view, the great feeling of overcoming anxiety – all worth it.

Iron Horse Zip line

Horseshoe Canyon Ranch has had zip lines on its property for the past 12 years, but nothing like its new Iron Horse. This monster of a zip stretches 2,300 feet (half a mile) across the picturesque valley of Horseshoe Canyon, and takes riders on speeds up to 50 mph. “It’s the longest in the state and in the top five in the country,” Johnson explained. “It’s certainly the most scenic.” Ending with the Iron Horse is

The Ranch

The rock climbing, swing, and zip lines are sidebars of the business, which is foremost a western dude ranch. Johnson said he doesn’t want to sound cliché, but that it is true when he says the ranch experience changes people. “Staying at the ranch is like joining up with another family,” Johnson explained. “Everyone makes long lasting relationships and memories. That’s probably the most rewarding thing we do.” AOL Travel rated Horseshoe Canyon Ranch one of the top ten dude ranches in the U.S. The ranch is near the Buffalo National River, which became the nation’s first national river in 1972. It is located 7.5 miles west of Jasper, off Ark. 74. Jasper is approximately 20 miles south of Harrison and 68 miles north of Russellville on Ark. 7 in northwest Arkansas. Visit www.gohcr.com for more ranch information. To see videos of the adventure experience, visit the Arkansas Tourism page on YouTube.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Adventurous souls can do all three elements or two-element combinations at prices for adults and children. The cost for the entire package is $115 for adults and $92 for children. Groups receive a 20 percent discount and up to 30 at a time can be accommodated. The ranch offers special pricing at Arkansas.com Hot Deals & Packages (www.arkansas. com/deals-coupons/).


Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 47


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The Art of the

HUNT

50 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012


The photography of A.C. “Chuck” Haralson By Emily Griffin

If you’ve been an Arkansas Wild reader for very long, you’ve become familiar with the beautiful wildlife and scenic vistas photographed by A.C. “Chuck” Haralson. Here you’ll find a selection of some of his artful photography taken during duck hunts in Arkansas—a selection near and dear to the photographer’s heart.

Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 51


Park Gaming and Racing, West Memphis, AR. Tickets on sale at www.deltawaterfowl.org. Contact Gary Harlow via e-mail at gjharlow@aol.com for more information.

FALL FOLIAGE LAKE CRUISE

November 3: Experience the beauty of a tree rainbow along the shores of Lake Maumelle, near Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Join a park interpreter for a guided tour of these amazing colors. Don’t forget your camera—you won’t want to miss the amazing foliage of the Ouachita Mountains. Advance payment is required. Admission: $12 adults, $6 children ages 6-12. Meeting place: Jolly Roger’s Marina. Call 501-8685806 to find out the time of depature and to make your reservations.

U OF A RAZORBACK DU BANQUET

calendar events CENTRAL ARKANSAS MEMBERSHIP BANQUET

November 1: Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Ducks Unlimited with Central Arkansas Chapter. Get ready for hunting season with new items for 2013. Great food and drinks for all. Contact Patton Smith (501-837-8882) or Bill Craig (501-831-0981) now and purchase tickets or reserve your table. Event time: 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Event location: Clear Channel Building.

BRUNCH ON THE BOARDWALK AT LORENCE CREEK

November 2: Escape the buzz of the city and discover this gem of nature just 20 minutes from downtown Little Rock. Located along a slow-moving stretch of Lorence Creek, the area features a beautiful cypress tupelo swamp that supports hundreds of plant and animal species. With a paved path, this is an easy walk and fully accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. We’ll take a leisurely, quarter-mile stroll to the end of the boardwalk, where we’ll enjoy coffee and 52 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

pastries under the tree canopy before heading back on the same path. Cost: $15 per adult. Limit: 15. To register, please contact Lizzy East at 501614-5088 or via e-mail eeast@tnc.org and provide your name, the number of adults (including yourself) and children in your party, your mailing address, phone number and e-mail address. We’ll collect your payment on the day of the field trip. Registrants will receive detailed information about where to meet, what to bring and wear, etc. In general, participants are expected to bring their own lunch and snacks. Most trips are suitable for children; if you have any questions, just ask. Except where noted there is no fee for kids ages 12 and younger, accompanied by an adult.

DELTA WINGS CHAPTER OF DELTA WATERFOWL

November 3: We will be giving away an Arkansas Lifetime Hunting License at this event. Must be present to win and a resident of Arkansas. Is tranferable. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and there will be a live auction at 8 p.m. Event location: Southland

November 8: Join us for the 20th Annual U of A Razorback Chapter DU banquet. The University of Arkansas Chapter is the #1 Collegiate DU Chapter in Arkansas, and this year we are celebrating Ducks Unlimited’s 75th Anniversary! Great fun, food, and fellowship will be on hand at the Pratt Place Barn located just ½ mile West of Razorback Stadium. Live & silent auctions, gun raffles, door prizes, and more...so buy your tickets online today! Bottomless beverage cups will be on hand for $10 at the door. Save $5 by purchasing your student single or couples ticket in advance! Early Bird prices end Oct. 31st! Early Bird tickets also include one ticket for our Arkansas DU Super Raffle for a Yamaha Grizzly package. Ticket prices: $20 single student, $35 for student couple, and $35 for nonstudent. Happy Hour starts at 5:30 p.m.; dinner at 6:30 p.m.; all at the Pratt Place Inn and Barn (2231 W. Markham Road, Fayetteville, AR). For more information contact James Rose at 870-718-9718 or Kinnsey Appleberry at 870-918-6880.

INAUGURAL “RACE THE BASE” TRAIL RUN

November 10: Pinnacle Mountain State Park’s First Annual “Race the Base” will take trail runners around the base of Pinnacle Mountain. The 3 miles of uneven and rocky terrain will provide a challenge for runners of all levels. Sponsored by Partners for Pinnacle, Inc. Contact racethebase2012@gmail.com for details. Meeting place: West Summit Parking. Admission: TBA

SURVIVAL SKILLS WEEKEND

November 10 and 11: Start or add to your knowledge of surviving in the great outdoors. This weekend will be filled with survivor skill workshops such as map and compass, fire starting, shelter building, and more! Contact Pinnacle Mountain State Park for a workshop schedule at 501-868-5806. Advance payment is required for workshops.

HOOTERS’ FALL EVENT

November: 13: Celebrate the opening of duck season by coming to Hooters and enjoying a night of great food and drinks, plus there will be new merchandise for 2013 for you to buy or win! You


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Fishing on Shady Lake

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may purchase tickets at Hooters in North Little Rock or you may purchase them online. Tickets are $25 per person which includes special buffet and pitcher or your favorite beverage. Don’t miss this fall blowout event. Event starts at 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. For more information contact Pat Mahan at 501-743-6154 or Matt Robinson at 501-4128055.

HURRICANE LAKE DUCKS UNLIMITED

November 17: This event will take place at the White County Fairgrounds (802 Davis Drive, Searcy). Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Admission: $45 for singles and $70 for couples. For more information contact Roger McClain at 501-412-2621 or Stephanie Conway at 501-743-0572.

DUTCH OVEN COOKING WORKSHOP

November 17: 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 successful Dutch oven cooking. Contact Pinnacle Mountain State Park for a workshop schedule at 501868-5806. Advance payment is required for workshop.

World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest & Wings over the prairie festival

November 17 thru 24: The festival will start (Saturday 11/17) with the Queen Mallard and Jr. Queen Mallard Pageants, Duck Widows Tennis Tournament, and Wings Over the Prairie Festival, followed by Carnival and Midway, Youth Duck Calling Contest (Wednesday), Carnival & Midway continuing (Thursday), and registration opens for all contests (Friday) Children’s Duck Calling Class, Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest, Junior Women’s World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, Intermediate World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, Last Chance Regional Duck Calling Contest, Carnival & Midway continuing, Arts & Crafts Fair, Commercial Exhibits, Sporting Collectibles Show, Off Road Village, Sportsman’s Party; with the event concluding (Saturday 11/24) with Great 10K Duck Race, Arts & Crafts Fair, Commercial Exhibits, Sporting Collectibles Show, Off Road Village, Junior World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, Senior World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-off, Women’s World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest and 77th Annual World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. For more information on dates and times visit www.stuttgartarkansas.org.

54 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

November 18: Often overlooked, the East Quarry peak is an interesting area for unique rocks, plants, and animals, park and area history, and amazing vista landscapes. Join us for a mildly strenuous, 2 ½ mile hike on the East Quarry Trail. Please bring plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes; binoculars and cameras are recommended. Contact Pinnacle Mountain State Park at 501-868-5806 for more information.

FALL HAYRIDE AND CAMPFIRE

November 24: Jostle, bounce, and laugh your way across the fields and through the woods on a guided hayride followed by a warm campfire, stories, hot chocolate, and marshmallows. Advance payment is required. Event place: Pinnacle Valley Road, ¼ mile East of Hwy. 300. Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12. For more information contact Pinnacle Mountain State Park at 501-868-5806.

R. K. GUN & KNIFE SHOW

November 24 and 25: This event will take place at the Civic Center (2323 S. Old Missouri Road) in Springdale, AR. Number of tables 200. Private sales are allowed. Ammo sales are allowed. Powder sales are allowed. Event time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 24 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 25. For more information call 563-927-8176 or e-mail kehrli8@n-connect.net or visit www.rkshows.com.

CHRISTMAS TREE CUT AND NATURE HIKE IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS

December 1: Cedar trees can be pesky on our preserves, but they make fun, fragrant Christmas trees. Give the landscape a gift and have a fun family outing as you choose and cut your own

Christmas tree. State Director Scott Simon will lead a nature walk and Clint Harris will get us into the Christmas spirit with a warm, dutchoven dessert. The location won’t be more than 1.5 hours away from Little Rock. We’ll meet at the Conservancy’s Little Rock Office at 9 a.m. and caravan to the site. Tools will be provided; please bring sturdy shoes, work gloves and eye protection. Cost: $25 per family. To register, please contact Lizzy East at 501-614-5088 or via e-mail eeast@ tnc.org and provide your name, the number of adults (including yourself) and children in your party, your mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. We’ll collect your payment on the day of the field trip. Registrants will receive detailed information about where to meet, what to bring and wear, etc. In general, participants are expected to bring their own lunch and snacks. Most trips are suitable for children; if you have any questions, just ask. Except where noted, there is no fee for kids ages 12 and younger, accompanied by an adult.

WINTER DISCOVERY LAKE CRUISE

December 1: Come prepared to discover Lake Maumelle as it springs to life…in the middle of winter! Pinnacle Mountain State Park and its surrounding water bodies host thousands of animals that have migrated south for the winter. A park, interpreter will guide the way as we search for critters of all kinds that spend the winter around the lake, hopefully even a few bald eagles. Dress in layers for extreme cold and windy lake weather. Advance payment is required. Admission: $12 adults, $6 children ages 6-12. Contact Pinnacle Mountain State Park at 501-868-5806 for meeting place and time.

WINTER IN THE PARK

December 15: Everyone camping in Lake Catherine State Park is encouraged to decorate and show

Photo by Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce

EAST QUARRY EXPLORATION HIKE


their holiday spirit. Prizes will be given to the top three sites that are decorated the best. We will have interpretive programs such as making tree cookie ornaments and homemade hot chocolate, and other programs focused on nature and winter in the park. Contact the park for a detailed schedule at 501-844-4176 or visit www.arkansasstateparks.com.

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December 29: Celebrate the end of the year and Arkansas duck season with Stuttgart Ducks Unlimited Chapter. Event place: Grand Prairie Center (2709 Hwy. 165 South, Stuttgart). Event time: 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. Contact Lester Sieber at 870-946-5713 or Lew Eddleman at 501-951-1251 for tickets or for more information.

FLAME ON 2013 YOUTH MOVEMENT STUDENT SLAM

December 29 thru January 1, 2013: High impact student conference especially for CMA Youth Movement students age 12-18, 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 opened over the summer of 2012 thru December 7th, so if you haven’t already registered, do so. Event place: Iron Mountain (in Hatfield, AR). Hosted by CMA (Christian Motorcycles Association). For more information call 870-389-6196 or visit www.cmausa.org.

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MIDNIGHT ON THE MOUNTAIN

December 31 thru January 1, 2013: Join us for the end of the holiday season and to help ring in 2013 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 music, hors d’ oeurves, party favors, and more. Tickets are limited. 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! Contact the park for more details, tickets, and to make reservations at 479-963-8502 or visit www.arkansasstateparks.com.

join us

NEW YEAR DAY BICYCLE RIDE

January 1: Come join the fun on our Annual ride with Arkansas Bicycle Club into east Pulaski County and return for about 30 miles. Check on the time, but it will probably start at 9:30 a.m. Contact Jim Britt at 501-912-1449 for exact time and meeting place.

WILD WOMEN WEDNESDAY

January 2: Join Park Interpreter Maryanne and Central Arkansas Master Naturalists for a ladies’ hike on one of Pinnacle Mountain’s gorgeous trails. Please call for location. This hike is part of the Women’s Winter Hiking series, every Wednesday from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. through the end of March. Contact Pinnacle Mountain State Park at 501-868-5806 for more information.

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WILD Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 55


Photo by Daisy Outdoor Products

IN THE KNOW

from left to right: Kelly Mulvihill, Director, Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center; Ray Hobbs, President & C.E.O. of Daisy; and Chad Lowe, Education Program Specialist, JHARVNC

Daisy Donates BB Gun Ranges to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Shooting Safety Programs

FT. SMITH – Daisy Outdoor Products President, C.E.O. and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ray Hobbs, today announced the company’s partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s shooting safety programs. Daisy has donated four inflatable BB gun ranges to the AGFC. Hobbs recently agreed to join the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation board of directors primarily because of the organization’s interest in further development of their shooting safety programs. It is fitting that this partnership was initially unveiled at the AGFC’s Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center in Ft. Smith during “National Hunting and Fishing Days”. “Daisy BB guns and pellet rifles and pistols are wellrecognized as being everyone’s first introduction to the shooting sports,” stated Hobbs. “I can’t count how many people have told me that they took their first shot with a Daisy. Daisy is the company that is teaching America to shoot. Shooting is a safe and fun sport and just about anyone can shoot. Having qualified instructors working 56 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

one-on-one with these young people and first-time shooters at these portable ranges represents a tremendous opportunity for both of our organizations to work together to safely introduce young and first-time shooters to the great sport of shooting.” Daisy donated four of their inflatable BB gun ranges to the AGFC; one to be stationed at each of their four nature centers in Ft. Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff and Little Rock. The ranges are completely enclosed and have two firing positions with target runners. Instructors work with shooters one-onone to teach them shooting safety rules and marksmanship techniques using Daisy youth BB guns such as the famous Daisy Red Ryder. Daisy has pledged to furnish and maintain the BB guns, ammo, targets and shooting glasses necessary for the AGFC to administer the program. “These Daisy inflatable ranges are portable and set up in minutes,” stated Eric De Vries, the AGFC’s Assistant Chief of Education and Information. “Staffing them at an event like this makes it easy for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to put our shooting safety outreach program and curriculum into action.” The AGFC’s shooting safety program is dedicated to the safe enjoyment of the outdoors. Through the program, students


learn not only firearms safety, but general woodsmanship and basic outdoors survival skills. Daisy is the world’s oldest and largest marketer of airguns and related products. The company is over 125 years old and has been a cornerstone of Arkansas industry since it relocated to Rogers in 1958. The company’s products, marketed under the brands Daisy, PowerLine, AVANTI and Winchester® Air Rifles, can be found at www.daisy.com and www. winchesterairrifles.com

New shooting range to be built in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE – The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, in partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the City of Jacksonville, this week announced plans for a state-of-the-art shooting range facility to be built near the intersection of Loop Road and Graham Road in Jacksonville. The facility will be used for shooting sports and archery, and will be the largest of its kind in the state with 13 ranges and room for expansion. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday at the site, attended by supporters of the range mission as well as Governor Mike Beebe. The range will be called the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Shooting Sports Complex. “We are very pleased to announce the groundbreaking for this one-of-akind facility,” said Bobby Martin, current chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. “Upon completion, this will be the premier shooting range facility in the state.” Arkansas leads the nation in shooting sports participants, thanks largely to the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, which is an AGFC program. Over 7,000 students participate in the program each year. Teams are made up of participants from both public and private schools, 4-H and other community organizations. The junior division is made up of 6th through 8th

grade students, and the senior division is made up of 9th through 12th grade students. The AGFC will utilize the range for activities and tournaments. Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher said, “This range is going to be a tremendous asset to Jacksonville and the state of Arkansas, and we are excited to be a part of such a large project. The City of Jacksonville has donated the land for this fine facility and fully supports this initiative.” A capital campaign will be launched in early 2013 to support the plans for building the facility. The Game and Fish Foundation is funding the project, along with contributions from the capital campaign. Bond Engineering is developing the site and Wittenberg, Deloney and Davidson Inc. is the architectural firm designing the complex.

Army worm outbreak takes toll on wildlife plantings

ST. JOE – Two days previously, the grass in a large planting for wildlife was lush, green and more than knee high. Two days later it was gone.

GOM Geocache of the month

This featured cache is part of the special geocaches placed by Arkansas Tourism located along Arkansas’s Great River Road National Scenic Byway. Located south of Eudora, the cache is named “Arkansas Great River Road: Welcome to Arkansas!.” The coordinates of the cache are N 33° 00.290 W 091° 13.344. The cache is a camoflaged container and is rated 2.5 in difficulty and 2.5 in terrain. It contains only a log. Please bring your own pen or pencil. This cache is located near the Arkansas/ Louisiana border, thus the name. As always, cachers should be very careful when searching for a cache. This hide is located near a roadway.

Biologist Stacey Clark with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission pointed out devastation left in large areas on the Richland Valley Sonny Varnell Conservation Area, a part of the agency’s Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area near the Buffalo River in Newton and Searcy counties.

This hide is part of the Arkansas Great River Road Power Trail, a series of more than 100 caches placed in Chicot and Desha Counties in south Arkansas. The power trail has been extremely popular with geocachers throughout the state and the region.

The assault by the army worms isn’t an isolated case. It has happened on other wildlife management areas and on pastures, hay fields and even lawns in many areas of Arkansas.

For more on geocaching in The Natural State, visit www.Arkansas.com/ geocache. For more information on the “Arkansas Great River Road: Welcome to Arkansas!” cache, log on to www. Geocaching.com/seek and search by GC code for GC2QTFT. For questions email DeltaTraveler@gmail.com.

Army worms are nothing new. Why they appeared now and in such numbers is debatable. Some blame the arrival of the worms on 2012’s unusual weather in Arkansas – prolonged drought that was ended by Hurricane Isaac’s remnants of heavy rain in some areas and strong winds. In Richland Valley, the army worms were highly selective. They went for

Fall 2012  Arkansas Wild | 57


Knoedl named AGFC director

IN THE KNOW

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today named almost 27-year veteran Mike Knoedl to serve as the agency’s director. Knoedl, who began his career with the AGFC in 1985, has served as the agency’s deputy director since 2011. Knoedl was selected with the support of all seven voting commissioners. He replaces Loren Hitchcock, who has announced his retirement.

Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, bugwood.org

“Mike is a great leader,” Commissioner Steve Cook said. “His experience leading our largest divisions will be invaluable as director. Mike will look for input and guidance from the great AGFC employees who have dedicated their lives to this agency. I expect great things from him. He’s the right person to lead us into the future.” Knoedl began his AGFC career in 1985 as a Perry County wildlife officer. In 2008, he became chief of the Enforcement Division, a position he held until 2011.

Army Worm

the good stuff, plantings intended for elk, deer and other wildlife. The worms ignored weeds and nuisance growths like horse nettles and cockleburs, Clark said. “They got to the millet, orchard grass, clovers, Bermuda grass and wheat. They ate crab grass and Johnson grass. They ate everything right down to the ground. In the case of the winter wheat we had planted, they ate what was in the sun but left what was in the shade.” Fighting the worms with insecticides is an option although an expensive one. And the worms strike so quickly that rigging up and spraying with an insecticide may come too late. The worms can hit and leave virtually overnight, turning into small moths. The worms eat the green part of vegetation – grass blades and leaves. They pass up stems and woody material. Army worms have a life cycle of just 30 days or so from egg to worm to moth. They reproduce on or in the ground instead of in trees and shrubs like tent worms. Clark said the loss of food for wildlife in Richland Valley is extensive, but probably not devastating. “The elk may move up into the woods and feed on acorns,” he said. For cattle raisers, the impact may be greater. With much of a pasture wiped out by army worms, a rancher may not have the options enjoyed by mobile and adaptable wildlife. David Long, AGFC’s private lands coordinator, said, “Landowners desiring specific insecticide recommendations, whether it’s wildlife food plots or pasture forages, should contact their county extension agent for recommendations.”

58 | Arkansas Wild  Fall 2012

“It’s a great honor to lead the intelligent, enthusiastic professional staff at our agency,” Knoedl said. “We are going to roll up our sleeves and go to work together as a team.” Knoedl was chosen from three finalists for the AGFC director’s position. The Commission met with the three finalists for the director’s post late last month. Knoedl was born and raised in Pulaski County. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Criminal Justice Institute. He is married to the former Lisa Garlington and has four grown children.

St. Francis Lake drawdown required for repairs

TRUMANN – St. Francis Lake is being drawn down to make emergency repairs to an eroded area near the dam. The popular northeast Arkansas lake is located near Trumann in Poinsett County. Due to past flooding, significant erosion has occurred near the Payneway dam and the washout is allowing water to go around the structure. Draw down of the lake began on Oct. 25 and will continue until the repair work is complete. The repair site is to the east of the dam. During the Oct. 25 AGFC commission meeting, a minute order was passed for $138,500 to repair the area. A contractor for the AGFC has begun the repair work with completion expected in December weather permitting. The eroded area is preventing the AGFC from holding water and following the WMA’s normal flooding routine. As soon as possible, the AGFC will begin raising water levels in preparation for waterfowl season. St. Francis Lake is a large open expanse of water that is actually a wide part of the St. Francis River. The lake is fairly shallow due to accelerated silt deposits over the years, but still provides good catfish, bass, bream and crappie fishing. Access to the lake may be obtained from either the Siphons Access or Oak Donnick Access.


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Arkansas Wild