Apr 5, 2017 - Are stories from the duck club sometimes better than the actual hunting? Well, maybe not better than the hunt itself, but some stories do indeed live on in infamy.
The last hen had just fallen, signaling an end to the morning hunt. Daylight was creeping its way through the flooded green timber of east central Arkansas, and a group of hunters from Florida was processing the fact that their morning hunt – the second day of their first trip to the duck mecca of greater Stuttgart, Arkansas -- had just ended a little prematurely.
It was November 1978, just before Thanksgiving, and back in those days Arkansas used a point system to regulate what hunters could take on a given hunt. Knee deep in cold, flooded timber, under a canopy of descending ducks at daybreak, their guide Billy had informed the group that it could take just three more greenheads or one more hen. It had been a productive morning, flocks of ducks offered up for hunters tucked into a nice little hole under perfect conditions. May as well have been fish in a barrel.
One member of the group, “John,” was from Little Rock originally and an experienced duck hunter. He had arranged for this trip to Bear Bayou just south of Stuttgart, a honey hole of a camp accessible only by boat. [Let’s just assume it was a War Eagle.]
John hunted often with his Florida friends on about 10,000 acres the group leased in the north central part of that state. They hunted turkey, quail, deer. But duck hunting in the green timber of east Arkansas was something he wanted the rest of the group to experience. And John said the conditions on this particular trip were the best he’s ever experienced. Ducks falling like manna from heaven, the sound of their wings an overpowering sensation. One even grazed his wide-bream hat as it descended into the timber and landed just behind him.
Visit America Hunt to read the rest of the story, titled, “Great Shot, Dempsey.” It explores the meaning of “gravitas,” and it’ll have you longing for late autumn.