Waterfowl Conservation

By John Criner Outdoors Columnist

As duck hunters, we always want to “get our limit” and that does not always happen. Sometimes our shooting is bad or we may be set up wrong, but the most common reason is a shortage of ducks. Ducks are born and raised in the northern prairie states of the USA and Canada. You might think there is nothing an Arkansas duck hunter can do to grow more ducks. Wrong! There are two national organizations whose purpose is the production of waterfowl and we have chapters of both groups in Crittenden County. Both groups do a great job of raising money to support the organizations. Delta Waterfowl usually has the first membership banquet just before duck season opens a little before Thanksgiving. This gets the hunters in the mood with good food and door prizes. Next fall there will be a lot more on Delta Waterfowl with time and place for the get together. It’s a fun event and you will see many fellow hunters. Ducks Unlimited is usually after waterfowl season has ended. The East Arkansas Chapter of DU was started in Crittenden County in the fall of 1973. The founding fathers were Tommy Graham, Don Brawley, Harry Mitchell, Benny Webb and Papa Duck. We had a get together meeting at the old Wonder City Restaurant and about 30 people showed up. Tommy Graham, whose folk’s owned the Sportsman Onestop was elected president. Committees were set up and an early November date was chosen. The banquet was booked at the Meadowbrook Country club. At that time there were only two other chapters in Arkansas, Little Rock and Texarkana. We named it the East Arkansas Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. It was number 3 in the state. There are dozens of chapters now. As time drew near, we were in a panic mode and hoped that we could get fifty people. Not to fear, we had over 250 people and the committee did not get to eat. Not enough food had been prepared. Since those days of yesteryear, there have been chapters in Marion, Hughes, Earle and other close towns. Ducks Unlimited had its national headquarters in Memphis out in the Ag Center area. Justin Callahan is the director for this area and over sees the different banquets. This Saturday, March 5, 2016, Marion Ducks Unlimited Chapter will hold its annual banquet at the Marion Convention Center, better known as Greenway Equipment Co. on Hwy. 64 at Marion. The doors open at 6 p.m. with eating about 7 p.m. There will be guns and other duck hunting related items to win. There are over 20 guns. There are a lot of good things to win and take home. You might win the free duck mount that Lakeside Taxidermy is giving away. For more information and details, along with prices and reserved tables, call Justin Callahan and his crew of helpers. The committee always does a good job. There are Early Bird prices starting at $40 for a single, $15 for youth and get a quote on Sponsors Tables. Justin’s number is 870-636-1701. Call him for all the details. Thanks for the pictures and stories. I look forward to seeing you at the DU Banquet. Not only will you get a great meal of fish and all the trimmings, you can relive the season with your friends. Some folks did not get as good a duck season as they wanted, but think about how bad it would have been without these groups working to get you ducks. Hunting season is about over, so take a kid fishing. I hope he catches more than you do. Papa Duck Lakeside Taxidermy 870-732-0455 or 901-482-3430 jhcriner@hotmail.com

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