November 20, 2004-- 10:35 p.m. CST
LIGHT, AR-- The ducks are flying and the ducks are falling, as hunters take to the fields and flooded timber for Arkansas' season opener.
Duck season is now open in Arkansas and with it comes hunters from all over the world looking to cash in on the state's bumper crop of big birds. That translates into more than $100,000,000 for the state's economy, all brought in during the 60 day season. But for hunters, it's not about the dollars, it's about the ducks.
"Pumped up. Pumped up!" exclaimed Jeff Morris of Huntsville, Alabama. "That's about the only way you can describe opening day."
Over the fileds of the Cache River Mallard Farms, it was a grey sky filled with a fantasia of fluttering feathers, working the decoys and working into range.
"Like little kids in the candy store," said hunter Brad Burroughs. "You get all happy and you can't describe the feeling. It's just wonderful, you get goosebumps when you start hearing the quacking, you can't beat it."
The morning ends only after a limit is reached and bragging rights begin. "I'm from Alabama," said Burroughs. "We don't see ducks like this back home. They come in here by the boat load. They come in hundreds at a time."
Some say Stuttgart is the duck capital, but all those ducks have to fly over northeast Arkansas first. "They sure do," said Anthony Hulen. "And the way we've been doing the last few years, a lot of them don't make it to Stuttgart."
So if Stuttgart is the capital, I guess that makes Region 8, 'Duckingham Palace.' "I've been coming here for 17 years," said Morris. "I've never been disappointed, never been sad, always gone home with a limit and had a good time."
Duck hunting guide Scott Brady said, "Another great opening day and I look forward to many, many more and just thank the good Lord that we get to come out here this year.