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Arkansas will quack to begin the much awaited duck hunting season



Stuttgart, Arkansas – This weekend, hunters from all over the state and the globe will congregate in the flooded rice fields and timber that make our state a popular destination for waterfowl.

Arkansas County is the destination for waterfowl’s yearly migration, making the Arkansas Grand Prairie well-known as the world’s premier duck hunting destination.

In 1944, the proprietor of a small hardware store on Stuttgart’s Main Street saw an increasing number of duck hunters visiting the region and staying at the Rice Hotel across the street. After starting to store goods for hunters to buy, M.T. McCollum finally acquired the structure next to his McCollum’s Hardware Store.

“The founder saw that there was an opportunity there so he, the building next door to the hardware store, he bought it…Cut an archway and put in a sporting goods store there in 1944,” says Chuck Lock, now the co-owner of Mack’s Prairie Wings.

Lock was born and raised in Stuttgart, where he recalls the original Main Street Mack’s Prairie Wings. He has been employed at Mack’s for 47 duck seasons this year.

My dad was a very avid hunter and fisherman, and matter of fact, he took me to that other store and bought me my first bow,” Lock said. “Take your kid hunting and you won’t have to hunt your kid.”

Mack’s is always the first stop in this tradition, which was begun a few years ago by Russellville resident Spanky Raines and his son.

If you bring them up duck hunting, then usually they are too broke to get into any other trouble really,” said Raines. “You always got to get new camo when you come down to Stuttgart. You got to make your pilgrimage to Mack’s of course and stock up on shells and clothes so just looking forward to it.”

Mack’s Prairie Wings moved to its current location on Highway 63 in 2000, having previously had a store on Main Street. They opened a second facility there in 1967.

Before passing away in June of this year, Marion, the son of M.T. McCollum, guided the store to decades of prosperity. The hunting season without him will begin this year.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission estimates that 100,000 hunters will visit the duck blind this year, contributing to the state’s daily economic impact of slightly over a million dollars.

For an entire year, Raines has been waiting for this particular season.

My grandpa told me years ago when I told him I was gonna start duck hunting, he told me not to because it’s a lot like cocaine,” Raines said. “It’s highly addictive and it’s highly expensive. You just work all year for this time of year.”

There are 60 days in the Arkansas waterfowl season. The first three-part series begins on November 18 and ends on November 26. The second part begins on December 10.


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