November 22, 2011
Stuttgart, Arkansas: America's Duck City?
By Chad Love
So what's the duckiest city in America? Stuttgart, Arkansas, according to this Reuters story:
Rocker Ted Nugent has hunted duck in Arkansas. So have former Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They are not alone. Stuttgart, about 55 miles east of Little Rock, is known as the duck capital of the world. For the next two months, thousands of hunters will descend on eastern Arkansas and drop millions into the state's economy. The Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce estimates that duck hunting contributes more than $1 million a day to the town's economy. This year's season opened on Saturday.
Stuttgart thrives on its duck hunting heritage. Businesses erect banners welcoming hunters. The Best Western is named the Duck Inn and has the Duck Blind Lounge. The Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie hosts a "Waterfowl Wing," a permanent exhibit that replicates a duck hunt along with a collection of decoys and guns. Posh duck lodges, sitting on hundreds of acres of prime hunting land, pepper the outskirts of Stuttgart. The Queen Mallard and Junior Queen Mallard pageants kicked off the weeklong Wings Over the Prairie Festival on Saturday. The week closes with a street festival and the world championship duck calling contests, which began in 1936, and a duck gumbo cook-off. Former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee calls Arkansas the "holy grail of duck hunting."
I'm not sure about Arkansas being the "Holy Grail" of duck hunting, but there's no denying that Stuttgart is one of the top duck hunting destinations in North America, and something every waterfowler should experience at least once (I'm still waiting and hoping). Have you hunted the Stuttgart area? What's your personal waterfowling "Holy Grail?" Chesapeake Bay? Louisiana? The Dakotas? Canada? Where would you go if money and time were no object?