Meridian Star

December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas - with the ducks

By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Robert Smith scanned the skies with rapt attention and expectation of the ducks that were sure to be arriving soon. As Smith watched for ducks in the cypress brake he instinctively sent out a few seductive calls and was promptly answered by a mallard hen from somewhere in the distance. Minutes later she came within range of Johnny Cumberland and Henry Eldridge and our first duck of the hunt was history.

    Nestled among cypress knees rising up from the banks of the cypress break near Alicia, Arkansas we were in the perfect ambush spot, a scene that would be reminiscent from some of Ernest Hemmingway’s hunting stories and novels. If this wasn’t heaven for the ducks and duck hunters, then we were to be in Second Heaven later in the day, smack dab in some of the best rice fields and duck hunting in the world.

    Though our day started slowly, Robert Smith worked more of his magic on any duck that happened by within hearing distance. During a lull in the action a pair of ducks dropped from the skies and plopped down right among the decoys in front of the group. Smith promptly rose up and dropped both ducks as they rose above the water, knowing that they’d been had the instant they landed.

    When it comes to duck hunting, there’s probably nobody around that loves calling and hunting ducks as much as Robert Smith. And not too many are better wing shooters than this avid hunter and Delta born lad. Duck hunting is one thing but duck calling and shooting is another matter and Smith has all three down pat.

    I joined Smith and several of his friends on a duck hunt recently and had a great time in the process. During the afternoon hunt we were treated to a wildlife scene straight out of the heart of the Arkansas Delta and greeted by thousands of geese of several varieties smack dab in the flooded rice fields. During the afternoon hunt Smith and I were joined in the sunken pit blind by Doyle Bryan, Mitchell Moffett and Jack Rush.

    We’d hardly gotten settled in when Smith’s magic began working again. Before we knew it a pintail was cupped and dropping fast in a spiraling loop that took him straight down towards our decoys and our first kill of the afternoon was registered as shotguns rang out. While we were hunting ducks in the flooded rice fields thousands upon thousands of geese were flying overhead, around and near us.

    The geese were constantly honking while landing and flying and the action was almost nonstop. With bluebird skies we enjoyed the show and killed a few ducks as well. The ducks were working the decoy spread pretty good and along with Smith and Bryan’s calling we were treated to some great calling and shooting.

    Occasionally the geese would fly by enticingly close and one group of speckle belly’s flew a bit too close thanks to Smith’s enticing come hither calls. This group arrived right on time and just in range as shotguns roared and geese plummeted to the water. Several geese were shot from the flock overhead and Doyle Bryan’s trusty lab quickly captured any that fell within range.

    As the sun set on our day we had harvested an assortment of ducks and geese and been treated to a spectacular wildlife scene and show as ducks, bald eagles and geese flew nearby giving us constant live stream action to watch, no video playbacks needed. What better Christmas gift than spending a day in a pit blind in a flooded rice field with friends and fantastic duck hunting action! Christmas with the ducks, now that’s my kind of day.

    Contact  Mike Giles at 601-917-3898 or e-mail him at