Governor Hutchinson’s Weekly Address | An Arkansas tradition like no other
Governor Hutchinson’s weekly radio address is available in MP3 format and can be downloaded HERE.
LITTLE STONE – This weekend begins a special tradition in the natural state, and today I would like to talk about what it means to me and to our state.
Arkansas duck season begins this Saturday and hunters from around the world migrate to our flooded woods and farm fields for this annual event. The rich tradition of duck hunting has united Arkansas families for generations and creates memories that last a lifetime.
But duck season in Arkansas offers more than souvenirs and food on the table. Duck hunting contributes to our state’s economy and provides employment for Arkansans.
The duck capital of the world is located about an hour’s drive from Little Rock in Stuttgart. Their local Chamber of Commerce estimates that duck hunting brings in over $1 million per duck season day each year. Hunters come to Arkansas to eat at our restaurants, shop at our stores, and stay at our hotels for the chance to hunt our legendary greenwood-flooded public lands.
These hunters have many reasons to visit Arkansas besides hunting our public lands. Every year, the Wings Over the Prairie festival is held in downtown Stuttgart. The week-long festival has something for everyone in the family. Historical re-enactments, a carnival, cooking duck okra and, of course, the World Duck Calling Contest are all part of this celebration of duck hunting in Arkansas.
As a native of the hills of northwest Arkansas, duck hunting hasn’t always been a part of my life like it has been for those who grew up in the Delta. But as I take my kids and grandkids to see the sun set over flooded woods, I’m reminded of how special and unique Arkansas is. I will never forget seeing the joy on his face when my grandson caught his first banded duck a few years ago.
Part of being a responsible hunter is conserving the resources we hold dear for future generations. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission works tirelessly to ensure that our state’s habitat is not only ready for the millions of migrating ducks heading south, but can support them for generations to come. .
The memories created and lessons learned in A Blind Duck will often follow us throughout our lives. Patience, discipline, and preparation all play a part in a successful hunt and a successful life. As we set our alarms earlier than normal this weekend, I wish our duck hunters a safe and happy opening day. I hope you plan on having jalapeno duck poppers with your Thanksgiving party, because I know I will.
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