Arkansas Duck Hunting at Stan Jones Mallard Lodge
Stan Jones has been guiding duck hunters for over thirty years in Arkansas, treating them to some of the best duck hunting in the world. About five years ago, Stan opened up his new "Stan Jones Mallard Lodge" that has met with international acclaim. The Stan Jones Mallard Lodge is a little over two hours from Little Rock, located right past "resume speed" in the Alicia, Arkansas area.
Stan's Lodge is manicured, a beautiful spot that is popular with hunters, for corporate events and weddings. It has all the amenities that anyone could ask for, with an outstanding staff. Chef Jay Taggart gives everyone exceptional fine dining to go along with the fine hunting.
Our little group consisted of Rose Bier from the NRA's American Hunter magazine, Michelle Cerino from Women's Outdoor News, Remington engineer Vince Norton, Remington ammunition specialist Ronnie Evans and myself. Michelle Cerino tends to scream when she shoots, so if you hear Michelle screaming it is usually in your best interest to take cover . . . quickly. The women are no doubt still walking on a cloud after hunting with Ronnie Evans; he has that effect on people.
With clients flying in from across the country and around the world, Stan Jones has an ample array of everything needed or wanted for the hunts. As Stan's guns take a beating, it was important for him to go with shotguns that don't break and need very little maintenance. Stan has standardized on the Remington Versa Max and the Remington V3 and, as he told me several times, he is glad he did.
Stan has also standardized on ammunition. Remington HyperSonic steel loads are all we used on ducks and everyone else, for that matter. This is not the type of shell you want to use in a flyweight pump, or even an inertia autoloader for that matter. However, out of the Remington V3 and Versa Max shotguns, the recoil of these powerful loads is not an issue.
My favorite general purpose duck load is the Remington 1-1/4 ounce, 1700 fps, #3 shot HyperSonic shell. Compared to a more conventional 1400-1450 fps #2 steel 1-1/4 ounce load that contains about 155 pellets, with the HyperSonic #3 shell your pellet count jumps to about 191 pellets. That is 23% more pellets, 23% more pattern with which to work.
Extended choke tubes make a difference with this shell. I brought along a Trulock Precision Hunter Modified extended choke tube and that is all I used for everything. Ronnie Evans from Remington brought his own personal V3 shotgun and he also used a Trulock Precision Hunter modified choke tube in his gun. This is not a coincidence.
The first morning, we went out for pheasants with the aid of Junior, the Jedi Master pointer. Junior was assisted by Bonnie, apparently the Jedi apprentice. It was windy, to say the least. I filmed a video of the pheasant trek that you can view here: https://youtu.be/V1HDO1GXhwg.
It is extremely dry in this part of Arkansas and the duck hunting that we did was from ground pits in the middle of flooded (irrigated) rice fields. With the help of head guide Jason Price and Tosh Manning (and talented black Labradors Hugo and Rio), the hunting was spectacular. We limited out in just a couple of hours. My video of our afternoon duck hunt is here: https://youtu.be/NyiNUJEbSMk.
Everyone at the lodge will miss Rose Bier kissing animals that she really shouldn't be kissing and Michelle Cerino dancing and screaming, whether for work or for play. Ronnie Evans and Vince Norton are both outstanding in their field. The last time I saw them, that is what they were doing, standing in a field.
You could not ask for a nicer group of people to hunt with, a nicer lodge, better guides, or better food. It was a terrific hunt all the way around. Everything was impressively well done, a world class effort by Stan Jones and his team.
Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.