Following the Call: Honoring a Waterfowl Tradition
My love of the history and tradition of the American duck call goes way back. I was eight years old when my parents handed me an old shoe box of calls that had once belonged to my grandfather and his brother. The calls fascinated me, and it wasn’t long before I started my own vintage collection and began attending duck calling competitions. Eventually, I was spending what would become invaluable time with Butch Richenback at his Rich-N-Tone Duck Call shop here in Stuttgart, Arkansas, learning everything he had to teach me.
Beneath a clear blue sky, Alex Templeton maneuvers her tractor, harrowing pastures to improve grass growth and production for the 500 cattle she raises with her father. A third-generation farmer in Polo, MO, Templeton spends the majority of her time outside: helping with calving during the spring, fixing fences, distributing hay and feed and keeping tabs on the herd from the cab of her trusty pickup truck.
Gaining access to private land can be an intimidating hurdle for most hunters, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, knowing how to ask permission can be a hunter’s secret weapon, especially when it comes to accessing public land drainages only reachable via private land or, even, opening up a door to private land access for years to come.
A good coach once told me that “being lucky” is actually just being prepared. It was a valuable lesson and one that also applies to the backcountry. Now is the time to prepare with a purpose, not the week before the season starts.
Holding and growing healthy deer on the property you hunt is a labor of love, especially when it comes to mature bucks. While there’s always the chance a buck might spend time on your neighbor’s property, there are key strategies for maintaining quality whitetail habitat to keep that buck—and a few others—on your dirt...