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Best Table in House

Best Table in House

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Published by: Mary Kathaleene Meacham on Nov 25, 2012
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11/25/2012

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Best table in house
Piney Creek duck hunt lives up to its reputation
By Bryan Hendricks  This article was published today at 3:54 a.m.PHOTO BY BRYAN HENDRICKSWiley Meacham (left) calls to a flock of mallards while North Carolina judge Talmage Baggett (right) watches
Monday during a hunt at Meacham’s farm in Lee County.
 
 
aAFont Size
 
Lee County Mallards
 
 
Wiley Meacham and friends enjoy a morning duck hunt near Monroe. (By Bryan Hendricks)[View Full-Size] 
MONROE
I have hunted mallards within yards of perhaps t
he most famous “kitchen” in Arkansas.
 
The kitchen’s centerpiece is, of course, the table. One would expect such a table to be made of mahogany or bird’s
-
eye maple, or maybe pecan or burled walnut, but no, it’s just an ordinary
plastic card table with foldi
ng legs. A wooden table wouldn’t last long in this kitchen.
 It belongs to Wiley Meacham of Brinkley and Don Thompson of Little Rock, owners of Piney Creek
Ducks Inc. The Piney Creek area is an undeveloped part of Meacham’s farm that’s managed
especially for green timber duck hunting. They hunt only in the mornings, and generally they huntjust one hole, so the entire place is basically a giant rest area for mallards.
The “kitchen” was my first exposure to this place. I saw a photo of it nearly 15 years ago
in theArkansas Duck Hunters Almanac written by Steve Bowman and Steve Wright. It showed a group of waderclad hunters standing around a table in the middle of the water eating cheese and sausageon crackers.On Monday, I joined Thompson, Wiley Meacham, Steve Meacham, Talmage Baggett of Fayetteville,N.C., and Billy Peel of Mabelvale for a duck hunt in this revered forest. A man with a name like
Talmage Baggett couldn’t be anything else but a judge. He presides over the 12th Judicial District
in North Carolina and has an accent that would win any actor an Oscar. When I told him I had oncebeen editor of North Carolina Game and Fish magazine, it was like old home week.
A hunt at Meacham’s is “Cadillac” hunting at its finest. The area around the duck hole is gr
aveled,
so you don’t sink into the mud, nor are there any roots to send a hunter sprawling. The boat
delivers each hunter to a bench.Ducks began flying shortly after we arrived, and a couple of groups landed and left beforeshooting time. Precisely at shooting time, the Meachams and Baggett blew the mallard version of 
 
“Reveille” on their calls. Thompson said Steve Meacham’s nickname is “Sugar Lips” because of 
how sweetly he calls down greenheads.
Within seconds, the first group landed. They didn’t do the u
sual routine of circling and scouting.They just sailed in, cupped their wings, turned into the wind and fluttered through the treetops.Mallards landing in timber resemble cars on a NASCAR track trying to avoid a pileup. They come inwith their butts pointed down and their necks craned forward and down, all the while pitchingfrom side to side to avoid other ducks in this controlled free-fall.
“Take ’em, boys!” Steve Meacham yelled.
 The bulk of the flight was still in the air, just below the treetops, when the volley commenced.Stricken ducks dropped like giant hailstones as the others frantically tried to reverse course andgain altitude.More ducks came, but they grew warier in the gathering light. Seven or eight circled, and 10-12others joined them. This attracted even more ducks. The main body circled high and well out of 
range while “scouts” buzzed the hole at treetop level. More scouts buzzed from different
directions, as if they were looking the place over from a grid. Then the scouts dropped below thetrees and flared back above the trees. The main body tightened its circle, and the first scoutducks plopped into the hole, two and three at a time. When the main body finally committed,ducks came down in waves. Meacham ordered us to shoot, resulting in yet another hailstorm of fallen ducks.It happened two more times just like that. By 6:58 a.m., all six of us had our limit of fourmallards.We could have done even more. Between flights of mallards, a group of about 20 greenwing teallanded in the hole
. Teal are Samurai ducks. They don’t do a controlled free
-
fall. It’s a pedal
-to-themetal free-fall. They hit the water so hard they bounce. But the place they hit is never goodenough, so they always rise and land a couple of feet away.
“Take ’em!” Steve M
eacham yelled.Nobody fired.The teal flittered around nervously and finally launched.
”All right, take ’em now!” Meacham yelled.
 

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