|Mallards, millet, and cottonmouths|
The things a man will do for a duck.
Almost on a whim, I purchased a 50 pound bag of Japanese millet to take down to my farm in Malvern, Arkansas and spread around a few of my duck holes in the flooded timber bottoms. I had heard and read dozens of reports of the plant being a great attractant for ducks, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.
Visions of mallards fluttering down danced in front of my eyes as I parked my truck as close as I could to my normal entrance to the bottoms. I was snapped out of this stupor as my driver side window was instantly covered with mosquitos and horse flies when I stopped.
“I think I’ll use some bug spray,” I said to myself.
I got out of the truck and hefted the bag onto my shoulder, turning and walking toward the entrance. As I got closer, I saw something I wasn’t prepared for — a wall of poison ivy, seven feet high and 20 feet deep. I knew that if I didn’t enter from this direction, I would have to go around to the backside of the bottoms, which would turn my 100 yard walk into a 400 yard walk. I looked at the wall of itch-inducing irritant and decided I could walk a little extra distance.
I made it around to the opposite end of the bottoms and once again hoisted the bag of millet onto my shoulder. I was quickly understanding that horse flies did not care if I had bug spray on, as my ears were constantly getting bombed by their buzzing attacks.
After sliding down two steep inclines, and through multiple thorn bushes, I was finally in the bottoms. What stretched before me was twenty acres of knee and thigh-deep weeds and grass, with a spongy, muddy bottom.