Claypool’s Wild Acres


This DVD encompasses film from the the seasons of 1955-1956 and 1956-57, especially the 1955-56 season. You will see scenes of more than 300,000 ducks on Claypool’s Wild Acres, the results of the Grand Passage and rice production in Cross and Poinsett Counties. You will see Wallace Claypool and his yellow Lab George Hilltop, Herb Parsons and his son Lynn, Ben Person shooting a bow overhead at ducks, and an unbelievable eight-minute, live-broadcast segment of Dave Garroway’s “Wide Wide World,” which was broadcast across the nation. The video runs about one hours and twenty minutes. There is also film footage of the old clubhouse and of Tom Mull, of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission who did the narration for the film.,

This video of Claypool’s Wild Acres is credited to George Purvis who worked for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. He accumulated a large 35 mm fill collections which he let me use for this video. In 1954, and for the next three to four years, George took still photos and mostly moving pictures of Wild Acres. This was a rare moment in waterfowling history as Grand Passages of waterfowl had occurred during the 1954-1955 and the 1955-56 seasons, especially the latter, with ducks arriving in early November. Making it even more special was that Cross County was celebrating the Golden Anniversary of rice production in that county in 1955. According to old-timers, rice production was first brought to that county by the Evans brothers, of Hickory Ridge, in 1905. By 1910, rice farming had started its spread throughout the county. One of the first producers was the late Rush Wright, who planted in 1910 his first crop in Poinsett County, near the Cross County line. He got his seed from the Evans brothers. It was of the Honduras variety and produced very well.

By January 1956, some 1437 acres of the 3500 acres of Wild Acres holding were devoted to a duck reservoir, 800 acres of which was under water contained by levees which controlled the level during both the farming and the hunting seasons. Sloughs leading out from the L’anguille River were controlled through lifting pumps to distribute water supplies through the deadening surrounding the track. Some 11 years previous to 1956, the country was not noted for waterfowl concentrations. By 1956, though, Poinsett County claimed and claims to be the Duck Capital of the World—move over Stuttgart where Claypool put his name on the duck-calling championship trophy back in 1940. With Claypool showing the way, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission created a number of public shooting projects in counties of East Arkansas—Black River in Clay County, Big Lake in Mississippi, Pagmar in Monroe, Bayou Meto near Stuttgart, and the St. Francis sunken lands.

DVD: one hour and twenty minutes of thousands of ducks in the air, on the water and in front of the cameras. There has never been a film on waterfowling that measures up to this one..



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