As we discovered with our friend, pro-angler Cody Kelley, fishing is a beloved hobby in Arkansas and can even lead to a career.
Another wonderful hobby in the natural state is hunting, but what if you’ve never done either? What if you’re new to the area?
We met up with the self-proclaimed ‘Mountain Man,’ David Mitchell (along with his trusted sidekick Honeybee) to learn what it’s like to get paid to guide others on a dream hunt or the fishing trip of a lifetime.
Our adventure began in the wooded duck lands near Bald Knob, Arkansas, where Mitchell met with THV11's Adam Bledsoe. Adam said he knew he was in the right area when he saw a road called Duck Blind Road -- a sure sign that we were going to have a good time.
We immediately learned we were in for a treat and that Adam may have met his match when it comes to bountiful joy and charisma. David is a professional at making his guests feel welcome in his presence. While we warmed up to each other, we sat at a beautiful bar exchanging hunting and fishing stories.
Hunting guide trips have taken David all over the country in search for an assortment of game, but he said one of his favorite hunts to guide is duck hunting right here in Arkansas.
A couple things were quickly discovered about our duck hunting trip:
- He didn’t have waders even close to fit Adam!
- The ducks just hadn’t migrated to Arkansas as years past due to a lack of freezing conditions to our north.
This wasn’t a problem though. We were able to travel to his equally favorite office for the rest of our time together. We headed to JFK park in Heber Springs to go trout fishing.
There are several ways to fish the river. One way is to wear waders, but there again, Adam was out. Luckily, David had a river boat with a jet prop, which allowed us to travel to very shallow waters. Our journey up the river was accompanied by beautiful landscapes and wildlife. It didn’t take long for Adam to catch my first fish.
Of course, that moment probably wasn’t caught on tape. The fish had to have been a world record...okay, that might just be an old fish tale.
The biggest thing we took away from the visit with David is how much he loved being around people, how positive and encouraging he was and how much he loves seeing others enjoy themselves.
David definitely has one of those jobs that makes us think, "You get paid for this??" He’s living the dream.