Waterfowl Hunting with Johnny Wink
Mornings start early for Johnny Wink. Most mornings he’s up before the sun rises in the eastern sky, and when it does, he’s mesmerized by some of the most breathtaking sunrises in the country. He’s keenly aware of the weather around him and smiles when he hears the loud honking of Canadian geese overhead as hundreds of migrating birds fill the air.
Looking out his backdoor he sees farm fields now barren of harvested rice, corn, beans and wheat crops, fast filling up and turning white as hundreds of birds set down in the midst of their travels. These birds have been traveling this same flight pattern for generations, flying from one end of the country to another, from the north to the south and back again. The harvested farm fields serve as an unofficial waterfowl feeding station, much like what a birder might create in his backyard for the robins and chickadees, only on a grander scale. The migrating waterfowl converge on this unincorporated northeastern rural Louisiana settlement of Jones where they rest and eat the rice and grains lost during harvest.
Wink is the owner and operator of Megabucks Duck Guide Service located at 15228 Kilbourne Highway in Morehouse Parish. A few miles south of Ashley County, Arkansas and a hop, skip, and jump from West and East Carroll parishes, Megabucks is ideally located. Established in 1976, it continues to thrive year after year. “Northeast Louisiana has some of the finest waterfowl hunting you will ever see,” Wink said. “Thousand of specks can be found on our fields.” Duck and goose hunting for food and sport is popular in Louisiana’s Sportsman’s Paradise and Megabucks is right smack dab in the middle of all the activity. Many types of ducks and geese share the same habitats, have overlapping or identical hunting seasons, and Wink can guide the experienced hunter as well as the novice on a hunt so memorable that they’ll be back for the next season. Wink has many repeats and hunters come from all over the United States and beyond for this adventure. Not a matter of luck nor is it an accident, successful waterfowl hunting is based upon knowledge and skill. In walks Wink… Being able to identify each different duck and goose species is critical. Wink does it almost with his eyes shut just by the sound of a duck’s call. Each species make different sounds, ranging from very low, grunt-like quacks to high-pitched whistles and squeals. Identifying duck calls isn’t something learned overnight. Wink’s ability is a combination of years in the business coupled with his own brand of unique natural talent.
Wink can also identify fowl by their outlines and profiles, color and size, whether floating on the water or on wing. As an experienced guide, Wink continues to amaze countless hunters dating back to when he was a teenager. “I stay small so I can give the best service,” Wink said. Staying small allows Wink to create a certain intimacy, making hunters feel at home during their visit. “Hunters can bring their families. It’s private and safe,” he said. “It’s peaceful and quiet. They make themselves at home. They relax, prop their feet up, get away from all the traffic and people of big city life.” He also tells clients to feel free to bring their retrievers because at Megabucks they will be treated like a person. A first-rate dog employed to retrieve downed birds provides many advantages, the most important being that it relieves the hunter himself from having to go into the cold water for retrieval which can be dangerous but managed by a good dog with ease. The use of a dog allows the recovery of wounded birds that might otherwise escape, which prevents waste. At Megabucks, hunters will see good quality dog work. Wink adds that the hunters also like the relative closeness of Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop, one of the largest sporting goods stores in Louisiana.
“They love to go to Simmons and to eat in Bastrop,” he said. If someone is looking for a quality waterfowl hunting experience or if they’re new to the sport of duck or goose hunting, Megabucks Duck Hunting Guide Service is the way to go. Call 318-823-3217 to reserve a place at Megabucks during the next season.
By Barbara Sharik