Otis McCollum and his brother Roy are considered the fathers of Stuttgart’s commercial duck hunting industry.
When McCollum was just starting, the farmers in the prairie hated the ducks that were swarming to eat all of their rice, but McCollum was different: he loved them.
McCollum’s hunting and guiding were ahead of his time by a landslide; his then-viewed as stringent practices are now commonplace in the industry. He pioneered the strategy of building levees to hold water for green-tree reservoirs, 15 miles of which still stand today. And he built all of them with a hand-held sight level.
McCollum also standardized the sport. Before he began guiding, hunters would come and get as many ducks as they could carry, sneaking past the single, overwhelmed game warden. But McCollum only hunted legally, seeing the effects of overhunting. He never shot after 10 in the morning and left one-third of an acre as a rest area – uncommon practices at the time, but commonplace now.
At his peak, McCollum had built more than 7,000 acres of huntable land, most of which had previously been farmland. Now, that land is the most sought-after duck hunting acreage in the world.