Gov. Asa Hutchinson has selected Walnut Ridge businessman, farmer, and outdoors enthusiast Stan Jones to serve on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Jones farms more than 7,000 soybean and other row crop acres in Northeast Arkansas, and he owns the Stan Jones Mallard Lodge in Clover Bend. He’s spent many years leading duck hunters on guided tours in the flooded fields of the region as well as other areas of the Natural State.
“I have always loved the outdoors. That is one thing I like to share and I want to see others experience that. I look forward to serving Arkansans by working to protect the land in this new role. I am grateful for Gov. Hutchinson’s confidence in me to serve on the Game and Fish Commission,” Jones said.
Hutchinson selected Jones to replace outgoing Commissioner Fred Brown. The governor chose Jones because he thinks his years of experience in the outdoors and his stewardship of the land will be vital tools he can bring to the commission.
“As a fifth generation farmer and an avid outdoors man, Stan appreciates Arkansas in ways that few others do, and he is a perfect fit for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,” Hutchinson said. “As a fellow hunter and conservationist, I understand how critical it is to appoint a leader who dearly loves all the natural resources that Arkansas has to offer. Stan has demonstrated a passion for stewarding Arkansas’ natural resources throughout his entire life.”
AG&F has several problems it will need to deal with in the coming years. Chronic wasting disease has afflicted the state’s elk population and it could spread to the deer population, Jones tells Talk Business & Politics. The options are to eradicate the herd, try to contain it, or do nothing and hope the disease doesn’t spread further. Millions of dollars have been spent to develop the herd and a possible solution is going to bother people on both sides of the issue, he said.
Another problem is the constant flooding of wooded lands, Jones said. When he was a child, many wooded areas would only get flooded on average once every five years. Now the floods are constant due to the many levees, dams, and lakes that have been built. The constant water flow is destroying trees that spend months out of the year in water, he said. He doesn’t have any immediate solutions to these problems, but said he is a “pragmatist” and he will be a “team player.”
Jones, who also owns BANDED outdoor sporting apparel and Avery Outdoors was a standout athlete when he attended Walnut Ridge High School. He played college football at Arkansas State University and was a member of the school’s 1970 national championship team. His accolades led to his induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. He is also a member of the Red Wolves Foundation 500 Club, he serves on the ASU Chancellor’s Cabinet, and the Clover Bend Historical Society.
Arkansas has done a lot of good things to promote hunting and fishing in the state, he said. A 700-pound black bear was shot here, high quality elk and deer herds are robust, and record-breaking fish, such as bass and catfish, are frequently caught in the state’s waters. A healthy animal population directly correlates from sound outdoor policies, he said.
“We’ve truly done some good things here … why would anyone want to go and hunt some place else?” he said.