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Trey Reid
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Born and raised in Pine Bluff, Trey Reid is the Assistant Chief of Communications for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. His primary role is executive producer and host of Arkansas Wildlife TV, the AGFC’s weekly television show that documents The Natural State’s many outdoor recreational opportunities and AGFC’s myriad conservation work.

Additionally, Trey is editor of Tail Fly Fishing Magazine and Strung Sporting Journal; and host of The Wild Side radio show on 103.7 The Buzz (which airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m.). He makes more than 250 radio and TV appearances per year representing the Commission and educating Arkansans on our natural states outdoor offerings.

Prior to joining the AGFC staff in 2007, Trey was field reporter for ESPN2’s BassCenter, traveling the country to report on professional bass fishing, conservation issues and much more. His travels took him everywhere from post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans to bass fishing adventures in New York City’s Central Park. Trey was outdoor editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for four years.

He started in the newspaper business as a sports writer and later as sports editor at his hometown newspaper, the Pine Bluff Commercial. He continues to work as a freelance writer and has had articles appear in local and national magazines and websites including Bassmaster, Greenhead, AY, Fish Arkansas, Arkansas Wild, Arkansas Money & Politics, ESPN.com, and more. Trey graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a B.A. in Liberal Arts.

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Listen to Learn:

  • About the restoration of habitats for the Northern bobwhite quail
  • How professionals handle chronic wasting disease in deer populations
  • About the Grand Slam challenge for fly fishing, and more...

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[0:00:08] GM: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Through storytelling, conversational interviews and Kerry's natural curiosity, this weekly radio show and podcast offers listeners an insider's view into the commonalities of entrepreneurs, athletes, medical professionals, politicians and other successful people all sharing their stories of success and the ups and downs of risk-taking. Connect with Kerry through her candid, funny, informative and always encouraging weekly blog. And now it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.


[0:00:41] KM: My guest today is Mr. Trey Reid. Assistant Chief of Communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Editor of Tail Fly Fishing Magazine and Strung Sporting Journal. And host of the Wild Side Radio Show on 103.7 The Buzz. Trey started his professional career as a sports writer at the Pine Bluff Commercial Newspaper and later became the sports editor of said newspaper before moving to a bigger forum when he joined the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

But that's not all. It was in 2005 when Trey's career took a turn from field sports to fishing sports. And he joined ESPN's Bass Center as a field reporter. Two of his more interesting episodes were fishing in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina. And the other, bass fishing in New York City's Central Park. Yes. Trey is fantastic on camera. He's nice-looking. He's likable, knowledgeable as you'll soon see. But his first love is writing, which he discovered while attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

It is a pleasure to welcome to the table a man's man, a writer and the Assistant Chief of Communications for The Game and Fish Commission, Mr. Trey Reid.

[0:01:53] TR: Hey, Kerry. Great. How are you all?

[0:01:55] KM: We're good. You and I met in 2018.

[0:01:59] TR: I know. I can't believe it's been that long since we did this before.

[0:02:02] KM: Before we get into some of the nuts and bolts of deer hunting, where the fish are spawning, some of the rules of the game and fish, you recently – what I learned is you got a grand slam in Cuba.

[0:02:15] TR: I did.

[0:02:15] KM: Tell our listeners what that is.

[0:02:17] TR: Well a grand slam – the type of fishing that I did down there, it's all fly fishing. It's saltwater fly fishing. When you talk about that, most people think blue water, deep sea, off the boat. Well, this is not. Most of the water is I'm in knee-deep. Maybe waist-deep water most of the time. Now you are in a boat, but a small skiff. It's shallow water. It's all sight fishing. I'm looking at essentially every fish I cast to.

[0:02:44] KM: Because the water is blue.

[0:02:46] TR: The water is brilliantly clear. I mean, it is gin-clear. And we're fishing for bonefish, permit and tarpon. Those are kind of the big three of saltwater flats, fly fishing. Or saltwater flats fishing of any type. But primarily, it's fly fishing. And so, a grand slam is catching each of those three species in one day. And the bonefish usually aren't a problem. The tarpon are a little harder. The one that's difficult is the permit. It looks like a pompano. It's a big flatfish. Silver. They're big and round. Oval-shaped. And they will eat a live crab all day long. But when you're throwing feathered or ferret steel after them, it's a little bit different deal.

[0:03:38] KM: They're smart. Do all three of those fish use the same bait?

[0:03:43] TR: Well, no. No. No. Different –

[0:03:44] KM: When you caught one, you change bait.

[0:03:47] TR: You change flies and throw something else at those. Sometimes the bonefish and the permit will eat some of the same flies. But no. They were all caught on different flies. Just all in the same day. And probably since we last did this show together, I have become quite enamored with saltwater fly fishing. And the permit, it's like the Holy Grail of that type of fishing.

And of course, I couldn't just like the bonefish or the tarpon, which are thrilling. And they jump. The tarpon jump. The permit. But I think it's the challenge and the difficulty of it that has attracted me to it. I have gone nuts about that. And so, yeah, I got a grand slam in Cuba.

And I was also fishing with a guy who was 93 years old who is just a fascinating character. His name is Stu Apte. He's a Hall of Famer in the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame. He's set more than 45 World Records. A couple of which he said in the early 60s that are still records on the fly rod. He was also a Navy fighter pilot during the Korean War. Flew for PanAm for 35 years.

[0:04:59] KM: Did he fly you to Cuba?

[0:05:00] TR: He did not. He's not allowed to fly anymore.

[0:05:03] KM: Thank goodness.

[0:05:05] TR: But I'll tell you, Kerry. What was really cool, we flew into Camaguey. And he was telling stories about flying there in the 1950s when it was a grass airstrip. When he was flying cargo for PanAm. This guy, I mean, he's just fascinating. He drank mojitos with Ernest Hemingway on the Pilar in pre-revolutionary Cuba in the late 50s. How's that for cool?

[0:05:27] KM: How romantic is that?

[0:05:29] GM: I was about to say. Yeah. Out of a storybook.

[0:05:30] TR: Yeah. I mean, just listening to his stories for a week-and-a-half.

[0:05:35] KM: You and I had a very different experience in Cuba. When you say – Gray and I went to Cuba. That little tiny episode when Obama opened it up and we were having open relations. And we flew down there as fast as we could. And we rode horses in the backcountry and smoked cigars. You're out on the water fishing. He's probably had a healthier experience –

[0:05:54] GM: Yeah. Probably.

[0:05:56] TR: I don't know there was a lot of Havana Club rum involved still.

[0:05:59] GM: Maybe not. Yeah.

[0:06:01] KM: You wrote, "The Game and Fish Commission conserves the state's fish and wildlife while providing opportunities for hunters, anglers and others who enjoy outdoor recreation. My job with the agency is to work with the public and media to tell the agency's story." What story are you telling right now?

[0:06:23] TR: Well, I think there's a lot of different stories we're telling. And that's probably the most challenging thing about my job is – but it's also a great thing about it. No two days are the same. Every day is a little bit different.

I think the story – telling a lot of stories about Lake Conway right now that is the –

[0:06:41] KM: Yeah. What's going on with Lake Conway? That's next episode. But let's go ahead and get there now.

[0:06:46] TR: We pulled the plug on Lake Conway.

[0:06:48] KM: What does that mean?

[0:06:50] TR: We are draining the lake completely. It's 75 years old. The dam that creates the lake had outlived its life expectancy. And so, we were going to have to replace the dam anyway. And so, we're thinking, "Well, let's just hit reset on the lake."

Lakes – manmade lakes I'm talking about here. Everything from Ouachita, and Hamilton, and Greers Ferry and Beaver. All those man-made lakes. Smaller game and fish lakes. Conway is a large game and fish lake at almost 7,000 acres. But we've got them from 300, to 800, 1,500 acres.

Lakes are great for the first 15 or 20 years. And then they start to lose fertility. All the trees that were there that they decay. And that's not a bad thing. That puts nutrients into the system. But eventually, all that stuff kind of goes away. There's no more nutrients to leech out of those trees that are in there.

[0:07:44] KM: You're talking about the trees that are at the bottom of the lake?

[0:07:46] TR: Yeah. Or the ones that were left standing when the lake was flooded. Or whatever. The vegetation. We have been forced. And again, Conway is kind of a similar situation. But over the past 10 years, we've done a couple of major lake renovations. One at White Oak Lake in Southern Arkansas. Not far from Camden. And another one at Lake Poinsett up on the ridge near Harrisburg.

And each of those projects we had issues like the water control structures. We had infrastructure we had to fix. But when we drain the lake, we go in and we do fish habitat work. And we put pallets and old Christmas trees or plastic from road construction. The barrels. All those kind of things. We put them in the lake. And so, when you reflood the lake, it's like you've got a brand-new lake again. And so, the fishing just explodes and it takes off.

And so, we're thinking, "Okay. We've got to – we've got to replace the dam at Lake Conway. Let's just hit reset on this lake." It was built in the late 40s. Yeah. '48. 75 years ago. Conway was hardly anything.

[0:08:59] KM: It's cow town.

[0:09:00] TR: And now, it's a huge city.

[0:09:02] KM: It's a college town.

[0:09:04] TR: I mean, Mayflower. You've got [inaudible 0:09:04]. You've got – all that silt that used to kind of get trapped in the grass, and the trees and things, now it runs over concrete. And so, it much quicker it gets in the lake. We've lost up to 40% of the volume of the lake over the last 75 years. And there's places where the lake ought to be 5 feet deep. But it's a foot and a half of water and three and a half of silt and mud. And so, five years, we're going to leave the lake drained and –

[0:09:35] KM: For five years?

[0:09:35] TR: Five years.

[0:09:37] KM: What does the residents think about that?

[0:09:39] TR: Some of them, and I would say likely most of them, seem to understand. We had public meetings before we did this. And there's some people like, "Hey, I'm in my 70s. I bought a place on the lake to live out my golden years and now you're going to drain it." And somebody's always going to lose out on an opportunity when you do something like this.

But it's our job at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to manage those resources not just for the next five years, but for the next 50 years, for the next 100 years.

[0:10:12] KM: What's going to happen over the next five years? Trees are going to grow? I mean, the silt's not going to go away.

[0:10:16] TR: The silt will go away, believe it or not.

[0:10:17] KM: Where will it go?

[0:10:19] TR: It will compact. I mean, just the heat of the sun and not having water on it that we're going to get soil compaction. And there's been a lot of studies done on this. But yes, that's why we have to leave it dry for years. Because it's just loose silt now. But it's going to compact. You're going to get bushes, trees and things like that grow up. We're going to do a lot of other stuff. Infrastructure, boat ramps replaced, repaired, made wider. Parking areas. People who live around the lake can do a lot of stuff with their boat houses and docks while we get this down.

[0:10:53] KM: Oh, yeah. They can do some repair work.

[0:10:55] TR: We're going to create bank fishing areas that are more user-friendly. And we're going to I think it's something like 3,500 fish habitat structures we're going to put in the lake. It's like one for every 2 acres basically.

[0:11:09] GM: When they're figuring out what they're going to do with these lakes, are we just learning as we go, as we may have managed all these man-made lakes over the last 75 years?

[0:11:17] TR: Yes. I mean, the short answer to your question, yes. I mean, these lakes are built. And we just know that – especially if you look at those big lakes like Greers Ferry, and Bull Shoals and Ouachita. I mean, when they were built in the 50s and 60s, the fishing was phenomenal. Well, game and fish keeps tabs on the fish, obviously, every year. And multiple times a year. And anglers tell you, "We know that the fishing in those lakes isn't what it used to be." Right?

And so, as we've studied over the years, we figured out, "Well, number one, especially those big lakes in Arkansas, they're built on rocky soils." They weren't very fertile to begin with. I mean, that's why we grow all of our food over in the Delta where we've got the rich Mississippi alluvial soils. And you don't see a lot of people growing cotton and soybeans in the Ouachitas and Ozarks. Because the soil, it's just not fertile. Yes. I mean, we kind of learn as we go.

[0:12:13] KM: I got this most important question. Did you find any dead bodies?

[0:12:18] TR: Not yet. And we hope we don't.

[0:12:20] KM: How about cars?

[0:12:23] TR: There's still some water in the lake. I mean, we initiated the process September 1 and we we only opened one gate because we didn't want to flood downstream. Because you got about 7even miles of Palarm Creek from the dam down to where it hits the Arkansas River. We also have Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area there. And we don't want to put water on our forest when the trees – you can do that when they're dormant in the winter time. That's how we get our flooded green timber duck hunting in Arkansas. We were very slow to let the water out.

Now November 15th, we opened up all the rest of the operational gates. And so, it's really coming out of there now because it doesn't matter if it gets on those trees at this point. But there's still some water in the lake. It will probably be next spring before we really spend a lot of time down in the lake bed like working on the fish habitat structure.

[0:13:15] KM: And you find dead bodies. Oh, we got to send an investigative reporter out there.

[0:13:18] GM: We had Brady Mountain – what's his name? The guy who owns Brady Mountain.

[0:13:22] KM: Bill –

[0:13:23] GM: Bill Barnes.

[0:13:23] TR: Bill Barnes?

[0:13:24] GM: Yeah. Talking about all the old towns and stuff that are under Lake Ouachita. Is Lake Conway like that?

[0:13:30] TR: No. It was always kind of –

[0:13:32] KM: It's shallow.

[0:13:34] TR: It's a very shallow lake. I mean, the average depth is about 5-feet. Hopefully, we don't run into any of those – like Lake Mead as it got dry out west and all the mobsters in Vegas are finding people in cans and things like that out there.

[0:13:47] KM: I hope you do. I like that stuff.

[0:13:49] TR: No. No. No. No. That makes my job harder. I have to go talk to the media about that.

[0:13:54] KM: Oh, that's your job. Before we go to break, $250,000 in licenses are sold a year about to –

[0:14:03] TR: Oh. Way more than that. We sell about 270,000, 280,000 hunting licenses and then another 500,000-plus. Our license revenue – gosh. Don't put me on the spot. I didn't look that up. But I want to say it's somewhere around $15 to $20 million a year.

[0:14:20] KM: You said when we – I listened to the show like I said. And you said a third of the money comes from licenses.

[0:14:27] TR: Yeah. A third of our game and fish budget comes from licenses. It's actually probably a little less than a third now.

[0:14:31] KM: And you know what I thought? And then you said a third from US grant money, excise tax for federal programs. And then the one that I thought was really interesting is 1/8th cent sales tax for conservation in Arkansas.

[0:14:43] TR: Yeah. That was approved by voters in the general election in 1996. And it's the Conservation Sales Tax. 1/8 of 1%. And game and fish gets 45% of that. State parks gets 45%. Heritage gets 9%, which of course Heritage is technically part of parks now. And then the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission gets 1% of that. It's split between a number of state agencies. We get slightly less than half of it.

[0:15:13] KM: It's unique. Not very many states have a sales tax for conversation.

[0:15:15] TR: No. Missouri has had one since the 70s. And then Arkansas. There may be one or two others now. But no, there are not many states. And I think that's a testament to what the outdoors means to people in Arkansas. I mean, even if you don't hunt and fish, a lot of people enjoy the outdoors. Whether that's paddling sports, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, hiking. Going out to Pinnacle Mountain and hiking. Or Rattlesnake Ridge that the Nature Conservancy has across the road there. I mean, people just love the outdoors. It was close. I mean, it was like 50.3 to 49.7 breakdown on the vote back then. But –

[0:15:57] KM: Did I not tell you? He's crazy with numbers, and names and stuff.

[0:16:01] GM: Pretty specific.

[0:16:02] KM: It's very specific. All right. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Mr. Trey Reid from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Still to come, conservation, cultivation, water shortages, fishing spots, duck hunting, quail hunting, deer hunting and an update on the dreaded wasting disease. And his favorite outdoor recreation by seasons. We'll be right back.


[0:16:24] GM: You're listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. Over 40 years ago with only $400, Kerry founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed along with Kerry's experience and leadership knowledge. In 1995, she embraced the internet and rebranded her company as simply flagandbanner.com. In 2004, she became an early blogger. Since then, she has founded the nonprofit Friends of Dreamland Ballroom. Began publishing her magazine, Brave. And in 2016, branched out into this very radio show, YouTube channel and podcast. In 2020, Kerry McCoy Enterprises acquired ourcornermarket.com, an online company specializing in American-made plaques, signage and memorials for over 20 years. And in 2021, opened a satellite office in Miami, Florida.

Telling American-made stories, selling American-made flags, the flagandbanner.com. Back to you, Kerry.


[0:17:19] KM: We're speaking today with Mr. Trey Reid, Assistant Chief of Communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and host of The Wild Side Radio Show on 103.7 The Buzz. This show talks about fishing so much. Let's talk about fishing in Arkansas. What should we be fishing for right now? This is December. This is December.

[0:17:38] TR: You know, we're very lucky in Arkansas that we don't have a fishing season. Some states do. There's an opening day just like there's an opening day for hunting. But with our temperate climate I guess we could say, the water doesn't get hard around here, right? It doesn't turn to ice like it does in Minnesota or whatever.

[0:17:59] KM: Oh, I see what you mean. Yeah.

[0:18:00] TR: You can really fish year-round. Now if I'm going out in December, probably the first place I would head would be to the Little Red River up at Heber Springs. Because it is the spawning season for brown trout. And so, they're moving onto the shallow, the shoals and riffles to make their spawning beds. And so, they're just – you can sight fish for them. You can see them in the shallow water. You can catch them in some of the deeper holes. That's probably what I would go do if I was going to do something right now. Now I'll tell you this too. The crappie fishing is on fire right now.

[0:18:41] KM: And those are good to eat.

[0:18:41] TR: Oh, they're so good to eat. Crappie are pretty ubiquitous in Arkansas. I mean, Arkansas River, Mississippi River, all of our lakes. Yeah, crappie are everywhere.

[0:18:50] KM: And those are native. Because those are native.

[0:18:52] TR: Yeah. We have two species, the black crappie and the white crappie.

[0:18:56] KM: This is may be really hard for you to answer, but what is your favorite fish to fish for?

[0:19:00] TR: Oh, that's not hard to answer. Here in Arkansas, it'd be the smallmouth bass.

[0:19:04] KM: Why?

[0:19:05] TR: It's our native fish. I think it's emblematic of the place it lives. They're they're in the Ozarks and Ouachitas. I think they're tough. They pull. They're strong. They're fighters. They're spunky. They live in beautiful places.

[0:19:23] KM: Streams?

[0:19:25] TR: Yeah, the stream smallmouth. That's what I like to do. I like to go – I mean, from, say, April through the heat of the summer and on into the fall, go wait up to thighs in a creek and catch smallmouth. There's nothing like it.

[0:19:43] KM: Do you eat them?

[0:19:44] TR: I do not.

[0:19:44] KM: You don't eat them, do you?

[0:19:45] TR: I do not. It takes them so long to – again, I was talking about persisting against the odds. It takes them so long to – we have very slow growth rates of smallmouth in Arkansas. And to me, it would be a shame to take that fish out. There's so many other –

[0:20:05] KM: How long? How long can a fish live?

[0:20:06] TR: Oh, I mean, 15, 20 years and probably would be an old smallmouth. I'm not saying that they – that's not like average.

[0:20:15] KM: My goldfish could live to be 15 years old?

[0:20:18] TR: I don't know about a goldfish. It depends on how good a care you take –

[0:20:21] KM: Gray's going, "Yeah. Yeah, it can."

[0:20:22] GM: Domestic fish I know about. Yeah, they can live for like 50-plus years in captivity.

[0:20:26] KM: 50?

[0:20:28] TR: Well, we have alligator gar, which it is our official state primitive fish. Remember, there was like a little dust-up at the legislature a few years ago. There was a young Arkansan who was lobbying the legislature to make the alligator gar the official state fish. It was like of all the things to fight about, they fought about this. Because catfish – again, aquaculture is big. I mean, well, should it be the catfish? Or should it be the smallmouth bass? Should it be the largemouth bass, which is the one that most anglers seek? It's the most popular fish in Arkansas. But anyway, they came up with this designation, the alligator gar is the primitive state fish. But yeah, they lived to be 70, 80-plus years.

[0:21:15] KM: Because you love stream fishing for smallmouth bass, you and I may have the same opinion about this. What do you think about our governor's push to increase tourism?

[0:21:26] TR: You're going to kind of put me on the spot here.

[0:21:28] KM: I know. Because you work for the state –

[0:21:30] TR: I do work for the state of Arkansas.

[0:21:30] KM: He works for the state of Arkansas.

[0:21:33] TR: Look. I think that – I said it off the top. The outdoors is part of our culture in Arkansas. I think we'd be foolish not to promote our outdoor heritage, what we have. I mean, because if you look at it, we've got agriculture. And I'm lumping forestry into that. And we have some manufacturing. Actually, it's a really pretty hotbed for both boats and firearms and ammunition manufacturing, which fits right into our outdoor lifestyle, right?

My only qualms about the promotion of it is like – and this is a conundrum that it's a paradox that I have dealt with my entire professional career. Because all I have done since about 1999, 2000 is write, or broadcast, or whatever about the great outdoors. And it's like what's the happy medium? What's the balance between – my and it's still my job at Arkansas Game and Fish is to promote the opportunities that are out there. But then you have this other contingent, it's like there's already too many people doing it. Quit talking about it. I don't want you to –

[0:22:49] KM: That's the way I feel. I don't want people coming in trashing my lakes.

[0:22:53] TR: You know, I mean, it's been –

[0:22:55] KM: I don't go to the Buffalo River anymore.

[0:22:58] TR: You brought it up. I'm glad you did. Because I was going too. But now I can blame you. But the whole thing about this look at making the Buffalo River a national park and preserve, what does that mean? And one of the things that's been cited is, well, it'll bring in more visitors.

Again, it's that balancing act, that fine line that we're walking with – yeah, I mean, I got no problem. I've been an ambassador for Arkansas when I worked for ESPN. I mean, I was felt like the Arkansas traveler. I mean, I was going out and it's like, "Y'all got to come to Arkansas. It's great." But I also told people it's one of the best-kept secrets in the country. And I maybe don't mind if it stays a little bit of a secret, right?

[0:23:40] KM: That's the way I feel. Exactly.

[0:23:42] TR: One of the things I talk often about when we're talking sort of big picture stuff about hunting and fishing and outdoor recreation in general in Arkansas, it's one of the rare industries, let's just use that word, where the flow of money is from urban to rural and not vice versa.

If we think about like you know Northwest Arkansas and Little Rock are our population centers. Everybody's coming here, right? The money's coming from the country to the city. I mean, this is where our restaurants are. I mean, our cultural activities like the rep. Go on and on.

And so, I think that's one of the unique things about hunting and fishing is that money flows the other direction. And it's so important to some of these small communities like a place like Jasper or Ponka to use a couple of Buffalo River towns. I don't want to cut any of those people out of opportunities by saying, "Well, we don't need any more people or whatever."

But I think – I guess what I would say is we need to grow the outdoor recreation industry in Arkansas responsibly and sustainably. And we need to involve those communities on the ground floor of the conversation. And like what does it mean to you? What do you want? I think as long as we do that and do it in a sustainable, responsible way, I don't have any problems with it.

[0:25:06] KM: Let's talk about bait. How do you decide what bait? And if I'm going to just start learning and I'm going to go to a river, is there a place I can go online at the Arkansas Game and look up what I should be catching?

[0:25:17] TR: Absolutely. We actually just launched a new website. It's still agfc.com, but it's got a new look. Just a couple of weeks ago. And it is fantastic. But under the fishing tab, there's like places to fish. You just click on there. And there's maps. And you can like you filter it out with different things. But when you say deciding on it, one of the things I would – if you're new to fishing, we have a lot of other resources at game and fish that a lot of people don't know about such as our nature centers. We've got nine nature centers around the state.

[0:25:50] KM: And what would you do there?

[0:25:52] TR: You can go take a class on fishing 101, or crappie fishing 101, or trout fishing 101. And they're not like all-day classes. They'll be like an hour or two. And some of them even have hands-on stuff where you'll take the rod and reel out to a pond and learn to cast and things like that. But if you didn't know anything, that's where I would start.

And then go to the website. Places to fish. We also have a family and community fishing program. And that unit's really responsibility or job is to kind of bring new people in. And they're doing it at like city park ponds like over here at MacArthur Park. We stock that. We just started stocking recently during the wintertime rainbow trout. And we stocked catfish in the spring and fall.

[0:26:36] KM: Where are you doing that?

[0:26:37] TR: At MacArthur Park. We do it at Boyle Park. We do it at Rock Creek and the pond at Boyle Park. We do it at Lake Valencia in Maumelle. We have three dozen-plus locations around the state where we do that.

[0:26:49] KM: It's trout. And what was the other one?

[0:26:52] TR: Catfish during the spring and fall. And then trout, when it's cold enough in the winter and the trout – and people say, "Well, what happens to the trout when it warms back up?" They all get caught. It's like we've done tagging studies and they're all caught.

[0:27:04] KM: Ain't that cool? All right. This a great place to take a break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation with Mr. Trey Reid from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. We'll ask him about his favorite outdoor recreation and where we should be deer hunting, duck hunting, quail hunting and about conservation and cultivation. More when we come back.


[0:27:21] TW: Part of Kerry McCoy Enterprises is ourcornermarket.com. The perfect online shopping site for everything you need to strengthen your business's image or beautify your home and landscaping. You can browse through products like custom plaques in bronze or aluminum. Business signage. Address plaques to dress up your home or apartment complex. Memorial stones and markers even for your beloved pets. Logo mats and countless other items. Please visit ourcornermarket.com today and start shopping.

[0:27:55] KM: We're speaking today with the likeable man's man, Mr. Trey Reid. Chief of Communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. And an avid fisherman who has literally bass-fished in New York City Central Park. I recommend going back and listening to the 2018 show where he tells you about it. Because you're going to want to do it. It's easy. You can do it from the shore. You can get your bait right there. It's pretty fun.

But let's talk about deer hunting. It's deer season. I didn't know that deer hunting had different times you could hunt depending on the area of the city. I mean, the state.

[0:28:28] TR: Yeah.

[0:28:29] KM: I didn't know that.

[0:28:30] TR: Yeah. Well, and the weapon. We've got an archery season. It opens the – I think it's usually the 4th Saturday in September. And it goes all the way until February 29th. And then we have a muzzle-loading season that starts in October. But the big one, modern gun season, is usually the first – actually, the second weekend in November. And that's the one – that's where the Orange-Clad Army is headed out all over the state. I mean, 300,000-plus people in the woods on opening day.

[0:28:59] KM: Orange-Clad Army.

[0:29:01] GM: Dove T-shirts. The Orange-Clad Army. Yeah.

[0:29:03] TR: We should. We should trademark that.

[0:29:06] KM: Gosh. You should. The Orange-Clad Army of Arkansas. Look, his mind is thinking.

[0:29:14] GM: Orange-Clad Army.

[0:29:15] KM: Of Arkansas.

[0:29:17] GM: Yeah. Or season.

[0:29:19] KM: But I thought I thought I heard just the other day that certain areas of Arkansas had longer gun season than other –

[0:29:26] TR: No. You're absolutely right. In Southeastern Arkansas. And really, most of the southern part of the state. The season lasts like four-plus weeks. But in other areas, it may only last a week or a couple of weeks.

[0:29:43] KM: Oh, really? Do we have too many deer this year? Or not enough?

[0:29:47] TR: We probably. Again, it varies. But overall, as a state, we have an abundance of deer. We got lots of deer.

[0:29:56] KM: Yeah. Let's talk about the chronic wasting disease. CDW. What everybody calls it. Last time, there wasn't a good test. In '18, when we talked, it wasn't a good test that somebody could do in their home. Is there a good test anybody can do now?

[0:30:11] TR: Not really. There are some better live animal test now. But I mean, really, the most effective test still, the deer has to be dead.

[0:30:21] KM: And where do you take it? How do you get it tested?

[0:30:24] TR: Well, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a network of over 100 locations around the state. It's 100% free. Doesn't cost a penny.

[0:30:33] KM: And how do people go there?

[0:30:35] TR: Well, what I would tell them to do is go to agfc.com/cwd for chronic wasting disease. Agfc.com/cwd. There's tons of information there that just explains – we won't go into all or what it is. It's a fatal neurological disease caused by a naturally occurring protein. It's not a virus. It's not a bacteria like most diseases.

[0:30:57] KM: If I eat one of those animals, will I go mad?

[0:31:03] TR: No. Unlikely. But there were some studies done where – you know how scientists do, where they forced enough of this CWD-tainted meat into a primate, a
macaque monkey that it did get CWD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says don't eat a deer that's positive for CWD.

[0:31:28] KM: But you don't know.

[0:31:29] TR: You don't know. But that's why we have the testing. But look, I went out – when we first found it in Arkansas, we went out and talked to a bunch of hunters in Colorado where they've been living with it since the late 1960s there was one guy. He said tested every deer he killed. There were several others, like, "I've never had one tested. And I'm not going to."

[0:31:48] KM: Do you eat deer meat?

[0:31:49] TR: I do. I do. I love venison.

[0:31:51] KM: You're not scared?

[0:31:52] TR: No. No. Not at all.

[0:31:52] KM: Because it could have CW –

[0:31:54] TR: I was talking to Grady about this before the show, by the way.

[0:31:57] KM: Oh, you were? Because I told him I'm not eating deer anymore after doing this show. I'm like, "I'm not eating it anymore."

[0:32:02] TR: Well, here's what you can do. And honestly, we want people to have their deer tested mainly because it helps us keep track of where the disease might show up. Where it is and already is. It's primarily in the Northwestern quarter of the state. Although it was found two seasons ago down on the Louisiana border –

[0:32:19] KM: Oh, that means it's everywhere.

[0:32:21] TR: Yeah. But we're testing a lot of animals in other places and it's not. We're not finding it in other places. But we are working – we have a network of a hundred drop-off freezers. They're kind of self-served. You drop the head of a doe with 6-inches of the neck in a bag. There's like a two-part tag. You keep one. Leave the other one with that. We'll tell within two weeks. You can go home, debone the meat. Whatever. Process it. And then within two weeks, we'll notify you, "Hey, you're good. It's negative. No CWD."

If it's a buck, we do have a network of taxidermists. Because you can't – with the antlers, you can't put those in – they don't fit in the bag and these little drop-off freezers I'm talking about. But we have a taxidermist that will pull a sample for us. We're testing the lymph nodes. And that's why you're taking it out of the neck. Yeah.

[0:33:10] KM: Processors. Let's talk about processors. Have they started regulating processors? Or you just take it to anybody and –

[0:33:18] TR: You can still take your dear to a processor. Here's the thing about CWD. It's not really an issue in the meat itself. It accumulates in the brain, the tonsils, the spinal cord. It's really in nerve tissues where it accumulates. And so, it's not – processors are regulated to an extent by the Department of Health and depending on what they're doing. Game and Fish Regulation, there has to be a tag with that meat. And so, it's like if our game warden walks into a meat processing facility, every deer, or every bag, or cooler, or whatever, it's got to have a tag with it. He's got to be able to say Gray McCoy shot that deer on this date with a modern weapon, or a muzzleloader, or whatever.

[0:34:08] KM: Well, that's interesting. Because I think people don't know that. I think people think that a lot of these big processors are lumping them all together.

[0:34:15] TR: No. I mean, and that's –

[0:34:16] KM: My dad used to say that. I have heard that over the years. But no. I mean, hey, use a reputable processor and you're going to be fine. But no. And I think that's the – everybody wants their deer.

[0:34:30] KM: That's right. Yeah.

[0:34:31] TR: I mean, I don't want you to mix in your – I don't know how you handled it after the harvest. I don't know if you like left it in the warm air for too long or whatever.

[0:34:41] KM: Plus, I've got a young doe that's going to be tender. And I don't want an old stag or whatever.

[0:34:46] TR: Yeah. Great point.

[0:34:47] KM: Dove hunting. Do you like the dove hunt? We've never talked about dove hunting.

[0:34:49] TR: I do. I do. I did some dove hunting this year. For most Arkansans, me included, dove hunting is like a one or two-day thing. Labor Day weekend. It's just a – but what's great about dove hunting is it's the social aspect of it. It's kind of like it happens. It's always the first weekend of college football season and high school, I guess. And there's sort of the same tailgating atmosphere.

You go out. It's the first time you've seen a lot of your hunting buddies since the end of duck season in January the previous year. And it's a social type of hunting. You don't have to be quiet. You can yell. And then there's always a cookout. Bloody Marys, mimosas, whatever, bourbon at the end of the – after the hunt's over. And so, that's I think the joy of dove hunting is the camaraderie, the social aspect of it.

[0:35:42] KM: And that kind of leads into duck hunting. Because the same holds true for duck hunting.

[0:35:47] TR: Yeah. A lot of fun at duck camp.

[0:35:49] KM: A lot of fun at duck camp. I didn't know Arkansas was the duck capital of the world.

[0:35:53] TR: We are the duck capital of the world and primarily because we shoot more mallards in Arkansas than any other state in the country every year. All the hunting culture is strong in Arkansas. But duck hunting culture, it's just – I mean, we are the place to be. I mean, we sell duck stamps. You have to have a state duck stamp as well as a federal duck stamp to hunt ducks. And we sell them to people from all 50 states and multiple foreign countries every year.

[0:36:18] KM: Quail in Arkansas. Bobwhite?

[0:36:21] TR: You know, quail have seen better days in Arkansas and really across the southeast. They're just changing agricultural practices. Changing forestry practices. A lot of things have hurt quail. We have for the past 10 years or so really put a lot of resources, and time and energy into trying to create better quail habitat on our areas. But this kind of leads me into something new that we're doing.

And if you want to kind of stick to a theme, I'll shut up. But we're really trying to work with private land owners more so than we ever have in the past. 90% of Arkansas is privately owned. 10% is in public –

[0:37:07] KM: Is that average or is that –

[0:37:09] TR: For the Southeast, it's pretty common. And when you get West, it's the other. It's 90% public and 10 – Colorado, and Wyoming and Montana, they're almost – Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service. They're huge, huge, huge, millions of acres, blocks of public land with much less private land. But it's kind of the reverse in the eastern half of the country.

[0:37:31] GM: I just read about this. Because the New York Times wrote something about turkey populations. And they talked all about all the private land ownership in the South and stuff like that.

[0:37:39] TR: Yeah. Turkeys and quail are kind of in the same boat. They're both ground-nesting birds. They need certain types of cover, grass cover or [inaudible 0:37:48] cover on the forest floor. And a lot of our forests are very dense. Look at the Ozarks. And people think, "Oh, that's virgin forest." No. It's not. The Ozarks were all cleared off in the late 19 – early 20th century.

[0:37:57] GM: I've been reading all about this. That understory stuff is all –

[0:38:02] TR: The understory so important.

[0:38:03] GM: Yeah. And it's all about that fire stuff. Because everybody's talking about West.

[0:38:07] TR: Yeah. Fire. We suppressed fire for essentially 100 years. Smokey the Bear was way too successful. It was a great marketing campaign. Too great. And now we're coming back around and we know we need to intentionally set the woods on fire. It eliminates the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires.

We've been doing a lot of this on game and fish lands or cooperatively managed lands with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service. But again, we're talking 10% of the land mass of Arkansas. We're really making – we actually just within the past year established a private lands division. A whole group of – we've always had a network of biologists that would – you talked about stocking ponds. And we don't do that. But we will send a guy out if you like, "Hey, I want to have more deer on my property. Or I want to see quail on my property. Or I want to have a better habitat for duck hunting."

We've got biologists that will come out. Basically, they're consultants. For free. And will tell you – they can also tell you how to work like with federal and state grant programs to kind of offset some of the cost. But we are getting into that. And this fits into what you ask about quail. Because if we're going to make a difference really with quail and turkeys both, couple of ground-nesting birds again that have had a hard time because of changing land use practices, we're going to have to do it on private land.

[0:39:28] KM: Are there grants if you want to make your land –

[0:39:30] TR: All kinds of stuff that's out there. From the federal government as well as some state funding stuff.

[0:39:34] KM: For private people?

[0:39:34] TR: Yes. And we're actually – we tried to work it through the legislature last session a conservation tax credit, but it didn't get off the ground over there. We're funding it ourselves. It's going to be called the Conservation Incentive Program. And we've got – I want to say it's about $13.5 million do. And that's just spread over several different types of programs. It's like there's – some of it's Stream Bank Stabilization.

[0:40:02] KM: How do you find out about those grants?

[0:40:05] TR: Agfc.com/habitat. And that'll take you to our private lands page.

[0:40:09] KM: We're almost finished. The ivory-billed woodpecker. Is it still a thing?

[0:40:14] TR: It has been a thing lately because – well, so the fish and wildlife service, I think it's been about two years ago now, proposed delisting it. And delisting it because it's extinct. And there was still a segment of the birding community that just kind of scream bloody murder, "No."

[0:40:35] GM: Holding on for dear life.

[0:40:40] TR: There were several birds that were that were going to be delisted or their status from threatened, endangered, whatever.

[0:40:49] GM: Ivory is just the most charismatic.

[0:40:52] TR: It is. It's the largest woodpecker.

[0:40:54] KM: I still got the license plate.

[0:40:55] TR: There may be a few floating around out there.

[0:40:59] KM: That part of the excise tax that you give?

[0:41:01] TR: No. That's a whole separate program. There's several specialty license plates in Arkansas. But it's one we started about 23, 24 years ago. Now, all of the Department of Finance and Administration gets theirs like they do with any car tag. But the extra goes into a conservation education fund. And it's used only for educational purposes. If you are a school teacher and you want to start a schoolyard habitat, like a butterfly garden, you could apply for a grant from us.

While we're on this, I got to throw this in. Everybody thinks that our game wardens, when they write tickets, that that money comes back to game and fish.

[0:41:43] KM: Does it not?

[0:41:44] TR: It does not. It stays in the county where the fine was collected. And it can only be used for educational purposes. This year, it's administered through the division of rural services. We have the pot of money, but they kind of handle all the grant applications, and reviewing them and all that. Just because I think this year it was about 700, $750,000. And it's roughly that three-quarters of a million dollar range every year.

Say, you're in Pulaski County. Now we don't necessarily have – it's mostly rural here, right? So, we don't have as many fines. But say there's $48,000. And this is a hypothetical number available from fines assessed in Pulaski County last year. If you're a teacher at Little Rock Central, or Pulaski Heights Middle School, or Horace Mann, or wherever and you want to take your kids on a field trip to one of our nature centers, you can apply for that grant to pay for the buses or the diesel in the buses. Or if you want to start an archery program at your school, or a youth trap shooting program, or a butterfly garden, or –

[0:42:53] KM: Nobody knew that. Nobody knows that.

[0:42:54] TR: That is a huge misconception. Everybody thinks that we're just writing tickets to line our pockets and things like that. And that's not how it works at all.

[0:43:03] KM: I'm glad you explain that too. All right. This is not about outdoors. But you did write about sports and love sports. What do you think about our Razorback football coach? Didn't get fired.

[0:43:15] TR: And Kerry, I was in Cuba during the last two weeks of the last two football games. I mean, it was pretty obvious the direction we were headed. I didn't hear as much of the chatter that I normally do on talk radio and all that stuff or talking to my buddies. But it was a disappointing season. And I'm still scratching my head as to why it went the way it did. Of course, we had the big announcement that Bobby Petrino is coming back.

[0:43:46] KM: I never wanted him fired ever.

[0:43:48] TR: And so, it's interesting. I'll just say that. It's interesting. And I think it's probably going to be good for the football team.

[0:43:57] KM: I know. All right. Basketball. Who doesn't love Musselman?

[0:44:02] TR: Oh, I love Eric Musselman. And I'm hoping for great things.

[0:44:06] KM: We dropped down in our ranking, I think. Because we haven't won the last games. But that's kind of the way he always starts his games.

[0:44:12] TR: Yeah. Musselman teams do seem to start slow.

[0:44:15] KM: Always starts slow.

[0:44:15] TR: And I think part of that is a function of sort of the way college athletics is these days and more so in basketball. Because you've got these transfers. You got the transfer portal. All the NIL money. And so, you got to kind of figure out how these parts fit together. He seems to do a really good job by at least February or so. Those parts start to fit together and they start to work together.

[0:44:37] KM: Right before March Madness, he pulls it together.

[0:44:40] TR: And then we make a run into the tournament.

[0:44:42] KM: Love it. All right. This is a great place to take a break. We'll continue our conversation with Trey Reid from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. This is our last break. We'll be right back.


[0:44:52] TW: Merry Christmas, everybody. And thank you for listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, sponsored by flagandbanner.com, where we realize the world's a big place filled with people of every stripe. But one thing that every society seems to have in common is finding things to celebrate.

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[0:45:39] KM: We're speaking today with Mr. Trey Reid, Assistant Chief of Communications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Editor of Tail Fly Fishing Magazine and Strung Sporting Journal. And host of The Wild Side Radio Show on 103.7 The Buzz that airs Tuesday nights at 7pm central time.

Tail fly fishing is the only print publication about saltwater fly fishing?

[0:46:02] TR: It is.

[0:46:03] KM: That's what you started the show about. Saltwater fly fishing.

[0:46:07] TR: Yeah. Kind of keeping with the theme of what Up in Your Business kind of started out to be and how it is. I think it fits well with this. Because I never set out to have a side hustle as the editor of a saltwater fly-fishing magazine. It was a passion that – I've always enjoyed fishing. And you do the things here. It's like, well, I want to fish for something bigger or something more challenging in the saltwater. And I read Jimmy Buffett books. And he was into it. And I'd read about it.

And so, in '07, my wife and I went on vacation. And she wanted to go to the beach. And I said, "Well, I want to go somewhere where I can try this." And I did it. It was one of these things that I did like once a year or once every other year. And usually, only for maybe a day or two while as part of a family vacation, or my wife and I getting away, or whatever.

And so, probably about the time that I did your show the first time in 2018, I talked to my wife and said, "Look, I want to go down to this place in Mexico where we had vacation frequently and where I saltwater fly fish." I said, "But I'm not going to take you this time. It's going to be a guys trip. And I want to fish like hard. I want to fish every day."

And so, that kind of turned into an annual thing with a group of guys. And I started writing – well, I had reached out to Tail Fly Fishing. I was just a subscriber and had some friends that read it. And I told them, I was like, "Hey, there's this really cool restaurant there." And this is a town of like 400 people. But this restaurant could have a Michelin Star if it was in a city. It's really, really good.

[0:47:55] KM: Now, where are we?

[0:47:57] TR: We're in Xcalak, Mexico. Right down on the Belize border. 5-and-a-half-hour drive from Cancun. The editor of the magazine at the time says, "Well, I want to know about the fishing." I said, "Well, I'm going down in March." This was in like January, February of 2020.

Well, I was there when the world went crazy. When everything shut down. I was there. We got there on a Saturday. By Wednesday, our wives were saying you can't buy toilet paper, and Clorox and hand sanitizer. Then the schools closed down. And then I think Trump was president at the time. Declared National Emergency on Friday the 13th. We were in a bar in Tulum, Mexico and like, "Are we going to be able to fly out of Cancun tomorrow?"

[0:48:40] KM: Could you?

[0:48:40] TR: We did. But of course, everything changed there. I wrote what I thought was a pretty good story about like that experience. One thing led to another. And the publisher and founder of the magazine is an emergency room doctor. The other guy was a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He just passed his boards. And so, he's like, "I'm not going to do this anymore. Why don't you take over as editor?" That's kind of how it happened.

I wanted to find a way to do more of something I love to do. And this was a way for me to do it. And even the job at Game and Fish, some days I get paid to go hunting and fishing, right? Let's just be honest about it. And there's a lot more to it than that obviously. Somehow, some way over the last 20, 25 years, I've been able to do some things professionally that have allowed me to still pursue passions and make a few dollars while I'm doing it.

[0:49:41] GM: Side hustle.

[0:49:42] TR: It is. And I think the magazines are a great example of that.

[0:49:46] KM: How do you get these two magazines?

[0:49:48] TR: You can subscribe to Tail Fly Fishing by going to tailflyfishing.com. And Strong is at strongmag.com.

[0:49:59] KM: Okay. Winter right now. We're doing trout.

[0:50:04] TR: Trout would be a good thing to fish for right now.

[0:50:05] KM: And then next we're going to do duck. And deer season's almost over.

[0:50:10] TR: Yeah. Although, we'll have the Christmas holiday hunt the 26th, 27th and 28th. And then we have a private lands doe only hunt for like the last three days of the year. Then there's a youth gun hunt in January.

[0:50:22] KM: Trey, I've enjoyed visiting with you. I always enjoyed visiting with you. You're so well-spoken.

[0:50:27] TR: I enjoy visiting with you as well. I enjoyed being here.

[0:50:29] KM: Thank you. This is your gift. It's a US and an Arkansas flag.

[0:50:33] TR: Oh, cool.

[0:50:34] KM: Last time, I gave you –

[0:50:37] TR: Had a duck flag.

[0:50:39] KM: A decorative duck flag.

[0:50:39] TR: Yeah. Well, I got to tell you, my oldest granddaughter, Autumn, who will be 16 in March, is a big collector of flags. We have purchased a couple here over the years for Christmas presents. But anytime I go out of the country, I bring her back a flag.

[0:50:55] KM: Do you buy small ones? Or do you buy the bigger ones? You get the three by fives.

[0:50:56] TR: Oh, no. No. No. No. Her room is lined with flags. Like the entire ceiling and walls.

[0:51:03] GM: Love that.

[0:51:04] KM: Girls don't usually do that. Boys do that.

[0:51:07] TR: She is a flag fiend.

[0:51:08] KM: That is so unusual for a female.

[0:51:11] GM: Love that.

[0:51:13] KM: I love that too. And I want to tell the listeners, I'm jealous of you. Because you're raising both of your granddaughters, which seems like a dream come true.

[0:51:19] TR: It's fun. It's fun.

[0:51:21] KM: Oh, so much better probably the second time around.

[0:51:24] TR: I'm better at it I think the second time around.

[0:51:27] KM: Absolutely. All right.

[0:51:27] TR: They might argue that. I don't know.

[0:51:31] KM: This show was recorded in the hallow walls of the Taborian Hall in Little Rock, Arkansas and made possible by the good works of flagandbanner.com. Our audio engineer and local celeb, Mr. Tom Wood. Summa cum laude videographer, Mr. Jonathan Hankins. Production manager, my daughter, Ms. Megan Pitman. And my co-host, Mr. Grady McCoy IV. A.k.a. Son Gray as I call him on the radio.

Thank you for spending time with us. We hope you've heard or learned something that's been inspiring or enlightening. And that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your Independence or your life. I'm Kerry McCoy and I'll see you next time on Up in Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.


[0:52:12] GM: You've been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. For links to resources you heard discussed on today's show, go to flagandbanner.com, select radio show and choose today's guest. If you'd like to sponsor this show, contact me. Gray@flagandbanner.com. All interviews are recorded and posted the following week. Stay informed of exciting upcoming guests by subscribing to our YouTube channel or podcast wherever you like to listen. Kerry's goal is simple, to help you live the American dream.


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