My name is Ronnie Ladd aka SwampHunter. I live in Augusta, Arkansas.
I grew up into duck hunting being from the Delta Region of Arkansas. I
started guiding when I was about 15 years old. I hunt a number of areas
including swamps, timber, rivers, big water, and various other types of water.
I love timber hunting, but my heart lies in diver hunting. We get huge rafts
of divers here with the flood waters. It is not uncommon to see thousands in a
single raft. When I am diver hunting I shoot mainly from a boat blind, or a
fixed blind. My dream is to one day own a true layout boat.
I was influenced into carving by folks like Ben Schmidt, Miles Pirney, Shang
Wheeler, along with many others.
I tried my first hand at decoy carving about the same age I started guiding.
With no one to teach me to carve, I gave up on it quick. In 1999 I was
introduced to the internet. This led me to the vast amounts of carving
knowledge, and once again fueled the flames of carving. I emailed Willy McDonald
looking for advice. Willy coaxed me into buying his video called, "How To
Carve A Hunting Decoy." This was just what I needed to get started. Willy
is an excellent teacher, and I highly recommend him to anyone that wishes to
I started out using black cork from MLB. With the need for more detail, I
switched to tan cork, ordering from various places. Willy came through again,
when he introduced me to the tan cork he sold. I was hooked. I use basswood for
most of my heads, using tupelo, sugar pine, and cedar sometimes. I use Chroma
Airbrush Colors, and Jo Sonja’s Artist Colors. I use Oak for most of my keels.
I also carve a variety of other waterfowl artwork including Plaques, duck
call stands, bookends, as well as Decorative Decoys.
I have not started competing as of yet, but hope to in the near future. My
decoys have sold as far away as Saudi Arabia.