OPINION | PAPER TRAILS: Costner in Arkansas, bags ducks

The guy from "Yellowstone," "Field of Dreams," "Dances with Wolves," "Bull Durham," "The Postman," "Robin Hood," "The Bodyguard," "Man of Steel," "Molly's Game," "Open Range" and a bunch of other movies and TV shows was in Arkansas earlier this month.

We're talking, of course, about actor Kevin Costner, who made stops in Hot Springs, Searcy, Weiner and DeWitt.

Costner and some buddies got in some duck hunting during his visit, and judging from the photos that popped up on Facebook and Twitter, they were not disappointed. (Insert "If you do something or other he will come" reference here.)

Reji Short helped Costner get out into the field. Short is one of the owners of Trader Bill's Outdoor Sports, which has locations in Hot Springs and Little Rock. On Dec. 9, Short's pal Rick Williams, who is also friends with Costner, called to say that the actor was in Hot Springs and needed an Arkansas hunting license.

It was late in the day and Trader Bill's was closed, Short says, but he met with Costner, the actor's sons and Williams, and got him lined up with a license.

"He's big into duck hunting. He already had his federal stamp on the back of his California license," Short says. "They were planning on hunting Friday and one of his friends said it was going to rain, and Costner said, 'I love to hunt in the rain.'"

Short's mother-in-law, Becky Elliott, is a big Costner fan, he says. She was with him when he got the call from Williams to meet the star, but didn't get out of the truck.

Short and Costner visited for a few minutes and then he asked if Costner would come out to meet Elliott.

"He went out there and spent probably 10 minutes with her," he says. "He held her hand and they swapped dog stories back and forth."

Short and his wife, Mandy, are also fans and have been watching "Yellowstone."

"When I first walked in, I told him that I wasn't going to ask him about what happens in the next episode of 'Yellowstone,'" he says. "He laughed and got a kick out of that."

Along with bagging ducks in the Delta, Costner also paid a visit to the new indoor practice facility at Harding University in Searcy.

Costner, who performs with his band, Modern West, has an interest in Arkansas that goes beyond duck hunting.

He announced last year that he planned to open a museum of his movie and music memorabilia in Hot Springs.

"I don't know why [I chose Hot Springs], but I have," he told Storme Warren during a June 19, 2020, interview on Sirius XM Radio's "The Highway." "And you know, they'll probably put up big barricades, 'Don't come here, don't come here,' and if they do that I certainly won't, but I went there and kind of really dug it, the history of it. It's kind of like a little Switzerland."

email: sclancy@adgnewsroom.com