Arkansas Volunteer Boasts Unique Nickname, Lifelong Passion for the Ducks

Anyone who has been involved with Arkansas Ducks Unlimited has probably heard the name “Mongo”

Keith "Mongo" Futrell (right), Keith

Keith "Mongo" Futrell (right), Keith's son, Heath (left), and DU Regional Director Bob Butler (center).

Anyone who has been involved with Arkansas Ducks Unlimited has probably heard the name “Mongo.” “You might forget a name like Keith Futrell, but you’ll never forget Mongo,” says DU Regional Director Bob Butler.

This dynamic and engaging volunteer from Pocahontas, Arkansas, started duck hunting at age 9, when his grandfather took him out on the Black River. Mongo began volunteering with his local DU chapter at 18 and has steadily served on that same committee for 37 years.

“Mongo’s passion and drive are unmatched. His dedication and focus are helping secure our hunting heritage for future generations,” says DU Director of Development Corey Dunn. “Mongo is one of many great volunteers who make DU the incredible organization it is.”

Mongo laughs as he describes the unique nature of the DU event he holds at his duck camp each fall. “We own a cabin on the Black River, surrounded by Dave Donaldson Wildlife Management Area. You can walk out my door, step into a boat, and go anywhere on the WMA you want,” he says. “There’s a group of cabins on 17 acres of private land, where a community of folks lives November to January. Every year we have a DU event in a tent the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s the only DU event in the country that doesn’t have a zip code!”

Jeff Lawrence, DU director of fundraising and volunteer relations, has been a good friend of Mongo’s for years as well as a partner in his cabin. “Mongo is a skilled duck, deer, and turkey hunter, and soon he’ll be able to blow a duck call as well as I can,” Jeff jokes.

During a project at DU's 2018 Varsity camp, Keith "Mongo" Futrell (right) passed on his knowledge of waterfowl, conservation, and hunting.

Mongo’s deepest passion lies in youth engagement in the outdoors. “I started on the ground level as a volunteer, opening boxes and putting things together for our fundraising dinner,” he recalls. “Then I became area chair for a few years, zone chair for several years, and when Alan Higganbotham became state chair, he talked me into becoming the state Greenwing chair. I’m still doing that today.”

Mongo also serves on DU’s national Youth and Education Committee. He got involved in Arkansas’s annual youth camp when his own son attended at age 15 and has been serving as a camp counselor for the past 15 years. He also travels to as many Arkansas Greenwing events as he can to volunteer.

As a Sponsor in Perpetuity, Mongo’s support for Ducks Unlimited is driven by his desire to ensure that his son, daughter-in-law, and, he hopes, grandchildren have the same opportunities he has had to enjoy waterfowl and wetlands. “I hunt 90 percent public property, so DU’s partnerships with state and federal agencies really resonate with me,” Mongo says.

When he’s not working for the ducks, Mongo runs a commercial game ranch and serves on the Pocahontas city council. He can often be found enjoying a ride on his Harley Davidson Road King.