METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Phil Robertson, one of the shaggy-bearded stars of the hit reality TV series "Duck Dynasty," used to get mistaken for a homeless man. He said he was even singled out once at an airport for a security search and wands went "places my woman hasn't been in years."
These days, though, the patriarch of a family of duck hunters-turned-millionaires is more likely to get stopped by strangers who want autographs or pictures.
"When you look like this, there's no hat and glasses that can cover it up," Phil's son Willie said, drawing laughs from his family of co-stars. "I'm certainly more recognizable. I can tell you that."
Last Saturday, more than 500 fans showed up at an autograph session with the family. The Robertsons cracked jokes about their celebrity status and signed books, T-shirts, shoes and even some hunting rifles for fans in their home state of Louisiana.
The show, which airs on A&E, follows the family and its business, Duck Commander, which specializes in handmade duck calls and other bird hunting gear. But the Robertsons are easily distracted from their work and amuse the audience with their humorous adventures.
The show premiered in 2012 and is in its third season, drawing about 8 million viewers a week. The Robertsons would not talk about the status of a fourth season or reports they were holding out for more money. But if their popularity is any indication, they'll be back.
The Robertsons have fan merchandise such as bobble-head dolls, duck-themed license plates and Chia Pet planters in the shape of their faces with greenery that grows like their beards.
At the autograph session, Phil, with his sons Willie and Jase, and his brother Silas "Uncle Si" Robertson, gathered outside a sporting goods store in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie. Kids in the crowd blew into duck calls while a group of women chanted "Si, Si, Si, Si!"
"We're getting more and more used to it as we go around, seeing people crowded up and wanting a picture or an autograph, and we think it's neat," said Willie Robertson. "We were hoping the show would have that kind of impact, and it has."