PINE BLUFF – Biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today proposed continuing the conservative turkey season structure, which has been in place since 2007. If approved at the October meeting, the season would be 18 days for most of the state with an additional two-day youth hunt.
The proposed season would begin April 14, 2012, and continue through May 1, 2012, in zones 1, 2, 3, 4B, 5, 5B, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9, 10 and 17. In zones 4, 4A, 5A and 9A, it would run April 14-24, 2012. Zone 1A would remain closed. A youth hunt is proposed for April 7-8, 2012, in all open zones.
The Wildlife Management Bureau arrived at the conservative season after reviewing turkey season harvest information, and brood survey and gobbling chronology figures for the past several years.
Bag limits would remain the same as last year. The statewide bag limit is two adult gobblers or bearded hens, no jakes. Hunters 15 and younger may harvest one jake as part of their two-bird limit during the season (including the youth hunt). No more than one turkey may be taken per day.
In other business, the Commission:
*Approved a budget increase of $813,071 for modifications to boat ramps, access roads, swimming beaches and parking facilities around Bull Shoals Lake. The modifications are a result of the implementation of minimum flows from the lake.
*Approved a budget increase of $80,000 for the planning and preparation for the construction of a shooting range in Warren.
*Approved a policy to manage the use of cellular telephones.
*Approved a list of 29 repair and renovation projects across the state. The projects total $704,900.
*Approved 2012 fishing regulation changes.
*Approved 2011-12 late migratory bird codes.
*Approved a budget increase of $66,444.46 to close out the Sulphur River Wildlife Management Area project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
*Approved the acquisition of 2.6 acres adjoining the Oak Donnick Access on the St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA. The site will be used for additional parking. Cost of the land is $13,000.
*Approved a $58,359 budget increase, from grant funds returned from the Corps of Engineers, to be used in stream bank rehabilitation and fish habitat on the White and Kings rivers.
*Approved a budget increase of $30,000 from Marine Fuel Tax funds to extend the South Shore Landing Access boat ramp on Lake Columbia. The access will be renamed Selwyn Whitehead South Shore Landing in honor of Whitehead’s commitment to conservation of fish and wildlife resources in Arkansas.
*Approved the acquisition of a 1.2-acre site, known as the Old Factory Site, along the Little Missouri River in Pike County. Cost of the land is $12,000.
*Approved a budget increase of $344,464 from grant funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be used in completing two state wildlife grant projects. The projects include restoring wetland habitat at Ed Gordon Point Remove and Bell Slough WMAs, and monitoring the effects of natural gas drilling on aquatic habitats and species composition at Scott Henderson Gulf Mountain WMA.
*Approved up to $30,000 for the purchase of a 20-acre tract of land that is adjacent to W.E. Brewer Scatter Creek WMA.
*Approved a budget increase of $75,000 to be used for hydrology restoration on about 1,000 acres of bottomland hardwood forest with the greentree reservoir at Nimrod Lloyd Millwood WMA.
*Approved a $375,798 budget increase for the Wildlife Management Bureau to be used in statewide habitat and moist-soil management programs.
*Approved a $373,966.55 budget increase for the Education and Information Bureau for funding a shortfall in the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program and Conservation Scholarship Program budgets.
*Approved a $286,140 budget increase of the Fisheries Bureau for maintenance and operations.