LITTLE ROCK – For well over a decade, waterfowl hunters have enjoyed 60 days to pursue their passion. This year will be no different. Waterfowl season was set by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at today’s monthly meeting at the agency’s headquarters in Little Rock.
Of the three options presented at the July meeting, the Commission opted for option 3. That option allows the most hunting opportunities for the state’s youth. Duck season dates are Nov. 20-Nov. 28, Dec. 7-Jan. 17 and Jan. 22-Jan. 30. The youth waterfowl hunt will be Feb. 5-6. Duck bag limits will be no more than six ducks consisting of:
3 wood ducks
1 black duck
1 mottled duck
Commission Chairman Craig Campbell said this option has the best chance of providing good hunting for duck hunters at some point in the season.
“A split within the season of four to five days, as ducks are migrating into Arkansas, will be helpful. The splits in this option allow these birds to “settle in” for a few days. This should help provide high-quality second and third opening days,” Campbell said.
Commission Vice Chairman George Dunklin said the option is structured to allow the season to remain open during a time when students, particularly college students, will be out of school.
“That’s what we want to focus on – the youth of our state. With this option, there are seven weekends and four holidays where parents and mentors can take kids to the flooded fields and timber of Arkansas to teach them life lessons that can’t be found in a classroom,” Dunklin said.
The Commission also set the northwest Canada goose zone season for Sept. 25-Oct. 4 with a bag limit of two geese. The statewide Canada goose season will be Sept. 1-15 with a bag limit of five geese and Nov. 20-Jan. 30 with a bag limit of two geese.
White-fronted goose season will be Nov. 20-Jan. 30 with a bag limit of two geese. Snow, blue and Ross’ goose season is Nov. 6-Jan. 30 with a bag limit of 20 geese. The Snow Goose Conservation Order will be Jan. 31-Feb. 4 and Feb. 7-April 25 with no bag limit.
In other business, the Commission:
- Agreed to apply for a transportation enhancement grant from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department for the construction of highway pull-outs along Arkansas Highway 43 in Boxley Valley. The highway is a popular spot for people viewing elk. The grant is $145,000.
- Approved five projects that will be paid for with Marine Fuel Tax money. The five projects include two resurfacing projects on Lake Columbia at the C. Maurice Lewis and South Shore accesses, a resurfacing project on the Ouachita River at Little Bay Access, a resurfacing project at the Bear Creek Access on Lake Greeson and a resurfacing project at Okay Landing on Lake Millwood.
- Approved funding for a watershed study on Lake Conway. The study will be used to identify the sources of the sediments in the lake and ways to reduce the rate that the lake is filling in. Cost of the study is $200,000.
- Approved a renovation project on Bramble Park Pond in Texarkana. The project includes a mobility impaired accessible fishing pier, building a sidewalk from the parking lot to the fishing pier and dredging the pond. Cost of the project is $24,000.
- Agreed to build a tournament weigh-in facility at the Pendleton Access on the Arkansas River in Desha County. The area is a popular bass fishing spot and staging point for bass tournaments. The Arkansas Bass Association is providing $5,000 toward the total project cost of $20,000.
- Approved fishing regulation changes for 2011.
- Approved donating a youth elk permit to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation as a fundraiser. The youth permit will be good for the 2010 December elk season. Two bull elk permits were donated to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as a fundraiser. The bull elk permits will be good for the September 2010 elk season.
- Heard a proposal to end the second dove season Jan. 3 instead of Jan. 5. The latter date was mistakenly approved at the July meeting. The proposal will correct the error and make the season 70 days as mandated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Discussed a proposed regulation change that reads “It shall be unlawful to exceed the possession limit for any species of fish and wildlife for which there is a daily limit with the exception that for all fish or wildlife resources, excluding migratory game birds, taken for personal consumption, the Arkansas possession limit shall not apply after the fish or wildlife resource has been completely processed and resides within a residence of the possessor. For purposes of the possession limit, a residence is a permanent structure (such as a house or a trailer) that is permanently in place and is owned, leased or rented fully or in part by an individual who uses the residence to store processed fish or wildlife taken in Arkansas and excluding mobile travel trailers, tents, temporary rental units (such as motels, lodges, cabins or resorts) and vehicles.”
- Renamed Halowell Reservoir on Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area to Brett Morgan Halowell Reservoir Waterfowl Rest Area. The rest area is one of six lakes on the WMA; Halowell is the largest at 600 acres. It was named for former commissioner Morgan in honor of his service to the Commission.
- Renamed Gulf Mountain Wildlife Management Area to honor outgoing AGFC Director Scott Henderson. The WMA will be known as Scott Henderson Gulf Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Henderson has been with the agency for 37 years and has accepted another position within the agency.