LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission set the state’s deer hunting seasons today, with modern gun deer season opening Nov. 8, archery season opening Sept. 27, and muzzleloader season opening Oct. 18. The deer season dates are part of the 2014-15 general hunting regulations approved during the Commission’s monthly meeting.
Season dates for the 2014-15 deer hunting season:
Archery – All zones: Sept. 27-Feb. 28, 2015.
Modern Gun - Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10 and 11: Nov. 8-30.
Zone 4: Nov. 8-9.
Zone 5: Nov. 8-9 and Nov. 15-16.
Zones 4A, 5A, 14 and 15: Nov. 8-Dec. 7.
Zones 4B and 5B: Nov. 8-16.
Zones 9, 12 and 13: Nov. 8-Dec. 14.
Zone 16, 16A and 17: Nov. 8-Dec. 25.
Muzzleloader – Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4A, 5A, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10, 11, 14 and 15: Oct. 18-26 and Dec. 13-15. Zones 9, 12, 13, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 18-26 and Dec. 29-31. Zones 4, 4B, 5 and 5B: Closed.
The statewide Christmas holiday modern gun deer hunt is Dec. 26-28. Youth modern gun deer hunts will be held Nov. 1-2 and Jan. 3-4, 2015. A private land antlerless-only modern gun deer hunt in zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 8, 8A, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17 will be held Oct. 11-15.
The commission also approved the harvest of feral hogs only during bear, deer and elk firearms seasons on certain WMAs. The regulation permits some taking of nuisance feral hogs, without promoting the recreational hunting of feral hogs, on Commission-controlled property.
In other business, the Commission:
*Authorized AGFC Director Mike Knoedl, on behalf of the AGFC, to enter into an agreement to purchase 42 acres on Highway 7 near Jasper. Purchase price of the property is $250,000. The purchase will go forward after an appraisal and review, environmental analysis, survey, title commitment and other due diligence.
*Discussed the Cane Creek Lake and Lake Chicot drawdowns and the daily creel limits on the two fisheries.
*Authorized AGFC Director Mike Knoedl, on behalf of the AGFC, to enter into an agreement to purchase 959 acres adjacent to the Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms Wildlife Management Area near Georgetown in White County. Purchase price of the property is $1.8 million. The purchase will go forward after an appraisal and review, environmental analysis, survey, title commitment and other due diligence. The AGFC has secured $1 million through a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to begin the acquisition and has a second NAWCA grant in review that would provide the balance of the anticipated purchase price.
*Reviewed the 2013-2014 deer harvest. AGFC Deer Program Coordinator Cory Gray told Commissioners that hunters checked 213,199 deer. The harvest is the second highest on record behind the 2012-13 record of 213,487 deer. Compared to last season, the buck harvest decreased slightly from 110,448 to 105,952 while the doe harvest increased from 103,039 to 107,247.
*Agreed to execute a quitclaim deed on a 5.72-acre tract of the Gene Rush Buffalo River WMA in Searcy County. A land survey and title search revealed a claim of ownership by Kathryn Rogers superior to AGFC’s interest. The AGFC will quitclaim the land to Rogers. The agency’s title insurance will reimburse the AGFC $2,000 per acre for the loss of the acreage.
*Honored 35 AGFC employees for their years of service to the agency. The group represented 430 years of experience.
*Arkansas Wildlife Federation President Wayne Shewmake presented Arkansas Stream Team Coordinator Steve Filipek with the group’s Water Conservationist of the Year award.