The following regulations apply to all wildlife management areas, unless otherwise noted in the specific WMA's notes. Review the area notes on the WMA page for additional restrictions specific to each WMA.
Boating Regulations on WMAs
It is unlawful to operate a boat in any manner that is hazardous to persons or property on any
part of a WMA including ramps, structures, boat lanes or other areas.
Examples of illegal boating practices include:
- Weaving through congested vessel traffic;
- Jumping the wake of another vessel too close to such other vessel;
- Operating a vessel when visibility is obstructed;
- Moving at a speed that exceeds the safe and reasonable limits under the circumstances or
that creates a hazardous wash or wake upon approaching or passing vessels;
- Inattentive operation;
- Failure to keep a proper lookout;
- Failure to observe navigation rules;
- Colliding with, striking or bumping another vessel, object or person;
- Operating while intoxicated or under the influence of any narcotic drug, barbiturate, or
marijuana or while under any physical or mental disability so as to be incapable of operating
safely under the circumstances;
- Swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision where correction reasonably could
have been made earlier;
- Otherwise operating a vessel in a manner that endangers life, limb or property.
Any person found guilty of negligent operation (unintentional hazardous operation) may be fined $250 to $2,500, may be sentenced up to 60 days in jail and will be prohibited from accessing any WMA for one year from the date of conviction.
Any person found guilty of reckless operation (intentional hazardous operation) may be fined $500 to $5,000, may be sentenced up to 90 days in jail, will be prohibited from accessing any WMA for one year from the date of conviction and lose hunting and fishing privileges statewide for one year from the date of conviction.
Importing Firewood Banned on WMAs
It is unlawful to import, transport or carry firewood into a Commission-owned WMA by any means. Persons camping on WMAs may gather dead and downed wood from within the WMA to burn at campsites.
Hunting Stands and Blinds
- It is illegal to construct, place or occupy a permanent hunting stand, waterfowl blind, building, shelter or moored houseboat on a WMA.
- Portable hunting stands and equipment may be used with the following stipulations:
- Portable, pop-up ground blinds used during firearms deer, bear or elk seasons on public land must have at least 144 square inches of hunter orange or chartreuse on each visible side of the blind at least 3 feet above the ground.
- Waterfowl blinds must be torn down at the end of shooting hours each day.
- No metal objects may be screwed or driven into the tree.
- Stands must have the owner’s name and address permanently attached.
- Stands must be moved at least 200 yards after seven days.
- Stands may not be placed more than seven days before deer archery season and must be removed within seven days after the close of deer archery season.
- On USDA Forest Service lands, portable tree stands are allowed but must be removed by season's end. Note: The Ouachita National Forest requires all tree stands to be moved within 14 days of their original placement.
- It is unlawful to possess, place, deposit or scatter any grain or other feed to attract wildlife or attempt to take wildlife using bait on any WMA.
- Exception: Appropriate bait or lures may be used in legally set traps during an open furbearer trapping season.
- Exception: Hunters traveling to private land completely surrounded by WMAs may carry bait through the WMA and use it on their private property.
- All-terrain vehicles, dune buggies and amphibious vehicles are restricted on AGFC-owned WMAs
- Vehicles may not be operated off any open access road or parking area, behind gated, cabled or earthen barriers or on levees, dams, food plots, fire lanes or roads that have been developed for wildlife.
- Mobility Impaired access permit holders may use an ATV on AGFC-owned WMAs to travel on graveled, all-weather roads and designated Mobility Impaired access trails. They may use an ATV during muzzleloader and modern gun deer seasons with the following restrictions:
- ATVs may be used only for stand placement and hunting.
- Permit holders on ATVs must deer hunt at least 100 feet but no more than 300 feet from graveled, all-weather roads. ATVs may be operated within 300 feet of designated Mobility Impaired access trails.
- Permit holders must be able to see their ATV at all times while hunting.
- Firearms must be unloaded and cased while being transported by ATV.
- ATVs may be used beyond 300 feet from a road or Mobility Impaired access trail only to retrieve big game taken by permit holder.
- On Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests - The Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests have designated systems of roads and trails for public motor vehicle use. Any road or trail not classified for motorized vehicle use is closed. Operating any motorized vehicle on a road posted as closed, closed by an earthen mound, gate or other object, or not designated for motorized vehicle use in official Forest Service maps is prohibited. Maps of designated routes are available at http://www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ouachita.htm or any Forest Service office.
Shooting From Roads
- Shooting across, from or hunting within 100 feet of a road on any WMA is prohibited, except:
- Small game (excluding fox, bobcat and coyote) being pursued or treed by a dog or under the point of a dog may be taken within 100 feet from the centerline of a road on Big Timber, Casey Jones, Cherokee, Gum Flats, Howard County, Jim Kress, Lafayette County, Lake Greeson, Moro Big Pine Natural Area and Provo WMAs as long as the road is not city, county, state or federally maintained.
- Trappers may use legal firearms to harvest animals caught in legally set traps.
- Licensed/permitted falconers may hunt with and trap birds of prey in accordance with state and federal falconry regulations.
- Killing devices or traps may not be possessed on a WMA unless a season is open.
- Rifles and pistols larger than .22 caliber rimfire, buckshot and rifled slugs may be used only during modern gun deer, bear or elk seasons, or during daylight hours during bobcat, fox and coyote seasons.
- Muzzleloaders larger than .40 caliber may be used on any WMA only during muzzleloading and modern gun deer, bear or elk seasons.
- Firearms may be carried to and from firing ranges on WMAs.
- Concealed weapon permit holders may carry a modern handgun, except in places where otherwise prohibited under federal, state or local law or where not allowed by the landowner. Concealed weapons may not be used for any hunting purpose. Concealed weapon permit holders must identify themselves to a wildlife officer when complying with an inspection pertaining to birds, fish, game or other wildlife.
Permit Deer Hunts
- Camping is allowed only in designated campsites.
- Camping is limited to no more than 14 consecutive days.
- Camps may not remain unoccupied for more than 48 hours.
- Creating a disturbance after 10 p.m. is prohibited.
- Camping is restricted to permit holders during permit hunts. Waterfowl hunters and nonhunters camping with a permit holder do not need a permit.
- Loaded firearms are not allowed in camping areas.
- Camping on USDA Forest Service WMAs is regulated by Forest Service rules.
- Designated camping facilities are available. Some campgrounds require a fee.
- Undeveloped campsites are first come/first served basis and canot be reserved.
- Undeveloped campsites may be occupied for no more than 30 consecutive days.
- Developed campsites may be occupied for no more than 14 consecutive days.
- Camping or operating/parking motorized vehicles is not allowed in wildlife openings or food plots.
Horses and Mules
- Pleasure riding and organized trail rides are allowed February, March and June-September on AGFC-owned land.
- Permits for organized events involving 10 or more horses or mules are available from wildlife management area headquarters and must be obtained at least two weeks before the event.
- Horses and riders are restricted to established roads and trails.
- Horses and mules are allowed only in those camping areas designed for equestrian use. Horses in camping areas must be tied to trailers or highlines using tree saver straps.
- Horses and mules must not damage trees or other woody vegetation. Soil disturbance must be restored, manure must be scattered and excess feed, hay and trash must be removed.
- These requirements do not apply to Ozark National Forest land.
- Unless otherwise noted, hunters may use horses or mules for hunting purposes during open seasons on WMAs and at night during furbearer seasons.
- On AGFC-owned WMAs and on Big Timber, DeGray Lake, Poison Springs and Maumelle River WMAs, with the exception of campers in designated campgrounds, it is illegal to use or possess chainsaws, handsaws, hatchets, axes, weed trimmers, string trimmers, other cutting devices or chemical defoliants.
- Hunting knives, pocket knives and pocket saws are allowed.
- Gathering of firewood that is dead and down for camp use is allowed.
- WMAs are closed to dogs, except:
- Quail and rabbit dog training is allowed Sept. 1-April 1, except during firearms deer hunts that prohibit dogs.
- Quail hunting is allowed with bird dog breeds when quail season is open.
- Woodcock hunting is allowed with bird dog breeds when woodcock season is open.
- UKC, AKC and ACHA field trials are allowed when approved by the AGFC.
- Waterfowl retrievers may be used during open migratory bird seasons.
- Dogs are required to hunt at night for bobcat, opossum and raccoon.
- Dogs may be used for hunting squirrel and rabbit in season, except during firearms deer hunts that prohibit dogs.
Waterfowl Rest Areas
- All waterfowl rest areas are closed to access Nov. 1-Feb. 15, unless otherwise noted.
- It is illegal for waterfowl hunters to be guided on wildlife management areas or special use areas. Both hunters and guides are subject to penalties.
Nonresident WMA Waterfowl Hunting Permit
Nonresidents need a valid Arkansas hunting license and a permit to hunt waterfowl on certain wildlife management areas. If you are a nonresident waterfowl hunter intending to hunt on a WMA, see WMA details in Where to Hunt). The Nonresident Wildlife Management Area Waterfowl Hunting Permit costs $25 for five days or $100 for the entire waterfowl season, and is valid for all WMAs where required. The permit is available online, by telephone or from license dealers.
Waterfowl Hunting Ends at Noon
- Shooting ends at noon except where specifically noted in the WMA's details page in Where to Hunt. Waterfowl hunters on WMAs must cease all shooting at noon and be off water-inundated areas or natural/man-made water courses by noon. Waterfowl hunting is allowed 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset during the last three days of the last waterfowl season and during the youth waterfowl hunt.
Take Up Waterfowl Decoys
- Waterfowl decoys may not be left out overnight on wildlife management areas, special use areas or wildlife demonstration areas.
Duck Blinds Prohibited
- It is unlawful while on any commission-owned WMA or controlled lakes to build, erect, or take or attempt to take wildlife from duck blinds made from identifiable building materials, such as wire, nylon, metal or lumber, which are not removed at the end of each day’s hunt or at the end of the WMA’s shooting hours. Structures not in compliance with this code may be removed by Commission personnel and/or destroyed.
Illegally Created Waterfowl Openings
- If AGFC field personnel find any evidence of sawing, trimming, herbicide-treating or manipulating, the area will be marked with a sign or red paint to prohibit waterfowl hunting.
Shotgun Shell Limits
- Some WMAs have shotgun shell limits to deter "skybusting" (taking marginal shots at ducks). However, during the youth hunt, all shotgun shell limits are removed. See WMA profile in Where to Hunt.
WMA Crow Regulations, Season Dates and Limits
Unless otherwise prohibited on a specific WMA (see WMA profile in Where to Hunt), the following crow regulations apply:
- Crow hunting is allowed Sept. 1, 2016-Feb. 21, 2017. Thursday through Monday hunting only. No limit.
WMA Furbearer Regulations, Season Dates and Limits
Unless otherwise prohibited on a specific WMA (see WMA profile in Where to Hunt), the following furbearer regulations apply:
Gray Fox, Red Fox, Mink and Striped Skunk
- Hunting: Sunrise, Sept. 1, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017. Day hunting only. Bag limit is two per day per species.
Unless otherwise prohibited, fox may be taken during daylight hours with firearms of any caliber during fox season on AGFC-owned WMAs.
- Hunting: Sunrise, Sept. 1, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017. Day or night hunting; dogs are required for hunting at night. Bag limit is two per day.
- Sunrise, Sept. 1, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017. Dogs required to hunt bobcat at night.
- During the 2016 spring turkey hunting season. Day hunting only – No dogs allowed.
Bag limit is two per day. Dogs are not allowed in deer zones where a firearms deer season is in progress that prohibits the use of dogs. During youth turkey hunts, only youths may take bobcats. Closed on WMAs without spring turkey or squirrel seasons.
Unless otherwise prohibited, bobcat may be taken during daylight hours with firearms of any caliber during bobcat season on AGFC-owned WMAs and all USDA Forest Service land.
- Sunrise, July 1, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017. Coyote may not be hunted at night.
- During the 2015 spring turkey hunting season. Day hunting only – No dogs allowed.
No bag limit. Dogs are not allowed in deer zones where a firearms deer season is in progress that prohibits the use of dogs. During youth turkey hunts, only youths may take coyotes. Closed on WMAs without spring turkey or squirrel seasons.
Unless otherwise prohibited, coyote may be taken during daylight hours with firearms of any caliber during coyote season on AGFC-owned WMAs and all USDA Forest Service land.
- Trapping: Aug. 1, 2016-March 31, 2017. No bag limit.
- Hunting: Sunrise, Nov. 12, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017. Day hunting only. Bag limit is two per day.
- Sunset, July 1, 2016-sunrise, Aug. 31, 2016. Night hunting only. Dogs required, no bag limit.
- Sunrise, Sept. 1, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017. Day or night hunting. Dogs are required for hunting at night. No bag limit.
- Sunrise, March 1, 2017-Sunset, March 31, 2017. Night hunting only. Dogs required. No bag limit.
Muskrat, Nutria and Beaver
- Hunting: Sunrise Sept. 1, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017. Day hunting only. No bag limit.
- Trapping: Sunrise, Nov. 12, 2016-sunset, March 31, 2017. No limit.
Badger, Spotted Skunk and Weasel
Furbearer Trapping (other than Beaver, Coyote, Muskrat and Nutria)
- Sunrise, Nov. 12, 2016-sunset, Feb. 28, 2017