April 26, 2017
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
There may be some limits to the amount of time nonresident hunters may pursue waterfowl on Arkansas Game and Fish Commission controlled wildlife management areas in the next year. After many phone calls, letters and posts to social media from Arkansas hunters, the AGFC is proposing one possible way to give resident hunters additional preference on public land in The Natural State.
Currently, a nonresident waterfowl hunter is required to have a special nonresident WMA permit to hunt on many of the public areas focused on waterfowl management. They may purchase a five-day permit for $25 or an annual permit for $100, and may hunt any WMA.
“We’ve heard from a lot of people that they think we’re not charging enough for nonresidents to come and hunt our famous waterfowl areas,” said AGFC Director Jeff Crow. “And many residents surveyed believe the amount of nonresidents on these WMAs has gotten too high. The last thing we want to do is restrict hunters from using the public hunting lands we manage, but we do want to work with our residents to increase their level of satisfaction during their hunts.”
According to license sales figures, 49,161 non-resident waterfowl stamps were purchased in the 2016-17 season. From those hunters, 9,358 hunters (19 percent) purchased a non-resident waterfowl WMA permit required to hunt Arkansas WMA managed for waterfowl habitat. Money derived from nonresident waterfowl WMA permits and the difference in cost between resident and nonresident waterfowl stamps is earmarked specifically for wetland habitat management on Arkansas WMAs to continue providing the sort of duck hunting that made The Natural State famous.
The proposed changes to the nonresident waterfowl WMA permit include:
- Eliminating the annual nonresident WMA waterfowl permit;
- Limiting nonresidents to only six 5-day nonresident WMA waterfowl permits per season;
- Making each nonresident WMA waterfowl permit purchased specific to a single WMA of the buyer’s choosing, and
- Increasing the fee for the 5-day nonresident waterfowl permit from $25 to $30.50.
These proposals will be posted May 12, initiating a formal 30-day public comment period, and the Commission is expected to take action on these recommendations at its regularly scheduled meeting June 15, in Jonesboro. An online public comment survey has been created and is available at https://survey.agfc.com/index.php?r=survey/index&sid=489896&lang=en.