Aug. 7, 2018
Jim Harris Managing Editor Arkansas Wildlife Magazine
LITTLE ROCK – For the second consecutive year, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will offer the public a dove hunt on private land through a permit process. The application process will be available at https://ar-web.s3licensing.com/ from 8 a.m. Aug. 8 until midnight Aug. 22.
For a nonrefundable $5 fee, applicants can apply to hunt one of four weekends in September, starting with the opening day of dove season, Sept. 1.
Twenty permits will be issued for each weekend, making a total of 80 permits available through the draws. A permit allows weekend-only hunting at a private 30-acre field of sunflowers in Lonoke County managed specifically for dove hunting. Permit recipients may hunt both Saturday and Sunday and bring one guest of any age to enjoy the hunt with them. Last year, the accompanying hunter had to be a youth.
“That’s something we’re doing different this year, the successful applicant can bring along a guest of any age. Just one, though,” said Clifton Jackson, the AGFC’s small game coordinator. “We did this in response to post-hunt survey comments indicating several people wanted to continue the tradition of hunting together with a friend or older family member.”
Permit winners will be notified no later than Friday, Aug. 24, giving them time to prepare for the hunt.
Successful applicants will be provided with directions to the field, which is near England in central Arkansas. Twenty hunting stations will be set up around the sunflower field with hunters separated a safe distance between stations. Stations will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to permit holders on the days they are selected to hunt.
Jackson visited the field recently and commented on the outstanding crop of sunflowers. And, he noted, the reservoir that was being built west of the field has been completed.
“We’ll have another nice crop of sunflowers and we’re adjacent to water now,” Jackson said. “All the central elements to set the table for doves are there, with food and water nearby. … We’ve enjoyed a solid population of doves for several years now and we expect the trend to continue this season.
“Last year at this field, the dove presence was steady throughout the hunts. They didn’t cooperate all the time as far as moving around, but we intend to implement a few more management practices to enhance opportunities, mostly in how we prepare the field before the hunts.”
Winners of permits have no other fee on top of the $5 application charge. For those who don’t receive a special permit to the private field hunt, and for others seeking doves this year, the AGFC will be providing a number of free, first-come, first-served opportunities on wildlife management areas around the state throughout the year. Dove season runs statewide from Sept. 1 to Oct. 28 and from Dec. 8 to Jan. 15, 2019. The daily bag limit for mourning dove and white-winged dove is 15, with a possession limit of 45. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit for Eurasian collared-dove.