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Dec. 26, 2018

Jim Harris

Waterfowl Season Reopens for Third Split; Fowl Reports Low

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas's third and final split of the 60-day waterfowl season began Wednesday, Dec. 26, and the season will continue uninterrupted through its close at sunset Sunday, Jan. 27. Waterfowl hunters hope that soon enough, frigid conditions arrive in the northern midwest to move a large concentration of birds down through the migratory pathways into The Natural State. From anecdotal reports over the past week, that has yet to happen.

The early December aerial survey by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission waterfowl biologists estimated that 1.2 million total mallards were in the Delta region, with more than half of those being mallards. But with the wettest fall in several years in the state, ducks habitat has been spread far and wide, and reports from various sources say that hunting has suffered in many areas. Hunters in areas east of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge reported few ducks or geese seen flying over last weekend. Saturday, a decent number of snow geese were observed in the Prairie-Arkansas county region between Humnoke and Stuttgart, but well below what was observed a year ago. Guides reported that greater white-fronted geese (specklebellies) were not as prominent in their prairie fields as what they had seen earlier in the season, and milder weather than usual for the period around Christmas was one of the reasons they cited. 

Duck totals in the Arkansas River Valley and the southwest part of the state were below the long-term December average in the most recent survey.

Arkansas was expecting colder conditions and a little more rainfall as the third split opened. Most eyes of waterfowlers, however, were on weather conditions in Iowa and Missouri. Northern Missouri had an estimated count earlier this year of 900,000 mallards in that region, and those birds did not appear to be interested in leaving for a trek south with milder temps and accessible habitat (re: food) available there. AGFC biologists reported that Big Lake NWR in northeast Arkansas is holding an average number of ducks for this time of year, and at times there have been good numbers of ducks seen on Lake Ashbaugh in the northeast. But for the Arkansas River Valley, Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA was typical: complete coverage of the WMA with water, but duck use varied and mostly poor to moderate.

The AGFC will conduct its third state aerial survey of the year the week of Jan. 7.

 
 

Northeast Arkansas

Big Lake WMA

MapWater Gauge | Weather Report
When the Ditch 81 extension gauge near Manila (upstream of the Big Lake north-end control structure) reads 17.5 feet, water is beginning to come over the north levee degrade on Big Lake WMA. When the Ditch 81 Extension gauge reads 18.0 feet or higher, the water level on the WMA will rise quickly and hunters should exercise caution while on the area. Be aware of underwater logs in boat runs and hangers in trees.

Big Lake NWR is holding an average number of ducks for this time of year. 

North Woods GTR
Habitat: Mast production is fair.
Water Level: Bo Dock gauge currently reads 237.3 feet msl. Target level is 235.5 feet with 100% flooded.

South Woods GTR
Habitat: Mast production is fair.
Water Level: The 7-Mile gauge is currently at 236.5 feet msl. Target level is 234.5 feet with 100% flooded. 

Simmons Field
Habitat: A good amount of millet, smartweed and sedge is present. Seed production is very good in north unit, middle field was planted in Chawapa millet coverage is fair, south field was stripped in Chawapa millet fair with strips of smartweed that did extremely well. 
Water Level: 100% coverage.


Dave Donaldson Black River WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
Waterfowl hunters should be aware of hangers and submerged logs within the boat runs and GTRs. Please exercise caution when accessing the area. Please remember to keep boats off the levees so AGFC personnel can access the area. Boats blocking access will be moved. Unattended trailers are not to be left overnight on parking areas.

Upper Island GTR
Habitat: Below-average abundance of mast crop within the GTRs.
Water Level: Water level is 270.25 feet msl. Target level is 269.5 feet msl. 100% flooded.

Lower Island GTR
Habitat: Below-average abundance of mast crop within the GTRs.
Water Level: Water level is 268.95 feet msl. Target level is 268.0 feet msl. 100% flooded.

Upper Reyno GTR
Habitat: Below-average abundance of mast crop within the GTRs.
Water Level: Water level is 267.88 feet msl. Target level is 266.9 feet msl. 100% flooded.

Lower Reyno GTR
Habitat: Below-average abundance of mast crop within the GTRs.
Water Level: Water level is 266.8 feet msl. Target level is 266.3 feet msl. 100% flooded.

Winchester GTR
Habitat: Below-average abundance of mast crop within the GTRs.
Water Level: Water level is 263.92 feet msl. Target level is 263.7 feet msl. 100% flooded.
 


Earl Buss Bayou DeView WMA

MapWater Gauge | Weather Report
Boaters should use caution while using the Thompson Tract boat run. A few ducks and geese are moving through the area.

South Oliver GTR
Habitat: Mast production has been good.
Water Level: 100% flooded with a current gauge reading of 1.9 feet. 

Thompson Tract GTR
Habitat: Mast production has been good.
Water Level: 100% flooded with a current gauge reading of 1.6 feet. 

Lake Hogue WRA
Habitat: Primarily deep open water habitat.
Water Level: Normal pool level.


Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
Waterfowl hunters should be aware of hangers and submerged logs within the boat runs and GTRs. Please exercise caution when accessing the area. In addition, hunters should allow safe passage when parking vehicles along roadsides. Vehicles blocking access will be moved.

Adam Brake GTR
Habitat: Good abundance of mast crop within the GTR.
Water Level: Water level is 240.0 feet msl with a target level of 240.0 msl. 100% flooded.

Rainey Brake GTR
Habitat: Good abundance of mast crop within the GTR.
Water Level: 100% flooded.

Eagle Pond GTR
Habitat: Good abundance of mast crop within the GTR.
Water Level: 100% flooded.

Phase III Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good wetland-type vegetation.
Water Level: 100% flooded.

Charles Crisp Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good wetland-type vegetation.
Water Level: 100% flooded.

Ward Field Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good wetland-type vegetation.
Water Level: 100% flooded.

River Field Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good wetland-type vegetation..
Water Level: 100% flooded.


St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report

Hunt Area
Habitat: Mast production is average within the hunt area.
Water Level: Water levels on St. Francis Sunken Lands for waterfowl season are dependent on flows from St. Francis River. The target level for providing huntable timber is 212.0 feet msl read from the Oak Donnick gauge. As of Dec. 21, levels were 0.94 feet above target at 212.94 feet msl. A fair number of birds are in the area this week, with large numbers of geese.

Snowden WRA
Habitat: There was a small green-up response of wetland plants after the growing season burns throughout the unit.
Water Level: 10% flooded, mostly in the low-lying areas due to rain.

Payneway WRA
Habitat: Pool D has 14 acres of buckwheat providing good bugging areas when water becomes available. A,B,C pools have sunflowers left standing with some smartweed response underneath. Barrows have been mowed for open-water use.
Water Level: Pool A is at 10%. Pool B is at 25% coverage. Pool C is at 20%. Pool D is at 50%.
 

 

East-Central Arkansas

 

Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
Hunters should call the Wildlife Hotline at 800-440-1477 for current road closures.

North GTR
Habitat: Good mast crop.
Water Level: The current Glaise Creek reading is 193.61 feet msl.
Note: All structures on the North GTR are closed.

South GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop.
Water Level: The current Glaise Creek reading is 193.61 feet msl.
Note: All structures on the South GTR are open.


Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
Hunters should call the Wildlife Hotline at 800-440-1477 for current road closures.

Main WMA
Habitat: Good mast crop.
Water Level: 100%.

Wyeville Unit
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 90% coverage.


Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
The Conway George units are available by applying for online permits. Please visit www.agfc.com for maps, special regulations, permit application and draw dates. Hunters should call the Wildlife Hotline at 800-440-1477 for current road closures.

Mud Slough GTR
Habitat: Good mast crop.
Water Level: 100%.

Apple Lake WRA
Habitat: Good mast crop.
Water Level: 100%.

Conway George Waterfowl Unit A
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Conway George Waterfowl Unit B
Habitat: Natural slough area with beneficial wetland plants
Water Level: 100%

Conway George Waterfowl Unit C
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%


Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report

Unit A
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100% coverage.

Unit B
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit C
Habitat: Good stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit D (Youth Area)
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit E
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit F
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit G
Habitat: Fair stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit H (Mobility-impaired blind)
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit I
Habitat: Habitat conditions are poor.
Water Level: 100%

Unit J (Cypert Tract)
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit K (Cypert Tract)
Habitat: Excellent stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 55%

Unit L (Cypert Tract)
Habitat: Good stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 15%

 

 

Central Arkansas

Bell Slough WMA

Map | Weather Report
The Bell Slough GTR is primarily rainfall dependent with the exception of a limited amount of water that the AGFC can back in and catch from Palarm Creek.

Bell Slough GTR
Habitat: Poor mast crop.
Water Level: 100%.

Palarm Creek WRA
Habitat: Millet was planted as a cover crop this year following disking within the moist-soil units.
Water Level: 100%


Craig D. Campbell Lake Conway Reservoir

Map | Weather Report
Habitat and water levels are normal on both Pierce and Dix creeks.


Cypress Bayou WMA

Map | Weather Report

Hunt Area
Habitat: Good mast crop.
Water Level: 100% coverage.

Red Cut Slough Tract
Unit 1
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 2
Habitat: Excellet stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 60%

Unit 3
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 90%

Unit 4
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 90%

Unit 5
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 60%

Unit 6
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 60%


Harris Brake WMA

Map | Weather Report

Harris Brake Upper Unit
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Harris Brake Lower Unit
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%


Holland Bottoms WMA

Map | Weather Report

Hunt Area
Habitat: Good mast crop.
Water Level: 90% coverage.

Lake Pickthorne WRA
Habitat: Excellent.
Water Level: East cell is 100% coverage. West cell is 100%.

 

 

Northwest Arkansas

Dardanelle WMA

Map | Weather Report

McKennon Bottoms (half-day hunting)
Habitat: Good stand of native moist-soil vegetation.
Water Level: 100%.

Potter's Pothole Hartman Waterfowl Unit (half-day hunting)
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet.
Water Level: 100%


Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA

Map | Weather Report
All waterfowl impoundments on Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA are at full pool at this time. Duck use on the WMA has been varied, but have been generally poor to moderate.

Little Hole (Unit 1)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Willow Island (Unit 2)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Red Gate (Unit 3)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Pig Trough (Units 4 and 5)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Cedar Ridge (Unit 6)
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 7a
Habitat: Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level:100%

Unit 7b
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Duck Trap (Units 8a, 8b and 8c)
8a
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

8b
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

8c
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 9
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa Millet.
Water Level: 100%

Controversy Corner (Unit 10)
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

Remmel Marsh
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

Mud Pond (Unit 12)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Turkey Pond (Units 13a, 13b and 13c)
13a
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

13b
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

13c
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%

Teeny Pond (Unit 14)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Salt Lick (Unit 15)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Bobby's Pond (Unit 16)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Race Track (Unit 17)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%


Frog Bayou WMA (half-day hunting)

Map | Weather Report

Unit 1
Habitat: Sprangle top crabgrass, wild millet and smartweed.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 2
Habitat: Poor moist-soil response due to August flood.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 3
Habitat: Smartweed, toothcup, wild millet and sprangle top.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 4
Habitat: Wild millet, sprangle top, smartweed, nut sedge and crabgrass.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 5
Habitat: Sprangle top, wild millet and smartweed.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 6
Habitat: Wild millet, smartweed and crabgrass.
Water Level: 100%

Unit 7
Habitat: Smartweed, wild millet and sprangle top.
Water Level: 100%
 


Galla Creek WMA

Map | Weather Report

Galla Creek GTR
Habitat: Excellent stand of natural vegetation, including a mixture of barnyard and smartweed.
Water Level: 100%, staged flooding of the impoundment began on Nov. 15. Duck use and hunter success on the WMA have been generally poor.
 


Nimrod Lloyd Millwood WMA

Map | Weather Report

Nimrod GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%.
 


Ozark Lake WMA/Dyer Lake Water Unit

Weather Report

Dyer Lake Cells (half-day hunting)
Habitat: Soy been stubble and native vegetation.
Water Level: Units 1 and 2, 100%. Units 3 and 4 are rainfall dependent.

 


Petit Jean River WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report

Santa Fe GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation. 
Water Level: 100%

Olin Cain/Sore Head Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Black Lands Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Slaty Crossing Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Fair stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Pullen Pond
Habitat: Half of area has a fair stand of native vegetation, other half of area has 100 acres of Japanese millet.
Water Level: 100%. 

Pond Creek GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%. 

Slaty Pond GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 40%

Black Lands Duck Area
Habitat: Millet mixed in with good native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

 

 

Southwest Arkansas

Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc WMA

Map | Weather Report

Bois d'Arc Lake WRA
Habitat: Closed to hunting.
Water Level: Normal

Red Slough WRA
Habitat: Closed to hunting.
Water Level: 25%

GTR
Habitat: Good mast production.
Water Level: 100%.

Little Grassy
Habitat: Good.
Water Level: 75%
 


Millwood Lake

MapWater Gauge | Weather Report

Habitat: Habitat conditions are good.
Water Level: 260.33 feet msl.
 


Ozan WMA

MapWeather Report

Unit 1
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 65%

Unit 2
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 65%

Unit 3
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 70%

Unit 4
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 80%

Unit 5
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 25%


Sulphur River WMA

Map | Weather Report

Mercer Bayou
Habitat: Fair.
Water Level: 197.6 feet msl (full pool is 199.0 feet msl).

Henry Moore WRA
Habitat: Closed to hunting.
Water Level: 75%.

 

 

Southeast Arkansas

Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita WMA

Map | Weather Report
Habitat: The WMA has a good hard mast production.
Water Level: The WMA is 100% flooded.


Cut-Off Creek WMA

Map | Weather Report

Hunt Area
Habitat: Habitat conditions are good.
Water Level: 100% flooded.

Pigeon Creek WRA
Habitat: Habitat conditions are good.
Water Level: 100% flooded.


Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA Deer Research Area

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
Habitat conditions are good. Flooding is river dependent. Click on the Water Gauge link above for current Mississippi River levels. Use extreme caution when boating in river.


George H. Dunklin Jr. Bayou Meto WMA

Map | Weather Report

Upper Vallier GTR
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 180 feet msl, full pool at 180 feet msl.

Lower Vallier GTR
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 179.5 feet msl, full pool at 179 feet msl. Use extreme caution around water control structures.

Government Cypress GTR
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 179.5 feet msl, full pool at 179 feet msl.

Buckingham Flats GTR
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 100% flooded.

Temple Island GTR
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 100% flooded.

Canon Brake
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 100% flooded. Use extreme caution around water-control structures.

Halowell WRA
Habitat: Excellent
Water Level: Staggered flooding of units. 85% flooded, good duck usage on all units.

Wrape Plantation WRA
Habitat: Excellent
Water Level: Staggered flooding of units.


Seven Devils WMA

Map | Weather Report

Hunt Area
Habitat: Habitat conditions are good
Water Level: 100% flooded, high creek levels.


Trusten Holder WMA

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
Habitat conditions are good. Flooding is river dependent. Click on the Water Gauge link above for current Arkansas River levels.