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Jan. 23, 2019

Jim Harris

Sixty Days of Duck Season Come to a Close Sunday

LITTLE ROCK  For some waterfowl hunters, Arkansas's 60-day hunting season is coming to a merciful close at sunset Sunday, Jan. 27. While anecdotal reports indicate there has been some duck hunting success in various spots around Arkansas over the past three splits, many hunters have been left wondering if the ducks ever came to Arkansas. Thanks to heavy rains in late fall that continued through early winter, ducks found plenty of habitat to spread out around The Natural State for most of the 60 days, and many waterfowlers reported having disappointing seasons. Recent arctic fronts that passed north of Arkansas and through the state didn't seem to boost waterfowl numbers.

There is one more day for hunting for youths, though. Hunters 15-and-under will have the second of two youth waterfowl hunts on Saturday, Feb. 2. And, for those seeking light geese such as snows and Ross's geese, the Light Goose Conservation Order begins on Monday, Jan. 28, and continues through late April.

The AGFC's wildlife management areas, which limit hunting until noon during most of the waterfowl season, will be available to hunt all day (specifically, that is 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset) Friday through Sunday, Jan. 25-27 to close the season.

The AGFC's midwinter aerial survey of ducks Jan. 7-9 showed that most of the heavier concentrations of ducks are in the northeast part of the state. Specifically, there were larger concentration of ducks in smaller areas near Shirey Bay Raney Brake WMA, near Dave Donaldson Black River WMA and near Earl Buss Bayou Deview WMA, as well as a pocket of concentrated ducks near Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge, according to the aerial survey. Additionally, a heavy concentration was noted near Robe Bayou on the western edge of Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA in east-central Arkansas, according to the survey. Hunter observations noted a fair number of ducks in the Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA area, though those hunters reported that individual they harvested only two ducks on Tuesday. Further south, reports were poor from the George H. Dunklin Bayou Meto WMA as well as from hunters on private lands east of there toward DeWitt. Anecdotally, there were positive reports from private land hunters near the White River and near Bayou Meto in the Humphrey-Stuttgart area. The numbers of geese typically seen off U.S. Highway 165 between Humnoke and Stuttgart at this time of year were said earlier this week to be much lower than typical, according to reports.

Please take note of such areas as Raft Creek WMA that are encountering high water conditions. Those are included in the Waterfowl Report areas listed below.

The estimated count of ducks in the Delta numbered just over 1 million ducks, slightly more than the long-term midwinter average for that region. However, the mallard count of those ducks was down, totaling just over half-million mallards in the Delta and about 64 percent of the usual total seen in the midwinter counts over recent years.

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Northeast Arkansas

Big Lake WMA

Map | Water 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 a low number of ducks for this time of year.

North Woods GTR
Habitat: Mast production is fair.
Water Level: Bo Dock gauge currently reads 237.8 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 237.0 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 269.8 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 268.88 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 267.7 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 267.05 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 264.38 feet msl. Target level is 263.7 feet msl. 100% flooded.


Earl Buss Bayou DeView WMA

Map | Water 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 Jan. 22, levels were 215.22 feet msl. New numbers of geese are in the area but very few ducks.

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 20%. Pool B is at 15% coverage. Pool C is at 25%. Pool D is at 100%.
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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 194.82 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 194.82 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: 80-85% coverage. (Currently the Cache River is at 9.32 feet on the Patterson Gauge and is projected to rise to 9.6 feet by Jan. 24.)

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

Note: As of Jan. 22, the Cache River at Brasfield was 23.46 feet; Bayou Deview near Brinkley was 14.99 feet; the White River at Clarendon was 26.46 feet.

Mud Slough GTR
Habitat: Good mast crop.
Water Level: 50% coverage.

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

NOTE: The White River at Georgetown as of Jan. 22 is 20.6 feet and is forecast to remain at this level for the next 7 days. The western section of Jones Island Road is impassable by vehicle. Due to high river levels the AGFC staff has decided to postpone the draw for the weekend of Jan. 26-27. The WMA will still be open for hunting, and hunters will still need a permit but the onsite draw at the work center will not take place.

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: 100%

Unit L (Cypert Tract)
Habitat: Good stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 85%

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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: 60% coverage.

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

Unit 2
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 75%

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: 75%

Unit 6
Habitat: Good stand of millet and native vegetation.
Water Level: 75%


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: 65% coverage.

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

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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. Duck use on the area has remained generally low and hunter success has continued to be poor.

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%
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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 remained 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: 50%

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

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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: 70%

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

Little Grassy
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 100%


Millwood Lake

Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report

Habitat: Habitat conditions are good.
Water Level: 260.49 feet msl.


Ozan WMA

Map | Weather Report

Unit 1
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 100%

Unit 2
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 70%

Unit 3
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 90%

Unit 4
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 70%

Unit 5
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 90%


Sulphur River WMA

Map | Weather Report

Mercer Bayou
Habitat: Fair
Water Level: 201.6 feet msl (full pool is 199.0 feet msl).

Henry Moore WRA
Habitat: Closed to hunting.
Water Level: 95%

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Southeast Arkansas

Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita WMA

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


Cut-Off Creek WMA

Map | Weather Report

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

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: 180.1 feet msl, full pool at 180 feet msl.

Lower Vallier GTR
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 179.7 feet msl, full pool at 179 feet msl. Use extreme caution around water control structures.

Government Cypress GTR
Habitat: Good
Water Level: 179.7 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, access road 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. 100% flooded, good duck usage on all units.

Wrape Plantation WRA
Habitat: Excellent
Water Level: Staggered flooding of units,100% flooded, good duck usage.


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.