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AGFC opens public comment survey on proposed regulations changes

BY Randy Zellers

ON 02-16-2024


LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is proposing a slew of changes for the 2024-25 hunting season and 2025 fishing year, but giving your feedback on the options won’t take nearly as long as many surveys in the past.

More than 155 regulations changes are being considered during the review process according to Jessica Feltz, AGFC conservation social scientist, but roughly half of the changes are considered “administrative.”

“There are a lot of places where the codebook needs minor changes to clarify or simplify the regulations, and other regulations that are out-of-date or need changes to verbiage because scientific names of species changed,” Feltz said in a briefing to Commissioners before the survey was posted. “Those changes are all being listed in the survey, but we have placed them together in the survey for people to read through and make any comments without going through each one and bogging down the survey process.”

Feltz explained that although many of those changes are minor, the agency always tries to be as transparent as possible, and listing them with proposals that make larger changes to hunting and fishing opportunities ensures people have an opportunity to see and voice their opinions on the survey.

Even with the administrative changes grouped together, users might find the number of survey questions too voluminous to handle, but Feltz and Ava Smith, the AGFC’s social science research specialist, divided the more consequential regulations proposals into sections that apply to people’s passions.

“We pared the questions down to nine possible sections,” Feltz said. “Two years ago, we had 13 sections for people to work through. Respondents can fill out the sections they want to respond to and skip the portions they don’t feel a need to comment on. We went through trial runs before launching the survey and it takes about half the time as the last regs cycle survey we completed two years ago.”

AGFC Director Austin Booth said many of the proposed changes came from public comments on previous surveys as well as public requests gathered throughout the last two years.

“There are many changes that are being proposed because of biological needs and changes in animal populations and habitat, but there are just as many fueled by a desire to better serve hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts who are our partners in conservation.”

There’s an added incentive to complete the survey beyond the opportunity to voice your support or opposition to proposed changes. After the survey is complete, respondents will be sent to a webpage where they can enter to win prizes, including gift cards for sporting goods retailers as well as outdoor merchandise provided through the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. All information collected for the prize drawing is separate from the survey and cannot be traced back to an individual’s responses on the anonymous survey.

Among the hunting regulations being considered are proposals to:

  • Eliminate the Private Land Antlerless Only Modern Gun Deer Hunt;

  • Require GPS tracking collars with capabilities for behavior correction on all dogs pursuing wildlife, except retrievers while in the act of retrieving birds;

  • Restrict nonresidents pursuing deer with dogs to only the last nine days of modern gun season where deer dogs are allowed and limit them to one deer each;

  • Allow straight-walled centerfire rifle cartridges during modern gun season in Deer Zones 4 and 5;

  • Open a special three-day “velvet buck” archery deer hunt the first full weekend of September;

  • Allow nonresidents only one turkey in their seasonal bag limit and create a nonresident turkey license product at a cost of $325;

  • Opening frog-gigging season June 1 instead of April 15 and reducing the daily limit to 10 bullfrogs;

  • Increase spearfishing daily limits to match hook-and-line limits where spearfishing is allowed;

  • Changing the 13- to 16-inch slot limit on largemouth bass in Brewer Lake and Lake Barnett to the statewide daily limit of 10, but only allowing one fish over 16 inches to be kept per day (regulations waivers would be obtainable in the future for catch-and-release bass tournaments);

  • Prohibit the harvest of trout, other than rainbow trout, from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise;

  • Limiting white-fronted goose season to only be open when duck season is open;

  • Replacing the current 30-day nonresident waterfowl hunting days from a set schedule of dates to any 30 days of their choice during duck season through the purchase of up to 10 3-day Nonresident WMA Waterfowl Permits;

  • Restricting access to nonresident waterfowl hunters on WMAs while greentree reservoir infrastructure renovations are under construction;

  • Establishing a 25-shell limit for waterfowl hunters on all WMAs where Common Restriction A boating regulations are in place; and

  • Three options for 2024-25 duck season are being considered:
    Option 1
    Nov. 23-Dec. 1, Dec. 5-24 and Dec. 27-Jan. 26 with the Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt Feb. 1-2 and the Veteran and Active Duty Military Hunt Feb. 2.
    Option 2
    Nov. 23-Dec. 2, Dec. 10-23 and Dec. 27-Jan. 31 with the Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt Dec. 7 and Feb. 8 and the Veteran and Active Duty Military Hunt Feb. 8.
    Option 3
    Nov. 23-Dec. 2, Dec. 10-23 and Dec. 27-Jan. 31 with the Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt Feb. 8-9 and the Veteran and Active Duty Military Hunt Feb. 9.

In addition to these proposals, the Commission also is taking public opinion on two subjects for future discussion:

  • Input on a prohibition on all surface-drive motors (mud motors) on WMAs, and

  • Opinions on opening the statewide muzzleloader season to straight-walled centerfire cartridges of .30 caliber or greater.

Many other proposals, including captive wildlife regulations changes and WMA-specific hunting changes, are available in an online public comment survey, which will be available at from Feb. 16-March 15.

Click here to take the survey





The possibility of a three-day “velvet buck” archery hunt is one of many proposals being surveyed in the next month by the AGFC.

The AGFC is gathering opinions on three duck season structures for the 2024-25 waterfowl season.

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