Skip to main content

Commission hears first reading of proposed 2019-20 waterfowl season dates

BY Randy Zellers

ON 03-21-2019


March 21, 2019

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners heard the first reading of the coming year’s migratory bird seasons, including early migratory seasons as well as duck and goose seasons. 

This year sparked some debate, as new federal frameworks allow the state to extend regular duck season to the last day of January. It previously required duck seasons to end on the last Sunday of January, which could be as early as Jan. 25 in some years. As proposed, this year’s duck season would run through Jan. 31, but some shifts to other portions of the hunt were required to keep the season within the framework set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and give Arkansas hunters a full 60-day season.

According to Luke Naylor, AGFC waterfowl program coordinator, the frameworks have four major criteria concerning season dates:

  • Total regular duck season hunting days cannot exceed 60;
  • The regular duck season cannot open before the Saturday closest to Sept. 24;
  • The regular duck season must close by Jan. 31, and 
  • Only two splits are allowed in the season, creating three season segments. 

The season proposals also include new combination youth/veteran days, in which veterans and active members of the nation’s armed forces may participate in the hunt. This also is a reflection of federal frameworks recently passed in regard to waterfowl season. This year’s youth/veteran hunts are proposed to be December 7 and February 8, similar to last year’s youth-only hunts. 

In addition to the overall season dates, nonresidents will be allowed to hunt Arkansas wildlife management areas with a Nonresident WMA Waterfowl Hunting Permit from Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019; Dec. 27, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020; and Jan. 22-31, 2020. These dates are set in blocks of 10 to align with permits sold in 5-day increments.

Another topic of debate was the opening day of this year’s mourning and Eurasian collared-dove season, which traditionally falls on Labor Day Weekend. This year, the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend falls on Aug. 31, which is outside the time the federal frameworks allow for the season to begin. The proposed date chooses the traditional Labor Day Weekend approach. 

If approved, the 2019-20 migratory bird seasons will be as follows: 

Dove Season 
Sept. 1-Oct. 27, 2019
Dec. 14, 2019-Jan. 15, 2020

Early Teal Season
Sept. 15-30, 2019

Duck, Coot and Merganser Season
Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019
Dec. 11-23, 2019
Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

White-fronted Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Early Canada Goose Season 
Sept. 1-30, 2019

Canada Goose Season 
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Season
Oct. 26-30, 2019
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2019
Dec. 8, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Conservation Order Season
Oct. 5-25, 2019
Oct. 31-Nov. 22, 2019
Feb. 1-7, 2020
Feb. 9-April 25, 2020

Public comments on these season dates can be submitted to the AGFC at

In other business, 

  • Heard the first reading of a new digital version of the AGFC Code of Regulations, which will enhance the public’s ability to look up the most current version of the code. The new version is available for preview at
  • Recognized AGFC Director Pat Fitts with the first Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Enforcement Achievement Award, given to outgoing law enforcement leaders in the organization. Fitts served in the AGFC’s enforcement division for 21 years before assuming his position as director of the agency. 
  • Recognized Mayor Harold Perrin of Jonesboro who gave a presentation on the AGFC’s partnership in the creation of a new 200-acre shooting sports facility in Northeast Arkansas. Other partners include the City of Jonesboro Parks Department and the City of Jonesboro Police Department. 
  • Recognized AGFC Habitat Biologist  Lorne Green as this year’s recipient of the George H. Dunklin Jr. Arkansas Waterfowl and Wetland Management Award for his efforts toward conserving Arkansas’s bottomland hardwoods and greentree reservoirs. 
  • Recognized the following seven landowners with the inaugural AGFC Landowner Achievement Awards for their work in creating and maintaining wildlife habitat on private land in Arkansas. 
    • Walker Morris of Memphis, who owns land in Crittenden County.
    • Twig and Branch Satterfield, landowners in Faulkner County
    • David and Becky Love, landowners in Sebastian County, and
    • James and Julia Gibbons, landowners in Franklin County,                    
  • Approved the removal of outdated and obsolete inventory with an original cost of $358,921 and a current net book value of $35,992. 
  • Granted obsolete radios, which were no longer usable for law enforcement purposes to the Montgomery County Road Department for their communications needs.
  • Authorized Director Fitts to enter into a quitclaim deed from Epstein Land Company for the purpose of constructing a boat ramp on the Mississippi River in the site of the old Greenville Bridge.

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter E-mails

Don’t miss another issue. Sign up now to receive the AGFC Wildlife Weekly Newsletter in your mailbox every Wednesday afternoon (Waterfowl Reports are published weekly during waterfowl season and periodically outside the season). Fishing Reports arrive on Thursdays. Fill in the following fields and hit submit. Thanks, and welcome!