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Commission sets 2019-20 waterfowl season dates, hears trout permit increase proposal

BY Randy Zellers

ON 04-25-2019


April 25, 2019

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

ROGERS – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved the dates for the 2019-20 waterfowl season at today’s regularly scheduled business meeting at the John Q. Hammons Center.

The 2019-20 Arkansas waterfowl season will be as follows:

Early Teal Season
Sept. 15-30, 2019

Early Canada Goose Season
Sept. 1-30, 2019

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

Special Youth and Veteran Waterfowl Hunt
Dec. 7, 2019, and Feb. 8, 2020

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

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

New federal frameworks allow regular duck season to extend to the last day of January. Previous frameworks required duck seasons to end on the last Sunday of January, which could be as early as Jan. 25 in some years.

The season proposals include new combination youth/veteran days, in which veterans of the nation’s armed forces may participate in the hunt.

Commissioner Andrew Parker of Little Rock asked about extending those hunts to two full weekends for youths and veterans, but U.S. Fish and Wildlife frameworks allow only two days outside of normal waterfowl seasons for these special hunts.

This season’s daily waterfowl limits will remain unchanged, with the exception of a decrease to one pintail per day and an increase to two canvasbacks per day. Both of these changes are adjustments in federal frameworks based on fluctuating populations of the species.

Nonresidents will be able to hunt on Arkansas’s most popular wildlife management areas with the addition of 5-day Nonresident Waterfowl WMA Permits, which are specific to each WMA. There is no limit to the amount of permits a nonresident may purchase, but they will be valid only on the following days of the season: Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019; Dec. 27, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020; and Jan. 22-31, 2020. This regulation was passed last September, but implementation was delayed until this season.

Mourning and Eurasian collared-dove season opens Sunday, Sept. 1. Federal regulations will not allow the season to begin before Sept. 1, which will prevent the traditional opening day, the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend.

This year’s dove season will be Sept. 1-Oct. 27, 2019, and Dec. 14, 2019-Jan. 15, 2020.

The Commission also heard the first reading of a proposed increase to resident and nonresident trout permit fees. The increase from $5 to $10 for resident trout permits and from $12 to $20 for nonresident permits will be dedicated to funding the renovation of the AGFC’s Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery, trout management efforts and improving fishing access and opportunities. This is the first increase to the resident stamp since 1987 and the first increase to the nonresident stamp since 2003. Approval to increase resident fees was granted by Senate Bill 486. The Commission is expected to vote on this increase during its May meeting; the increase would not go into effect until Aug. 1.

In other business, the Commission:

  • Heard an update from Deke Whitbeck, president of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation, on the Foundation’s recent youth trap shooting tournament, the upcoming Commissioners’ Cup High School Bass Fishing Tournament and the continued efforts of the Arkansas Outdoor Society, the Foundation’s growing ambassador program.
  • Recognized The Watershed Conservation Resource Center, Bentonville High School and Benton County Quail for their continued partnership with the AGFC and conservation efforts in northwestern Arkansas.
  • Approved the new digitally formatted Code of Regulations to house current, past and future versions of the code.
  • Heard an update from the AGFC’s Research, Evaluation and Compliance Division on the state of chronic wasting disease in Arkansas and the need to add Baxter, Scott and Stone counties to the CWD management zone following positive cases of the disease found near or within their borders during the 2018-19 deer hunting season.
  • Authorized the use of Marine Fuel Tax funds to replace a deteriorated bridge across the cove at Starnes Landing Access on Lower White Oak Lake in Ouachita County. The total project cost is estimated at $82,000, 50 percent of which will be funded through the Marine Fuel Tax.
  • Authorized AGFC Director Pat Fitts to petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase the processing fee for sales of electronic federal duck stamps from $1.50 to $2 per stamp sale, matching the rates in Missouri and Texas, and decreasing the funds lost by the AGFC to processing fees for the federal permit. 

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