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Opinions, comments wanted: AGFC’s new regulations survey ends March 15

BY Jim Harris

ON 03-08-2024

Duck hunters

Arkansas waterfowlers have until Friday, March 15, to have their voices heard on a number of proposed regulations for the 2024-25 season as well as other items on which the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission seeks comment.

Regulations proposed for change from recent waterfowl seasons include reducing the number of goose hunting days from 74 last season to 60, to mirror the regular 60-day duck season. This would mean that hunters who have been enjoying that late October/early November hunt for the early arriving greater white-fronted geese (commonly referred to as specklebellies) will have to wait until the opening day of duck season to harvest them. Light geese such as snows and Ross’s geese have typically been arriving en masse around Thanksgiving in Arkansas, though some join in with the specklebelly migration that starts about a month earlier.


Other waterfowl hunting-specific regulations changes that have been proposed and were first publicized at the February Commission meeting include:

  • 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 three-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.
  • Allowing the harvest of Egyptian geese, an invasive species beginning to be seen more often in northwest Arkansas.

Two options for the 2024-25 Arkansas 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 on 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, or Feb. 8-9, and the Veteran and Active Military Hunt on Feb. 8 or Feb. 9.

Option 2 more closely mirrors recent seasons in Arkansas and ends on the last day of January. Option 1 would end the regular waterfowl season on the last Sunday in January, which was the usual schedule until the 2018-19 season, the first to conclude on Jan. 31.

Chief among those items that the AGFC isn’t looking to change immediately but wants to gauge waterfowlers’ concerns is the use of surface-drive motors within the AGFC’s wildlife management areas. Reportedly, opinions have varied in recent years with their increased prevalence among waterfowlers as to whether or not the benefit to the hunter in navigating extremely shallow wetlands outweighs the effects on the resource (migrating waterfowl), particularly with the loudness of the engines. Surface-driven boats can access areas that previously were only reachable by walking.

Public comment is invited through an online survey available at through March 15. The survey includes regulations proposals for fishing and other WMA-specific hunting, as well as Commission-requested public opinion for future discussion on another item in addition to the surface-drive motor discussion — whether the AGFC should open statewide muzzleloader season to straight-walled centerfire cartridges of .30 caliber or greater. In all, 155 regulations changes are being considered. Users of the anonymous survey can skip over portions they prefer not to answer.

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