AGFC wildlife officers discovered an illegal cockfighting ring near Kelso March 2.
Wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission arrested 29 people on March 2 after discovering a cockfighting ring in Desha County. Officers were investigating several vehicles parked near a canal on Hilburn Road just off Arkansas Highway 138 near Kelso.
AGFC Corporal Chuck Willis and Wildlife Officer First Class Jonathan Byrd were on routine patrol when they found a large group of people surrounding what they later determined to be a cockfighting ring. After contacting the group, several people fled the area on foot. The fleeing individuals eventually returned to the scene.
There were 29 adult men and 2 juveniles at the scene. The adults were charged with cruelty to animals, a Class A misdemeanor. The juveniles in the case were not charged.
A court date was set for April 1 at 9 a.m. in Dumas District Court. If convicted, the defendants could face up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. There were 10 individuals who were charged with Fleeing a Wildlife Officer with a total bond of $2,200.
Officers found 20 live chickens and 10 dead chickens at the scene. The wildlife officers also found farm equipment believed to be stolen. The equipment had an estimated value of $5,000.
The Desha County Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas State Police assisted with the arrests. The case has been turned over to the Desha County Sheriff’s Office.
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AGFC begins potential land purchase process
LITTLE ROCK – During the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s February meeting, Commissioners approved the first step in the potential development of an education and recreation area near Jasper. Commissioners approved a budget increase of $10,000 for the real estate appraisal and other real estate costs involving the 42-acre site.
The AGFC will apply for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism to help pay for the potential purchase of the land. The land was appraised for $277,000 in September 2007. The land is located on Arkansas Highway 7 north of Jasper.
The potential new facility would feature a diverse ecosystem of the area’s unique geography. Plans would include a paved trail, pavilion, fishing piers, wildlife observation blinds, canoe launch areas and other amenities.
During the Commission’s committee meeting reports, the Commission discussed the results of the 2013 AGFC employee morale survey performed by Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, Va. The survey included specific questions from the 2012 survey so that a direct assessment of trends in employee attitudes could be made. More than 400 employees provided feedback for the project.
Among the significant findings in the survey were:
- 85% of employees either strongly agree or moderately agree that the overall direction of the agency is benefitting fish and wildlife resources in the state. This rating was 56% in 2012.
- The percentage of overall satisfaction (very satisfied and somewhat satisfied responses combined) for “morale within the agency” climbed from 15% to 68%.
- Since 2012, employees are less likely to think that personal and political interests influence the direction of the agency, and are more likely to think that scientific data and field information influence the direction of the agency.
- The percentage of respondents who rated the agency’s job performance as “excellent” went from 17% in 2012 to 33% in 2013.
AGFC Director Mike Knoedl said that the results were very good, but the agency still has unfinished business. “I have no doubt that 2014 will be a particularly busy year, and we still have an enormous amount of work to do. The Commission hired me to improve the morale of this agency and that is what I am duty bound to do. I want you to know that I never forget what a great honor it is to work for you and to be given this responsibility and I sincerely appreciate the diligent work each of you do every day,” Knoedl said.
Click here for Responsive Management’s news article on the survey: http://www.responsivemanagement.com/.
In other Commission business:
- Myron Means, AGFC bear program coordinator, gave the Commission an overview of the 2013 bear harvest. During the 2013 bear hunting season, 184 males and 104 females were harvested. Archery hunters harvested 134 of that total, and 192 bears were taken on private land. Madison, Pope and Johnson counties lead the state in number of bears harvested. Means also pointed out that nuisance bear calls answered by the AGFC totaled 64 in 2013. The number of calls spiked at 314 in 2007.
- Discussed a presentation from AGFC Elk Program Coordinator Wes Wright on the 2013 elk harvest. Wright told the commission that 18 elk were harvested on public land and 22 elk were harvested on private land. The harvest was down from a year ago when a record 44 elk were harvested during the 2012 hunting seasons.
- The Commission also approved purchase of 98 vehicles at a cost of $2.4 million to replace aging vehicles in the fleet.
- Approved the second $300,000 payment, of a total $800,000 grant, to The Nature Conservancy for the Cache River Restoration Project. The project is aimed at restoring a portion of the lower Cache in Monroe County to its natural channel.
- Approved a budget increase of $300,000 to renovate the Central Office in Little Rock.
- Approved a funding agreement for a new shooting sports facility with the City of Warren. The AGFC agrees to provide just over $312,000 for the construction of the facility.
- Approved a budget increase of $433,500 from wildlife restoration federal grant funds and a budget transfer of $144,500 from state funds to purchase equipment for Frog Bayou and Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMAs, complete green-tree reservoir assessments on various wildlife management areas and construct a work center on Gene Rush WMA.
- Honored three wildlife officers for their completion of continuing education at the Criminal Justice Institute. The three officers were James Montgomery, Frank Sigman and William Start.
- Honored Kirsten Bartlow, of the AGFC Communications Division, for being named the 2013 Arkansas Trails Council Professional of the Year. Bartlow works with various local governments and agencies on construction of wildlife viewing and water trails.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Arkansas, Bear, cave, center, Commission, education, elk, employee, facility, fish, Game, happy, harvest, hunt, kill, land, meeting, place, purchase, recreation, regulation, satisfied, springs, survey | Leave a Comment »
Click here for video of rescue.
Wildlife officers help to rescue trio stranded by high water
DENNARD – Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife officers helped save three people stranded on their vehicle early Saturday morning. The three people were trapped on the roof of their vehicle for six hours after it was swept downstream in high water on the Archey Fork of the Little Red River.
The three people were trying to cross a low-water bridge when their vehicle was carried into the current. The Dennard Fire Department, Van Buren County Search and Rescue, Faulkner County Search and Rescue as well as the AGFC worked together in the successful rescue of the victims. AGFC wildlife officers have specialized training in swiftwater rescue.
Two women, who were rescued from the vehicle, were taken to Van Buren County Memorial Hospital to be treated for possible hypothermia. A male in the group refused treatment.
The Archey Fork of the Little Red River is a very remote Ozark whitewater stream that flows southeast from above Arkansas Highway 254 through Clinton in Van Buren County to Greers Ferry Lake where it joins the Middle Fork.
To see video of the rescue, go to: http://youtu.be/IwShAN84sE0.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Arkansas, Commission, dive, fish, flood, Game, night, officer, rescue, search, swift, team, water, wildlife |
Arkansas WMA Turkey Hunting Permit applications available until Jan. 15. Click here to apply.
Apply for your 2014 WMA turkey hunting permit by Jan. 15, 2014.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Management Areas offer some of the best public hunting opportunity in the United States. To prevent overcrowding on popular WMAs, the AGFC limits some hunting opportunities through a permit draw system. Hunters have until Jan. 15, 2014 to submit a free application.
The drawing will be held in early February and successful applicants must pay a $10 processing fee to receive their permit. All permits left over after the drawing will be sold online beginning at 8 a.m., March 3, 2014.
Click here to learn more about the turkey permit applications and apply for your permit.
Posted in Hunting | Tagged application, Arkansas, Commission, draw, fish, Game, hunt, hunting, permit, public, turkey, wma |
Click here for our weekly waterfowl reports.
AGFC.com has everything you need to anticipate the next wave of ducks heading for The Natural State. Everything from aerial survey data to predictions of waterfowl movements throughout the country is right at your fingertips. We even give habitat conditions for all AGFC wildlife management areas popular with duck hunters, to give you an idea of the water levels and food avaialble for ducks before you drive out there. Just click http://www.agfc.com/hunting/Pages/HuntingWaterfowlReport.aspx to get started.
Posted in Hunting | Tagged AGFC, Arkansas, Commission, duck, fish, gadwall, Game, hunt, mallard, pintail, waterfowl, widgeon |
Winter trout stockings will begin Nov. 18. Click the image for locations.
The AGFC Fisheries Division will stock all Family and Community Fishing Program trout locations around the state between Nov. 18-22, just in time for a Thanksgiving weekend trip to the pond. Check the following link for trout stocking locations: http://www.agfc.com/fishing/Pages/FishingProgramsFCFStock.aspx
Each location will also receive some trout with fluorescent pink tags. Anyone catching a tagged fish should keep the fish and call the number on the tag for directions on how to turn their tag in for a special prize from the AGFC.
Posted in Fishing | Tagged add, AGFC, Arkansas, close, Commission, community, contest, family, fish, fishing, Game, location, park, pond, rainbow, stock, stocking, tag, tagged, trout |
Don’t forget to tag that trophy this weekend.
What is the one piece of equipment more hunters will forget this opening weekend than any other? It’s not their rifle, treestand, safety harness or hunter orange, but it’s just as important for hunters who successfully score a deer.
It’s an ink pen.
According to Arkansas law, all deer must be tagged with a deer tag provided on the hunter’s license, and that tag must be completed legibly in ink and attached to the ear or antler of the deer BEFORE you move the animal. Not when you get it to the truck or after you’ve field dressed it.
Also be sure to check-in your harvest within 24 hours of harvest by using the AGFC app, website or Telecheck number (1-866-305-0808). After you check the deer, you’ll be given an check number to put on the tag as well.
If you quarter the deer in the woods or at camp or otherwise remove the head, the tag stays with the head and you need to make duplicate tags (called carcass identification tags on Page 28 of the 2013-14 Arkansas Hunting Guidebook) to identify all other portions of your deer while bringing it to the processor or your home.
Good luck out there this weekend. Everyone at the AGFC wishes you a safe, successful deer hunting season. Bring a pen and don’t forget to write.
Posted in Hunting | Tagged Arkansas, check, Commission, deer, fish, Game, hunt, ink, license, pen, reg, regulation, Rule, score, tag, tail, white, whitetail |