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Spring River dam repairs completed
MAMMOTH SPRING – Renovation and restoration of Dam No. 3 on the Spring River near Mammoth Spring has been completed. Work began earlier this year on the 100-year-old structure.
The dam and gate system provides water for the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery. The dam had been inoperable since 2009 and caused trout production at the hatchery to decline.
Construction cost on the repairs totaled $3,150,000. Contractor for the project was ASI Constructors, Inc. from Pueblo West, Colorado. Crist Engineers, Inc. of Little Rock was the consulting engineer.
Jim Hinkle State Fish Hatchery is Arkansas’s only state-owned trout hatchery and produces 1 million catchable-size trout for Arkansas waters annually.
For more information on the hatchery, call 877-625-7521.

Last week, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Officer Andy Smith was traveling eastbound on I-40 in Lonoke County near the Kerr Road exit when he saw a vehicle driving in the wrong direction in the westbound lanes.

Smith, a wildlife officer since 2012, said he noticed the elderly man in the green Dodge pickup was not slowing down. “He was traveling at about 60 mph. He didn’t appear to be slowing down or attempting to turn around in the correct direction,” Smith explained.

Smith matched the truck’s speed in the eastbound lanes and activated his emergency lights. “I saw numerous cars and tractor-trailers swerve to avoid a head-on collision with him.” Smith said. “I feared the approaching traffic would be focused on me with my emergency lights and not on the road in front of them,” he added.

Smith said he drove into the median and exited his truck ahead of the approaching driver. “As I got to the cable barrier I began waving my arms at the driver. He slowed down and began pulling over towards me,” he said. At this point, westbound traffic had stopped and allowed Smith to contact the elderly man. “When I opened the driver’s door he appeared very confused and when I asked him if he knew he was going the wrong way, he said no,” Smith said.

Smith asked the driver to move over into the passenger seat so he could turn the truck around and park the man’s vehicle on the westbound shoulder. The wildlife officer called the AGFC radio room and asked them to make contact with Arkansas State Police to find out if they have received 911 calls on the driver. “AGFC radio advised me that they had received several 911 calls and a trooper was enroute to my location. After the trooper arrived, we learned that a Silver Alert had been issued earlier for the truck and driver. It was reported that the driver suffered from Alzheimer’s,” Smith said.

The driver’s family was contacted and arrangements were made for him to be picked up.

Click the image for 2014-15 deer harvest numbers updated in real time.

Click the image for 2014-15 deer harvest numbers updated in real time.

Deer Harvest Updates Online

Thanks to internet checking, the public can see exactly how many deer have been checked in any deer zone or wildlife management area in Arkansas on a daily basis. Keep an eye on the harvest and see where your stomping grounds rank by visiting http://www.ark.org/agfc/gamecheck/reports.php

The Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry truck will be at the Little Rock Bass Pro Shops  to collect wild game meat donations at 10 a.m. Sept. 27.

The Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry truck will be at the Little Rock Bass Pro Shops to collect wild game meat donations at 10 a.m. Sept. 27.

To celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry and Bass Pro Shops will be partnering for a special event to benefit AHFH. The event will be held at the Little Rock Bass Pro Shops on Sept. 27 beginning at 10 a.m. Congress established National Hunting and Fishing Day to recognize hunters and anglers for their leadership in fish and wildlife conservation.

AGFC deer biologists and wildlife officers will be available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions about Arkansas’s upcoming deer seasons. The Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry truck will be available for meat donations. AHFH is a successful program that has provided more than one million meals to the state’s most needy citizens.

There will be a drawing to win a $100 Bass Pro Shops gift card. Shoppers are encouraged to enter the contest by donating commercially processed and packaged meat, buying a hunting license and donating to AHFH or by making a cash donation to AHFH. For more information on AHFH, go to http://www.arkansashunters.org.

Leftover WMA permits for sale online beginning at 8 a.m., Sept. 8.

Leftover WMA permits for sale online beginning at 8 a.m., Sept. 8.

Each year, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission holds a drawing for the opportunity to hunt certain wildlife management areas to prevent overcrowding and manage the harvest on our public land.  Applications are accepted in June and winners are drawn and notified in mid-July. Successful applicants are given three weeks to pay a $10 processing fee for their permit. This fee helps offset the cost of the drawing that is conducted by a third-party vendor and helps gain a commitment from permit winners.

Many permits remain unclaimed after the payment period, some of which are available at some of the AGFC’s most popular hunts. The AGFC offers these leftover permits on a first-come, first-served basis though an online sale. Each permit costs $10 (the same cost as the original processing fee). There is no limit to the number of extra permits a person may purchase, but permits may only be purchased one-at-a-time. Purchases may only be completed using a credit card. Permits for the 2014-15 deer season will be available online beginning at 8 a.m., Sept. 8, 2014.

Click here for a list of available permits

Click here to purchase a permit beginning Sept. 8

Dove Season Opens Sept. 6

Dove season opens Sept. 6, 2014. Click the picture for details.

Dove season opens Sept. 6, 2014. Click the picture for details.

Arkansas’s Dove season opens Sept. 6 this year, kicking off the 2014-15 hunting season. As we get close to that grand day of shooting birds in the field and shooting the bull at the tailgate cookout, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has put together a few reminders to help you stay safe and stay legal while you’re knocking the rust off your shooting skills:

  1. Double-check the date: Federal frameworks will not allow states to open dove season before Sept. 1 each year. The AGFC chose to open Sept. 6 to let hunters enjoy a full opening weekend of dove hunting instead of opening on Labor Day, a Monday.
  2. Be sure your licenses are up-to-date: Migratory bird stamps are not required to hunt doves, but hunters must have a valid hunting license and a valid HIP registration before hunting. Visit www.agfc.com/licenses/Pages/LicensesBuy.aspx to learn the many ways to purchase an Arkansas hunting license.
  3. Check your shotgun to make sure it can hold no more than three shells (including the shell in the chamber).
  4. Make sure to check your dove fields for evidence of baiting and ask the operator or landowner if the area has been baited. A baited field may not be hunted until after 10 days following the complete removal of all bait. Visit www.agfc.com/hunting/Documents/DoveBrochure.pdf to download a brochure detailing all the regulations pertaining to baiting for dove fields.
  5. Try to meet with all hunters using the field before heading out, so that you will be aware of everyone’s location.
  6. Be sure to bring extra water to stay hydrated in the late summer heat that comes with dove season. If you plan to bring a dog to help retrieve downed birds, bring twice as much as you think you’ll need.
  7. Be sure to bring plenty of shells. Dove hunting offers some of the most challenging wing-shooting of the season.
  8. If you’re still looking for a place to hunt, the AGFC has a few managed dove fields throughout the state worth looking into. Visit www.agfc.com/hunting/Pages/PublicDoveFields.aspx to find a dove field near you.

Fishing derby to benefit Mayflower tornado victims

The AGFC and "Tackle the Storm" will be working Sunday, July 27 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., helping anglers put the Mayflower tornado behind them.

The AGFC and “Tackle the Storm” will be working Sunday, July 27 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., helping anglers put the Mayflower tornado behind them.

The April 27 tornado devastated Mayflower and Vilonia and stripped many residents of their homes and belongings. Three months later, the non-profit Tackle the Storm Foundation seeks to give a little something back to Arkansans who were affected by the storm.

Tackle the Storm, a charity spawned in the wake of devastating tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2011, will be at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Dr. James E. Moore Camp Robinson Firing Range 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, July 27 to give away fishing tackle to children and families who lost belongings in the tornado.

The AGFC will stock catfish in the firing range ponds at 524 Clinton Rd., and participants will be able to use their new fishing tackle to catch the fish. Lunch also will be served.

Tackle the Storm seeks to ease the burden of storm-affected children and families by awarding free fishing poles, or as the foundation calls them, “the magic wands of childhood.” The foundation’s mission is to help tornado victims use fishing to escape the destruction and sadness that follows catastrophic natural disasters.

For more information, contact Jim Alexander at 501-269-1368.

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