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Posts Tagged ‘Game and Fish’

Hunters harvested more than 400 bears during the 2011-12 season.

The harvest totals were presented to commissioners of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission during its monthly meeting last week. Bear Program Coordinator Myron Means said the harvest numbers could be attributed to private land hunters using bait. He added that the statewide harvest goal is between 350 and 400 bears each year.

Polk and Scott counties were again the two top counties for bear hunters. In Polk County, 51 bears were harvested, followed by 45 bears in Scott County. Means said that future considerations for bear season may include removing the two-day early modern gun hunt in Bear Zone 2.

“The two-day gun season has been successful in increasing bear harvest for Bear Zone 2. However, it also has increased the female harvest ratio from roughly 35 percent to 50 percent,” Means said. “A 50 percent harvest rate of adult females is not sustainable over the long term,” he warned.

In other business, the Commission:

  • Announced that Jeff Crow has been named the new Chief of Enforcement for the AGFC. Most recently Crow served as the Law Enforcement Management Specialist for the University of Arkansas’s Criminal Justice Institute. Crow replaces Mike Knoedl who was promoted to deputy director.
  • Approved up to $500,000 to fund eight Wildlife Recreation Facilities Pilot Program projects around Arkansas. The money for the projects comes from natural gas lease revenues the AGFC has received.
  • Approved up to $1 million to fund 13 grants through the Wildlife Observation Trails Pilot program. Money for the program also comes from natural gas lease revenues.
  • Heard a proposal for a new code concerning non-liability for wildlife damages.
  • Approved a budget increase of $121,621 to repair the Gurdon Lake Dam spillway. The dam was damaged during flooding in 2010. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the AGFC $118,121 of the total cost.
  • Approved the renaming of an access on Dry Run Creek in Baxter County. The access will be renamed Larry Rider Dry Run Creek Access after the former fisheries employee. Rider was instrumental in establishing Dry Run Creek as a catch-and-release are for youths and mobility-impaired anglers.
  • Approved a budget increase of $115,880 for habitat restoration and stream bank stabilization in the White River basin. The money will come from the Environmental Protection Agency through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.
  • Approved the purchase of 41 vehicles at a cost of $977,234. The vehicles will replace 41 vehicles that have are nearing or exceeded 150,000 miles. Each of the replaced vehicles will be sold and removed from inventory as soon as equipment is transferred to the new vehicles.
  • Approved a budget transfer of $62,800 for improvements at Henry Gray Hurricane Lake and Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek WMAs.
  • Approved a budget increase of $90,000 from an EPA grant to study the Arkansas West Gulf Coastal Plain wetland terraces.
  • Honored Sgt. Floyd Harper with the Shikar-Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year award. Harper is based in Monticello and patrols southeast Arkansas. Award winners are selected on the basis of their professional relationships with hunters, anglers and landowners in their districts, their job performance and dedication to the wildlife law enforcement profession and participation in activities outside of daily enforcement work.
  • Read a proclamation from Gov. Mike Beebe honoring the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program.The WSFR program is the revenue foundation for most fish and wildlife conservation programs. First created on Sept. 2, 1937 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, the program raises funds through a dedicated excise tax on sporting guns and ammunition. In 1950, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act was enacted and added to the WSFR program. Through this law, funds are provided for fish conservation and boating and fishing recreational programs in each state through an excise tax placed on certain fishing and boating equipment and fuels.
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Text a TIP

Got a tip on a poacher? Text TIP411.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is offering a new way to anonymously report outdoor-related violations to the agency’s Enforcement Division agents. It’s called tip411 and is as simple as sending a text message.

CitizenObserver, the tip411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before the AGFC receives the text so that the AGFC cannot identify the sender. To send the anonymous tip via text message to the AGFC, text AGFC with the tip to tip411 (847411). You will then receive a thank you text acknowledging that the text has been received.

According to AGFC Assistant Chief of Enforcement Todd Smith, the system is a completely anonymous way for people to report violations via text messaging.

“Our dispatch center will be monitoring all incoming texts 24 hours, 7 days a week,” Smith said. “We will respond to the reporting person, gather required information, then pass it on to the appropriate officer,” he explained.

With the increase in technology along with the way our society communicates these days, this venture should open the door for those who would not have called in a violation, Smith said. “There are many other agencies across the country that have initiated this way of communicating with law enforcement,” he added.

An iPhone app is also under development and will be available soon. Citizens all may anonymously report tips by calling 800-482-9262.

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Youths will be the only hunters allowed to take a jake in 2012.

Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today shortened the turkey season from last year’s total of 18 days to 16 days. The season framework was approved after a review of recent harvests and brood surveys along with input from turkey hunters.

The statewide turkey season will be April 14-29 in zones 1, 2, 3, 4B, 5, 5B, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9, 10 and 17 with a bag limit of two bearded turkeys and no jakes, except for a single jake that youth hunters may harvest. In zones 4, 4A, 5A and 9A the season will be April 14-24 with a bag limit of one bearded turkey and no jakes, except for a single jake that youth hunters may harvest. Zone 1A will be closed. The 2012 youth turkey season hunt will be April 7-8 in all open zones. The bag limit for the season will be no more than one legal turkey taken per day and no more than two legal turkeys taken in any combination of open turkey zones. Youth may only take one jake during the season, either during the youth hunt or statewide hunt, but adult hunters will be limited to mature gobblers only.

In other business, the Commission:

  • Approved a grant to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to be used for conservation fundraising purposes. The grant includes an either-sex elk permit for the September 2012 elk hunt. The permit will be auctioned at the Arkansas RMEF banquet. Money generated will be used for elk habitat improvements, public education and research.
  • Approved $34,844 for the purchase of new life jackets for the AGFC’s wildlife officers.
  • Approved a budget increase of $113,231.45 for the purchase of new Glock pistols for AGFC wildlife officers. The new guns will replace existing weapons that are as old as 19 years.
  • Approved a pass through Federal Boating Infrastructure Grant, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for $100,000 to be used for the construction of the Hastings Bay Marina on Arkansas River in North Little Rock.  The facilities will be built to accommodate transient boats in excess of 26 feet on the river.
  • Authorized an increase of $173,732 in the spending limit from funds already budgeted for consulting engineering services on Dam # at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery. The engineering firm of Crist Engineers, Inc. of Little Rock was chosen for the work.
  • Approved five Marine Fuel Tax fund projects around the state. The City of Clarksville will match $42,955 to pave the parking area at Lake Ludwig. Total cost of the project is $85,910. Desha County requested $67,000 to chip and seal the parking area and access road at Lake Kate Adams. The City of Oil Trough will received $82,518 from the tax to be used to pave and increase the size of the parking area at the White River access. Oil Trough will provide an in-kind contribution of $25,753 for the $108,271 project. Perry County will use $46,108 to chip and seal a 2.75-mile section of access roads and parking areas at Harris Brake Lake. Perry County will provide an in-kind contribution of $47,000 for the $93,108 project. White County will receive $12,000 for additional and unanticipated worked at the Little Red River Nimmo Access. Additional work was required on the project to stabilize the roadway. The county has provided an additional $24,000 of in-kind money to the project.
  • Heard a presentation on the Beaver Tailwater Habitat Project. The project included various work on riparian areas, improving water quality, increasing water depth and improved angler access.
  • Heard a presentation on 2011 alligator season harvest. A total of 23 alligators were taken during the recent season.
  • Heard a presentation on the number of boating accidents in the state. As of October, there have been 73 boating accidents and 15 fatalities this year.

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If you’re looking at this article through the AGFC iPhone app, there’s a way to stay on top of Arkansas’s outdoors as the news happens. Just visit https://agfcnews.wordpress.com. Enter your email address on the “Email Subscription” bar (on the right side of the screen if viewing by computer, at the bottom of the posts if viewing by phone).

Once subscribed, you’ll get an email the moment the news section of the app is updated.

Of course, you’ll always be able to see the news on the app, but subscribing to our posts is the best way to make sure you see everything your Arkansas Game and Fish has to offer.

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Click the image to take a look at the deer harvest in real time.

Click the image to take a look at the deer harvest in real-time.

 

Interested in how the 2011-12 deer season is going? Visit https://www.ark.org/agfc/gamecheck/reports.php.

Thanks to the conversion to online and telephone checking, the AGFC is able to offer hunters a real-time look into the harvest across the sate.  Receiving information faster isn’t just for entertainment, it’s also critical to make decisions regarding the next year’s deer season before the regulations setting process begins in March each year.

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In the heart of elk country, Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission toured several projects designed to benefit not only Arkansas’s elk herd, but numerous species of wildlife. The Commission was in Harrison last week for its monthly meeting.
The Commission observed elk in Newton County’s Boxley Valley and habitat projects in the recently purchased parcel in Richland Valley. Numerous bull elk put on a show for commissioners by bugling and herding cows in the picturesque Buffalo River country of north Arkansas.
Biologists with the agency told the commissioners about various habitat enhancement projects such as prescribed fire and restoration of native grasses. Biologists emphasized that the habitat improvements attract elk to public property, but also benefit species such as turkey, black bears, dove, songbirds and white-tailed deer.
In other business, the Commission:
*Heard a presentation on repairs to Lower White Oak Lake. The 50-year-old lake is a popular destination for many anglers and is managed as a trophy Florida largemouth bass fishery. Earlier this year, the lower gate on the water control structure began leaking significantly. Currently the lake is 4.5 feet below normal levels due to the leak and evaporation. Replacement of the gate is estimated at $205,500.
*Approved a budget increase of $3 million to be used in restoration of damages to AGFC facilities statewide from the spring 2011 tornadoes and floods. The Federal Emergency Management Administration will reimburse 75 percent of the amount to the AGFC. The remaining 25 percent will come from the State of Arkansas emergency funds and insurance proceeds.
*Approved a $26,000 grant to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. The goal of the AHFH is to help feed hungry Arkansans by hunters donating harvested deer to the organization. The deer are then processed and delivered to the many feeding agencies and organizations across the state. Last year the organization provided 70,000 pounds of venison to people in need.
*Approved up to $1 million to help fund development of a revised state water plan. Money for the plan will come from gas lease revenue. The plan will be developed by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission with input from the AGFC.
*Approved an amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement between the AGFC and Arkansas Department of Rural Services for the Wildlife Recreation Facilities Pilot Program. The amendment includes an additional $500,000 for the program during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
*Approved an amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement with Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department and Arkansas Department of Rural Services for the Wildlife Trails and Recreational Facilities Grants. Up to an additional $1 million will be available for the project.
*In partnership with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the AGFC was recently awarded a $1,509,012 Recovery Land Acquisition Grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The grant will benefit three federally-endangered species by providing funds to purchase a 1,688-acre tract of habitat along the bank of the lower Saline River in Ashley County.
*Approved a budget increase of $45,000 to help fund sampling requirements and laboratory fees related to chronic wasting disease in the state’s deer and elk populations. Money will come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
*Approved a budget increase of $200,489 to add new projects within the Big Woods of Arkansas Habitat Conservation Planning Grant. The projects will benefit six federally-listed endangered species including the ivory-billed woodpecker, red-cockaded woodpecker, interior least tern and the fat pocketbook, pink mucket and scaleshell mussels.
*Approved a budget increase of $26,618 to benefit federally-listed threatened and endangered species. The money will be used to perform pathogen testing in the Ozark hellbender and for projects related to bats that are threatened by white-nose syndrome.

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Counties with burn bans as of Oct. 14, 2011

Muzzleloader season will be open as usual, but burn bans are in effect in some counties.

It’s been a long, hot and dry summer in Arkansas. Muzzleloading season begins Oct. 22 in most of the state and current weather conditions call for heightened levels of fire danger.
Hunters should be aware that there are numerous burn bans across the state. County burn bans also apply to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas. Since Sept. 1, Arkansas Forestry Commission firefighting crews have suppressed 137 fires that have burned 2,211 acres.
With a moderate to high fire danger risk around the state, there are a few things to remember:
•  Outdoor burning is strongly discouraged. Outdoor burning includes the burning of yard waste or trash and sometimes includes campfires and outdoor grilling. Burn bans are issued by the local county judge and can vary from county to county. If camping on National Forest Service property in a location under a burn ban, campfires are allowed only in designated areas.
•  Be mindful that sparks from lawn mowers and hay baling equipment can start a wildfire.
•  Never discard cigarettes from vehicles.
•  Never park vehicles where grass or other vegetation can touch the exhaust system.
To view current burn bans and wildfire danger ratings, visit www.arkansasforestry.org. To report a wildfire, call the Arkansas Forestry Commission Dispatch Center at 800-468-8834, or 911.

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