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The AGFC youth camp at Lake Sylvia was an ideal setting for young hunters and their parents to learn the ropes of turkey hunting.

The AGFC youth camp at Lake Sylvia was an ideal setting for young hunters and their parents to learn the ropes of turkey hunting.

Seven lucky youth hunters were selected to participate in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Youth Turkey Camp April 15-16 at Lake Sylvia in Perry County.

The camp, now in its fourth year, was created to help introduce those youths with no outdoor mentor to the sport of turkey hunting.

AGFC Regional Education Coordinator Jason Hooks said many of the traditions historically handed down from parent-to-child or grandparent-to-child have been lost as people’s attentions has been devoted to other pursuits in urban settings.

“So many of these kids and even their parents have never been introduced to turkey hunting,” said Hooks. “Some have never been camping or stayed in a tent before. Hopefully this sparks their interest.”

Cade Johnson of Cabot harvested a nice 20year-old gobbler during teh 2016 youth turkey camp at Lake Sylvia.

Cade Johnson of Cabot harvested a nice 2-year-old gobbler during the 2016 youth turkey camp at Lake Sylvia.

Participants are required to complete Hunter Education before attending camp. A parent also is required to attend the camp with the youth hunter. Hunters must be 12 to 15 years old to participate.

“Kids can start hunting turkeys and other big game in Arkansas at age 6, and most kids whose parents are already turkey hunters likely will take them before they’re 12,” said Hooks. “But this camp is for those youths and parents who don’t know how or where to get started.”

Participants meet for dinner Friday afternoon before opening day of the youth hunt. They learn about turkey identification, different types of turkey calls and hunting techniques. They also learn about turkey biology, gun safety and other aspects of the hunt few people think about unless they’ve been taught by a mentor. The evening wraps up with dinner and hunting tales around a campfire.

“We’ll get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. the next morning to put that knowledge to use and hunt some birds,” Hooks said.

AGFC staff and hunter education instructors volunteer to take the young hunters and a parent out to the woods for a hunt.

This year’s lucky hunter was Cade Johnson from Cabot. Johnson, who participates in the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program, was able to take a 2-year-old gobbler the morning of the hunt.

Hooks says the event would not be possible without the help of many men and women who are concerned with the future of turkey hunting in Arkansas.

“Many of the volunteers are members of the National Wild Turkey Federation, which also helps sponsor the hunt,” Hooks said. “We also get help from Bass Pro Shops, Quaker Boy Game Calls, Lynch Traditions Turkey Calls Jim Pollard Elite Calls and Natural Gear Camouflage.”

Contact Jason Hooks at 501-251-7839 or email Jason.Hooks@agfc.ar.gov for more information about the AGFC Youth Turkey Camp at Lake Sylvia.

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Apply now for a turkey permit hunt.

Apply now for a turkey permit hunt.

Hunters may now apply for limited permits on several Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas for the 2016 turkey season.

Many WMAs offer special permit youth hunts as well as standard permit hunts. Click here for a list of available permits.

Many WMAs offer special permit youth hunts as well as standard permit hunts. Click here for a list of available permits.

April may seem like an eternity for dyed-in-the-wool turkey hunters, but now is the time to start the process of bagging your bird on public land.

Jason Honey, turkey program coordinator for the AGFC, says access to many popular wildlife management areas must be restricted using a permit draw to prevent overcrowding.

Applications will only be processed from Dec. 15, 2015 until Jan. 15, 2016. Applicants will be notified of their application status in late February. Permit winners must pay a processing fee of $10.

Click here to apply

Many WMA's have different season dates than their surrounding zones. Click here to look at the available hunts and dates.

Many WMA’s have different season dates than their surrounding zones. Click here to look at the available hunts and dates.

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Hunting traditions have historically been passed down through families, but as the modern family evolves, bridging the gap between veteran and beginning hunter has become a challenge for all conservation agencies. Through its youth turkey camp, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission introduces young people to turkey hunting at its annual youth turkey camp in the Ouachita National Forest.

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Click here to apply beginning 8 a.m., March 23.

Click here to apply beginning 8 a.m., March 23.

Leftover WMA Turkey Hunt Permits go on sale beginning 8 a.m., Monday, March 23. This year we are implementing a special queue system to help prevent crashes and overloads from increased web traffic. When you click to enter the permit process, you will receive a brief explanation of the queue and how it works. When you click to proceed from that page, you will be “in line” with an indicator of how many people are in front of you. When it’s your turn, you will have 10 minutes to choose a permit and complete your purchase. After 10 minutes your place in line cannot be guaranteed.
If you wish to buy additional permits, you must go back through the queue. This is to ensure as many people as possible have a chance to get a leftover permit.
the list of leftover permits is available at http://www.agfc.com/lic…/Documents/LeftoverTurkeyPermits.pdf
The queue will begin at 8 a.m., Wednesday morning at the following link: http://static.ark.org/agfc/permitting.html

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Click to apply for Arkansas WMA Turkey Hunting Permit.

The first drawing of WMA turkey hunting permits is complete. Click here to check your status and pay by Feb. 9.

The first WMA turkey hunt permit draw is complete. Applicants can visit https://www.ark.org/agfc/permitting/status.php to check their draw status and pay for permits.

Anglers who drew have until February 9 to pay the $10 processing fee to obtain their permit. After that, all unclaimed permits will be placed back in the pool, and a second drawing will be held for those applicants who did not draw during the first round. Unclaimed permits from that round of drawings will be placed in a first-come, first-served online sale March 23.

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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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Jakes were off limits to all hunters except youths during 2011. Tell the AGFC how you think it went.

The annual public meetings concerning spring turkey season have passed, but there’s still time to send any comments or concerns to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Just visit www.agfc.com and click the “Talkin’ Turkey” banner at the top of the page to take a quick online survey.

The following considerations are being surveyed for the 2012 turkey season:

  • Elimination of preference points for WMA permit turkey hunts;
  • Elimination of drawn permits for the youth hunt on some WMAs;
  • The continuation of an 18-day turkey season;
  • The continuation of opening day being on a Monday in mid-April;
  • The continuation of a two-bird bag limit with no jakes allowed (except youth), and
  • The formation of a 2,800-acre walk-in turkey hunting area on Petit Jean River WMA

Survey respondents also are encouraged to speak up about any concern or comment they
have regarding the Arkansas turkey program. Comments will be accepted through Sept. 17.

Click here to take the survey

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