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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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Flood-prone regions have preset criteria to close deer season during high-water events. AGFC photo.

High water on the White, Cache, St. Francis and Black rivers has forced the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to temporarily close deer season in portions of eastern Arkansas.

According to Cory Gray, deer program coordinator for the AGFC, many areas susceptible to wide-scale flooding offer excellent habitat and large deer populations. When water forces them to leave their normal range, they can become concentrated and vulnerable to overharvest.

“The primary intent of closing flood prone regions is to protect those deer displaced by floods,” said Gray. “These closed zones not only include land that is flooded, but also high ground that serves as sanctuaries from the rising water.”

Flood-prone regions not only include public hunting land, but also private land within those zones. The closure only applies to deer hunting.

“The AGFC conducted a statistically valid hunter survey in 2014 to gauge people’s opinions on flood-prone regions,” said Gray. “It showed 79 percent of hunters who hunted in these regions were in favor of flood-prone zone management.”

A description of all flood-prone regions and criteria for closures are available on pages 56-57 of the 2015-16 Arkansas Hunting Guidebook. Visit http://www.agfc.com or call the AGFC’s Wildlife Information Hotline at 800-440-1477 for the status of all flood-prone regions, updated each day at 3.p.m.

 

Check the current list of flood-prone regions and closings

Deer concentrate on high ground during floods, making them susceptible to overharvest and poaching.

Deer concentrate on high ground during floods, making them susceptible to overharvest and poaching.

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Proposed season dates are available for review and comments. Click here to view.

Proposed season dates are available for review and comments. Click here to view.

Although staff recommendations for this year’s waterfowl season dates were formally proposed during the July Commission meeting, public comments prompted the Commission to look into an alternative set of dates for public review.

View proposed season dates and make comments

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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.

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Apply for an elk hunt permit May 1.

Application period for the 2014 Arkansas Public Land Elk Hunt is May 1-June 1. Click here to apply.

Application period for the 2014 Arkansas Public Land Elk Hunt is May 1-June 1. Click here to apply.

 

If you want to have a chance to bag Arkansas’s largest game animal, then mark May 1 on your calendar. That’s the day the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission open’s up its public elk permit process.

Applications are free, but all applicants 16 or older must have a current Arkansas sportsman hunting license or an Arkansas lifetime hunting license. Applicants also must be at least 6 years old to hunt big game in the state – elk, deer, bear and turkey.

All applications must be made online on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s website.
Three permits will be issued to Arkansas residents who complete applications during the Buffalo River Elk Festival at Jasper in late June. For these, the winners must be present.

For more information and to apply, visit  http://www.agfc.com/licenses/Pages/PermitsSpecialElk.aspx

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Deer in Field

Commission sets 2014-15 deer seasons

Deer season dates for the 2014-15 deer hunting season were set at the April 17, 2014 meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, held in Little Rock:

Archery

  • All zones: Sept. 27-Feb. 28, 2015.

Private Land Antlerless-Only  Modern Gun Hunt

  • Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 8, 8A, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 11-15.

Muzzleloader

  • Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4A, 5A, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10, 11, 14 and 15: Oct. 18-26 and Dec. 13-15.
  • Zones 9, 12, 13, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 18-26 and Dec. 29-31.
  • Zones 4, 4B, 5 and 5B: Closed.

Youth Modern Gun Deer Hunts

  • All zones: Nov. 1-2 and Jan. 3-4, 2015.

Modern Gun

  • Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10 and 11: Nov. 8-30 and Dec. 26-28.
  • Zone 4: Nov. 8-9 and Dec. 26-28.
  • Zone 5: Nov. 8-9, Nov. 15-16 and Dec. 26-28.
  • Zones 4A, 5A, 14 and 15: Nov. 8-Dec. 7 and Dec. 26-28.
  • Zones 4B and 5B: Nov. 8-16 and Dec. 26-28.
  • Zones 9, 12 and 13: Nov. 8-Dec. 14 and Dec. 26-28.
  • Zone 16, 16A and 17: Nov. 8-Dec. 28.

The commission also approved the harvest of feral hogs only during bear, deer and elk firearms seasons on certain WMAs. The regulation permits some taking of nuisance feral hogs, without promoting the recreational hunting of feral hogs, on Commission-controlled property.
In other business, the Commission:

  • Authorized AGFC Director Mike Knoedl, on behalf of the AGFC, to enter into an agreement to purchase 42 acres on Highway 7 near Jasper. Purchase price of the property is $250,000. The purchase will go forward after an appraisal and review, environmental analysis, survey, title commitment and other due diligence.
  • Discussed the Cane Creek Lake and Lake Chicot drawdowns and the daily creel limits on the two fisheries.
  • Authorized AGFC Director Mike Knoedl, on behalf of the AGFC, to enter into an agreement to purchase 959 acres adjacent to the Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms Wildlife Management Area near Georgetown in White County. Purchase price of the property is $1.8 million. The purchase will go forward after an appraisal and review, environmental analysis, survey, title commitment and other due diligence. The AGFC has secured $1 million through a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to begin the acquisition and has a second NAWCA grant in review that would provide the balance of the anticipated purchase price.
  • Reviewed the 2013-14 deer harvest. AGFC Deer Program Coordinator Cory Gray told Commissioners that hunters checked 213,199 deer. The harvest is the second highest on record behind the 2012-13 record of 213,487 deer. Compared to last season, the buck harvest decreased slightly from 110,448 to 105,952 while the doe harvest increased from 103,039 to 107,247.
  • Agreed to execute a quitclaim deed on a 5.72-acre tract of the Gene Rush Buffalo River WMA in Searcy County. A land survey and title search revealed a claim of ownership by Kathryn Rogers superior to AGFC’s interest. The AGFC will quitclaim the land to Rogers. The agency’s title insurance will reimburse the AGFC $2,000 per acre for the loss of the acreage.
  • Honored 35 AGFC employees for their years of service to the agency. The group represented 430 years of experience.

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Duck season dates set

Arkansas's 2013-14 waterfowl season dates have been set. hunters will enjoy a 60-day season again.

Arkansas’s 2013-14 waterfowl season dates have been set. hunters will enjoy a 60-day season again.

Arkansas hunters will enjoy a 60-day waterfowl season for the 17th consecutive year. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission set the dates for late migratory waterfowl seasons at the August Commission meeting, Aug. 15,

AGFC Waterfowl Program Coordinator Luke Naylor presented the Commission with the late migratory season proposals.

“Habitat conditions were improved or similar to last year in many areas due to average or above-average annual precipitation, with the exceptions of southeastern Canada, the northeast U.S., and portions of Montana and the Dakotas,” Naylor said.

With more than 529,500 mallards harvested, Arkansas had the third highest waterfowl harvest and highest mallard harvest in the nation last season. The second highest mallard harvest in the nation was 243,467 in California. No other state’s hunters, in the Mississippi flyway, harvested over 200,000 mallards.

2013-14 duck, coot and merganser
Nov. 23-Dec. 1
Dec. 5-Dec. 23
Dec. 26-Jan. 26
Youth Hunt: Feb. 1-2
Daily bag limits:

  • Ducks – Six ducks consisting of no more than: four mallards (two hens), three wood ducks, two pintails, Two redheads, one black duck, two canvasbacks, one mottled duck or three scaup.
  • Mergansers – five
  • Coots – 15

Federal regulations now allow for a possession limit of three times the daily bag limit.

2013-14 white-fronted goose

Nov. 14-Jan. 26
Daily bag limit: Two, Possession limit: Six

2013-14 snow, blue and Ross’ goose 

Nov. 14-Jan. 26
Daily bag limit:50, No possession limit

2013-14 Canada goose

Early Canada Goose Statewide Season: Sept.1-15, 2013.
Northwest Canada Goose Zone Season: Sept. 21-30, 2013.
Late Canada Goose Statewide Season: Nov. 14, 2013-Jan. 26, 2014.
Daily bag limit: Two, Possession limit: Six. (The daily limit is five Canada geese from Sept. 1-15, 2013, possession limit 15.)

 2013-14 snow, blue and Ross’ goose conservation order

Oct. 12-Nov. 13, Jan. 27-31 and Feb. 3-April 25, 2014
No bag or possession limit.

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