LITTLE ROCK, AR (AGFC) - Arkansas's turkey population has declined in recent years because of a series of poor spring hatches. As a result, Emon Mahony of El Dorado, commissioner with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, has proposed closing the fall turkey hunting seasons this year.
"I cannot in good faith further restrict spring hunting if we allow hunters to kill hens in the fall," said Mahony.
Archery hunting for turkeys is scheduled to run Oct. 1 through Feb. 28 in all Turkey Zones except Zone 1A in northwest Arkansas. Hunting with modern shotguns or muzzle-loading shotguns is scheduled for Oct. 26-Nov. 1 in Turkey Zones 3, 5B, 6 and 17. All other turkey zones are closed for fall firearms hunting.
Both turkey gobblers and hens are legal game in the fall season, but hunters are fewer than in the spring season. Less than 5 percent of the turkeys checked by Arkansas hunters are taken during fall hunts. Last year, 118 turkeys were checked by firearms hunters and 388 by archery hunters.
AGFC commissioners will discuss the 2009 fall closure of turkey hunting at their Sept. 24 meeting in Little Rock. Persons may express their opinions on the proposal in writing before Sept.17. Letters can be sent to Fall Turkey Season, Wildlife Management Division, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205. Comments can also be e-mailed to Mike Widner, turkey program coordinator, at email@example.com.