STRAWBERRY (AGFC)– Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today unanimously approved an emergency proclamation closing the upcoming permit turkey hunt on Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area in Lawrence County. Recent heavy rain has caused several rivers across Arkansas, including the Black River which courses through the WMA, to rise well above flood stages.
As rivers rise, driving conditions become very dangerous and jeopardize the safety of turkey hunters trying to access areas. Birds are also concentrated on high ground. The high water is forcing the cancellation of the last turkey permit hunt scheduled for the WMA. The permit hunt was to run April 29-May 1.
The Black River at Black Rock was at 30.14 feet early Wednesday morning. The river is expected to stay above 28 feet at least through May 2. Because of extreme flood waters creating hazardous access conditions, this permit hunt has been cancelled.
Hunters who won permits through the AGFC's permit draw will receive refunds of their permit fees. In the coming weeks, the AGFC will mail refunds to all hunters who won permits and paid permit fees for the cancelled hunt. The AGFC will attempt to contact permit holders and notify them of the turkey hunt cancellation.
"We have a database of all the hunters who will be affected, so anyone who won a permit and bought the permit can expect a refund and their preference points adjusted accordingly," said David Goad, chief of the AGFC Wildlife Management Division.