By Ronnie Weston| December 2, 2011 at 11:47 AM CST - Updated June 26 at 12:53 AM
LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission 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 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 #3 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.