STUTTGART (AGFC) – Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission last week discussed dove season, the unofficial opening of Arkansas's fall hunting season, at its monthly meeting in Stuttgart. Early-season migratory game-bird season selections must be reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Aug. 1. Approval for the early seasons will take place during the Commission's July meeting. Changes from last season are minor.
Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared Dove
Sept. 1-Oct. 25 and Dec. 26-Jan. 9
Sept. 8-Nov. 16
Nov. 3-Dec. 17
Common Snipe Season
Nov. 1-Feb. 15
Purple Gallinule and Common Moorhen Season
Sept. 1-Nov. 9
Early Canada Goose Season
Northwest Canada Goose Zone Season
Sept. 22-Oct. 1
During Wednesday's committee meetings, late migratory bird regulation proposals, including potential WMA regulation changes, were discussed. The Regulations Committee accepted the recommendations of AGFC staff to discontinue existing regulation exceptions that had allowed leaving decoys overnight and the individual maintenance of waterfowl openings on Big Lake, St. Francis Sunken Lands and Dave Donaldson Black River WMAs, as well as the use of permanent hunting blinds on Big Lake and St. Francis Sunken Lands WMAs. These recommendations will receive additional Commission discussion at the July Commission meeting with any final regulation change proposals being made available for public review and input prior to final Commission approval at the August meeting.
In other business, the Commission:
*Approved policy revisions for the agency's state record fish.
*Approved a list of Commission committees and chairmen for the coming fiscal year.
*Approved the AGFC budget for fiscal year 2012-13, totaling $72,950,869.
*Approved a budget increase of $90,349 for purchase of office furniture, temporary rent and moving expenses for the new AGFC Jonesboro Regional Office.
*Elected Ron Pierce of Mountain Home chairman of the Commission to replace George Dunklin Jr. Dunklin's term on the Commission ends June 30. Rick Watkins of Little Rock was elected vice chairman.
*Passed a minute order requesting that AGFC Director Loren Hitchcock postpone his June 30 retirement effective date and continue as the agency director until the search and hiring process for a new director has been completed.