Commission proposes late migratory season

LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – It doesn't feel much like waterfowl season these days, but commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were discussing duck hunting during their monthly meeting. The Commission also approved the early season migratory bird dates.

AGFC Wildlife Management Chief David Goad presented the Commission with the late migratory season proposals.

Proposed duck season dates:

      Nov. 17-Nov. 25
      Dec. 6-Dec. 23
      Dec. 26-Jan. 27
      Youth Hunt: Feb. 2-3
      The late migratory bird season dates will be approved at the August commission meeting.

Early migratory bird season dates:

Mourning Dove and Eurasian Collared Dove
      Sept. 1-Oct. 25 and Dec. 26-Jan. 9
Teal Season                  
      Sept. 8-23
Rail Season                  
      Sept. 8-Nov. 16
Woodcock Season                  
      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                  
      Sept. 1-15
Northwest Canada Goose Zone Season                  
      Sept. 22-Oct. 1

Goad also presented the Commission with a proposed plan to remove permanent blinds on St. Francis Sunken Lands and Big Lake wildlife management areas in northeast Arkansas. The commission will vote on the blind removal proposal at its August meeting. Each person claiming a blind and would like to remove it, will be required to secure a blind removal permit. The permit will allow for specific vehicles and equipment to be utilized in the removal process. The proposed permit states that no habitat degradation will be allowed. If approved in August, blind removal could begin Sept. 1 and end Oct. 14. On Oct. 15, AGFC personnel will remove all remaining blinds.

There are 128 blinds on St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA and 98 blinds on Big Lake WMA.

Goad also presented the commission with other recommended proposals on the state's public hunting land.

      • Allowing all day hunting on Corps of Engineers land outside Lloyd Millwood Greentree                 Reservoir in the Lake  
        Nimrod WMA.

      • Prohibiting surface-drive motors of more than 36 horsepower on the state's WMAs.

      • Increase the non-resident Arkansas Waterfowl Stamp from $20 to $35 and the non-                  resident five-day WMA waterfowl hunting permit from $10 to $25.

      • Allow all day waterfowl hunting on private land inside the levee of St. Francis Sunken                  Lands WMA during waterfowl season. The proposal excludes inholdings in the WMA.

In other business, the Commission:

      *Approved grants of youth elk hunting permits (either sex) for the October-November                   season – one to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation and one to the Arkansas Wildlife         Federation – for fundraising purposes.

      *Proposed adding Texas to the Carcass Importation Restriction list. If approved, carcasses           from any cervid (deer, elk, moose, red deer, etc.) originating from Texas may not enter              Arkansas unless certain disease prevention measures are taken. These measures include          clean skulls or skull plates and meat must be deboned. Texas recently discovered two mule        deer that tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. There are currently 18 states and            Canadian provinces that are on Arkansas's importation restriction list.

      *Heard the first reading of the proposed fishing regulations for 2013.

      *Honored three individuals with the Campbell Award. The Campbell Award originated with           former Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner Craig Campbell to honor his grandfather,            also a former AGFC commissioner, and his father, a great outdoorsman. The three                      employees were: Stephen R. O'Neal, a Stream Team Coordinator in the Fisheries Division            who has 13 years with the AGFC; Mikki L. Moore, an Administrative Specialist II in the                  Operations Division, who has been with the agency for just over seven years and Michael          W. Neal, an AGFC Wildlife Officer, who has been with the AGFC for almost five years.

After the commission meeting, commissioners met with legislators at the state capitol                 during the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission Oversight Committee meeting.