MAYFLOWER (AGFC) - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Boone Pond retriever training area at Camp Robinson Special Use Area will play host to the Super Retriever Series May 31-June 2.
The Super Retriever Series sanctions hunting retriever competitions across the country, but the May 31-June 2 event near Mayflower is part of a fund-raising effort to expand the popular Boone Pond training area at Camp Robinson SUA.
"The area has extremely high use at certain times of year," said AGFC wildlife biologist Matt Mourot. "Sometimes, there are dozens of people and retrievers using the area on a daily basis."
For the past two years, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been working with the Pin Oak Hunting Retriever Club and the Super Retriever Series to expand the highly popular retriever training area located off of Arkansas Highway 89 east of Mayflower. In 2012, the AGFC provided equipment and labor to clear an additional 25 acres adjacent to the existing training area. The retriever club has raised money and solicited in-kind donations of equipment and materials.
"A few years ago, we began to see that there was a high demand, and we felt like we needed to add to it," said Larry McMurry, a retriever trainer and member of the Pin Oak HRC. "People were pulling up and leaving because it was so crowded at times."
Working with Pin Oak HRC and other members of the state's retriever training community, the AGFC originally developed the Boone Pond training area on Camp Robinson SUA in 2000. Use of the area skyrocketed over the next decade, including the use by the Super Retriever Series for nationally televised events.
The AGFC and retriever training groups saw an opportunity to expand the area following a tornado that devastated timber near the Boone Pond training area in the spring of 2011. The Super Retriever Series was set to hold an event there shortly after the tornado struck but couldn't access the area because of an abundance of downed timber. The AGFC cleaned up the mess in time for the SRS to hold its event, and last summer the AGFC cleared additional timber and storm debris to prepare an additional 25 acres for future development.
The Pin Oak HRC, Super Retriever Series and other Arkansas retriever clubs hope to construct a training pond on the additional 25 acres and create additional opportunities for retriever training enthusiasts.