LITTLE ROCK, AR (AGFC) - During its regular monthly meeting today, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved three annual hunting and fishing licenses for outdoorsmen 65 and older. The licenses are options, in addition to the current resident 65-plus license, for Arkansas hunters and anglers.
The new resident 65-plus fishing and hunting licenses are $3.50 each. The new resident 65-plus combination license is $4.50. They will be available July 1 at all AGFC regional offices. A 65-plus lifetime fishing license for $10.50, a 65-plus lifetime hunting license for $25 and a 65-plus lifetime combination license for $35.50 are offered by the agency and will continue with the annual licenses.
In other business, the Commission:
*Accepted a proclamation by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to start Free Fishing Weekend at noon, June 12, and end at midnight, June 14. Licenses will not be required for fishing in Arkansas during that period.
*Proposed various hunting regulations for review by the Commission. The proposals include:
· Adding language to the code that will address negligent and reckless operation of boats on wildlife management areas. If approved, there will be a one-year ban from the WMA where the violation occurred.
· Adopting state primate law into AGFC code that will allow accredited members of the Zoological Association of America to possess certain primates, provided they follow permit requirements.
· Liberalizing hunting opportunities on Camp Robinson Special Use Area. Specifically, crow, dove, rabbit and squirrel seasons would mirror the statewide seasons for those species, but hunting will not be allowed within field trial areas when field trials are scheduled. The dates of field trials are maintained on an online calendar.
· Adding Jack Mountain to the WMA system as a leased-land permit area once a long-term lease agreement for this area has been finalized.
*Approved an increase in the electronic federal duck stamp processing fee. The Federal Stamp Act of 2014 authorized an increase in the federal duck stamp from $15 to $25. The AGFC will increase the processing fee from $1 to $1.50. The new price for an electronic federal duck stamp will be $28.
*Heard a proposal for amendments to improve the agency's existing administrative hunting and fishing license suspension process. The proposed process will make AGFC code uniform and consistent with other codes. The amendments will be voted on at the June Commission meeting.
*Approved renaming Boone Pond technical pond on Camp Robinson SUA. The area will be known as Peppers Pond in memory of a dog owned by Larry McMurray,. a key player in getting the original technical pond and a second pond constructed.
*Approved a budget transfer of $1 million for miscellaneous capital equipment purchases.
*Approved a grant request and budget transfer for development of the watershed sanctuary at Cave Springs. The AGFC and the Illinois River Watershed Partnership agreed to develop the watershed sanctuary. The AGFC agreed to provide $880,000 to assist IRWP in the development of the area. At this point, the AGFC has provided about $337,200 of in-kind services and funded work. The AGFC will grant IRWP the remaining balance of about $542,770.
*Authorized the AGFC Director to enter into a long-term lease agreement with the Ross Foundation for the lease of 18,400 acres known as the Jack Mountain tract. Once the lease agreement is finalized, the property is intended to be added to the AGFC's leased land program as Jack Mountain WMA.
*Approved the acquisition of 899 acres adjacent to Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA in White County. The AGFC will use funding from two approved North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants to purchase the area known as the Cypert Tract. The purchase price is not to exceed appraised value of $2,023,312.50.
*Approved a budget transfer of $700,000 for the second payment for the Robinwood Tract adjacent to Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA in Prairie County. If sufficient funds are available, the AGFC also will make the third and final payment of $625,000.
*Approved a budget transfer of $130,700 to purchase web-based and electronic software for the agency's hunting and boating education programs. The software is designed to manage education events, certification data, course scheduling and publication, and to capture volunteer work hours.