LITTLE ROCK (AGFC)– The Wildlife Management Division of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission presented proposals for changes to hunting regulations for the 2016-17 seasons at the Commission's March 17 meeting. A final vote on these regulations will be made May 19.
This is the first time migratory bird regulations will be set at the same time as the rest of Arkansas's hunting regulations.
"In the past, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service set frameworks for early and late migratory bird seasons later in the year than our general hunting regulations proposals," said Luke Naylor, waterfowl program coordinator for the AGFC. "They've changed that process to combine early and late migratory birds and moved up the schedule. It lets us get the word out about waterfowl regulations with the rest of our hunting regulations, so this is the time to speak up if you're a duck or goose hunter."
Many general regulations proposals already have been circulating for public comment through the AGFC's online survey system. The addition of a few new waterfowl regulations has prompted the need to adjust that survey.
People who completed the first survey can take the new survey in its entirety or only respond to the additional waterfowl section. Any previous comments an individual posted will be combined with their comments for this survey during the review process.
"We want to make sure all hunters are aware of these proposals and have time to comment on them," said Commissioner Steve Cook, chairman of the AGFC Regulations Committee. Commissioners added two proposals to the comment forms:
1) A ban on all mechanical decoys on Commission-owned WMAs, and
2) A restriction for hunters to be off all water-inundated areas or water courses on WMAs by noon each day during duck season.
Visit www.agfc.com to view the regulations proposals and make comments. In other business, the Commission:
Formally elected Jeff Crow to succeed Mike Knoedl as AGFC Director, effective July 1, 2016.
Recognized Lauren Marshall, AGFC education specialist at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, for her recent award of Outstanding New Interpreter from the National Association of Interpretation
Granted Knoedl authority to begin acquisition of land adjacent to Frog Bayou WMA in partnership with the Trust for Public Land
Approved amendment No. 2 of the current Memorandum of Agreement between the AGFC and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission concerning the Bayou Meto Irrigation Project. The amendment will extend the term of the MOA five years. AGFC will pay ANRC a total of $1.7 million in five equal installments to assist with construction design for waterfowl management features associated with Bayou Meto WMA and the Little Bayou Meto channel.
Approved the removal of equipment and inventory with a current net book value of $536.
Approved a budget transfer of $45,000 to purchase six portable hog traps with surveillance equipment to bolster feral hog trapping efforts in the state.
Approved a budget transfer of $35,040 from unobligated Wildlife Restoration Program grant funds to purchase a 20-acre inholding within Gene Rush WMA.