GRUBBS, AR -- There hasn't been a substantial rainfall in Region 8 for quite a while. While that has a massive impact on the threat of fires in the area-- it also can be dangerous for our wild life.
The roughage along the sides of roads in region 8 is dry and brittle... not a welcoming site for animals that live here. The swamps and creeks in the area are virtually dried up leaving little to nothing for the creatures who need it.
“We're particularly concerned with the shortage of water for migratory birds but especially water fowl like ducks and geese,” said Robert Zachary of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
a concern validated because of this -- “There is a shortage of both places for people to hunt and for waterfowl habitat... habitat for ducks and geese,” said Zachary.
What affect does our winter drought condition have on the birds? “It does tend to concentrate birds in small areas of the state and because they are hunted quite heavily in areas where there are water it puts a lot of pressure on the birds to move further south to escape the hunting pressure that they are in,” said Zachary.
A move that could hurt our economy in Region 8-- which depends heavily on duck hunters coming to the area.
“Duck hunting is a strong part of our economy and I don’t know yet if the hunting pressure is really down over all but certainly that is a negative thing,” said Zachary.
Extremely dry conditions have a negative effect on all wild animals but hopefully if it rains soon those affects wont be long term.
“There is some affect on virtually all wildlife in that they have to travel further to find water especially your aquatic or semi-aquatic animals like fur bears, the beavers, the mink or raccoon,” said Zachary.
But there is a light at the end of the dry, winter tunnel we're in. The dry conditions are actually good for some of the vegetation that is usually under water for most of the year.