Arkansas Wants to Limit Non-Resident Waterfowl Hunters

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is proposing to limit non-resident waterfowl hunters on public lands except during specific blocks of the season.
Arkansas Wants to Limit Non-Resident Waterfowl Hunters

Arkansas has been a waterfowl destination for almost 100 years, ever since farmers noticed the first flooded greentree reservoir attracted and held scads of migrating ducks in winter.

Hunters have flocked to Arkansas each autumn and winter from around the world. Wealthy landowners created sportsmen's getaways akin to private country clubs. Joe Lunchbucket hunters leased rice fields or headed to public hunting lands. The state has been instrumental in development of numerous hunting accessories, from shotguns and ammunition to apparel, decoys and more.

Over time, the public land hunting became pretty doggone tough and cutthroat. Tales of waiting hours at boat ramps to launch, racing through the woods to spots before daylight, even fights and more weren't uncommon. And everyone knew "the feds" would bust you for game violations without a second thought for leniency.

Through all these years the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has tried to find a balance with the pressure, hunters' complaints and desires, and what's best for the waterfowl. Their latest move involves limiting non-resident hunters access to public lands during specific blocks of the season.

Here's the press release from the AGFC about the proposal:

LITTLE ROCK – Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission proposed an amendment to waterfowl hunting regulations at its meeting last Thursday to specify when non-residents can hunt waterfowl on wildlife management areas to specific blocks of dates.

If passed, the proposal would let non-residents hunt waterfowl on WMAs:

  • Nov. 17-25, 2018;
  • Dec. 26, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019, and
  • Jan. 19-27, 2019.

Nonresidents still would be required to purchase a 5-day non-resident waterfowl permit, but they would be able to purchase as many permits as they wish to ensure they were able to hunt 30 days during Arkansas’s waterfowl season.

Commissioner Andrew Parker of Little Rock voiced the proposal.

“Since the last duck season, members of this body have repeatedly heard from Arkansas sportsmen and women that it was a step in the right direction but the pressures from overcrowding on those WMAs still exist, especially on our most popular WMAs,” Parker said.

“The point of doing this is an effort to try and look for any possible way to avoid having to go to some kind of a draw system, which is something we don’t want to do.”

Commissioners proposed the amendment at the August meeting to allow time for public comment and consideration before a final vote in time to make any needed changes to the 2019 Arkansas Waterfowl Guidebook, scheduled to be published in mid-October.

The Commission will take public comments through an online survey before voting at the Sept. 20 Commission meeting in Fort Smith.

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