NEWS & EVENTS

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Commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission last week received a briefing last week on the public response from hunting regulations the agency proposed. The AGFC provided an online survey this year for public input and more than 6,000 people responded to the survey.
 
Some of the proposals being considered for the 2014-15 season are:
 
• Adding a doe to the firearms bag limit in Deer Zones 2, 3, 6, 6A, 8, 8A and 10.
• Allowing captive wildlife, excluding cervids, which originate within Arkansas and leave the state for less than 30 days, to re-enter the state without the need for a veterinary examination.
• Allowing AGFC to immediately relocate wildlife being given improper care by rehabilitators, such as being kept in inhumane or in unhealthy conditions. Prohibit possession of native wildlife pets by rehabilitators except under certain conditions.
• Increasing the raccoon hunting bag limit to unlimited for the entire season for public and private lands.
• Adding a deer modern gun (restricted to shotgun/muzzleloader) permit hunt (10 permits) from Nov. 8-12, 2014 with a two deer limit; one buck (3-point rule applies) and one doe on Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA.
• Moving the deer modern gun youth permit hunt to the weekend before the statewide November youth hunt (Oct. 25-26, 2014) on Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA.
• Making it illegal to discharge or possess fireworks on Commission-owned or controlled property.
• Establishing turkey permit hunts (three weekends) on Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA.
• Establishing turkey permit hunts (three weekends) on Galla Creek WMA.
• Establishing a five day muzzleloader deer permit hunt for Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA.
• Changing the minimum antler criteria on Lafayette County WMA from the Four-Point rule to a 12-inch inside spread or 15-inch main beam rule.
• Moving the modern gun deer hunt a week later (Nov. 1-5) on Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA.
• Adding Lake Greeson (excluding mobility impaired hunters hunting during the mobility-impaired permit hunt) and Howard County WMAs into the leased land permit system requiring a leased land permit ($40).
• Removing the hunter education requirement for youth hunters 6-15 years of age participating in WMA permit hunts.
• Allowing the harvest of feral hogs only during bear, deer and elk firearms seasons on certain WMAs to allow some taking of nuisance feral hogs without promoting the recreational hunting of feral hogs on Commission-controlled property.
• Prohibiting the harvest of feral hogs at any time on certain WMAs where feral hog populations do not currently exist.
• Closing all hunting seasons from Jan. 5-March 31, 2015, and prohibit horses and mules from Feb. 1- March 31, 2015 on Harold E. Alexander Spring River WMA to conduct intensive feral hog trapping efforts. 

The Commission will vote on the hunting regulation proposals at its April 17 meeting. 

 
NO CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE FOUND IN ARKANSAS DEER
 
No CWD has been found in Arkansas’s deer herd.
 
That’s the bottom line of a report from the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory which did extensive analyses for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on a set of samples submitted during the 2013 sampling period.
 
Chronic wasting disease is a neurological malady with no cure. It is fatal in deer and elk. CWD has taken heavy tolls on deer in a number of other states but has not appeared in Arkansas.
 
Cory Gray, deer program coordinator for the AGFC, said, “This report is really good news for us. Some people may not understand why we have strict regulations concerning the importation of live cervids and certain parts of carcasses into Arkansas from other states, but our intent is to maintain a healthy, disease free deer herd.”
 
The deer tested were from animals taken by hunters, inside captive enclosures, sick or emaciated, and from deer-vehicle collisions. The deer came from all parts of Arkansas.
 
Gray added, “We had another good season for deer hunting in Arkansas and came close to matching the previous year’s all-time record. But this report of no CWD is even more satisfying to us as deer managers. Other positive aspect is the cooperation we are getting from hunters in our campaign to keep out CWD. Biologists and hunters have a common interest – a healthy, productive, sustainable deer herd.” 

2014 ARKANSAS BIG BUCK CLASSIC RESULTS

OVERALL TOP 10
1.   Ryan Sullivan     Burdette     Mississippi County     121 1/8 non-typ bowkill
2.   Scott May     Parkin     Cross County     205 7/8 non-typ gun kill
3.   Phillip Norton     McCrory     Woodruff County     165 6/8 typ muzzleloader kill
4.   Sean Warmack     Springdale     Benton County     165 1/8 typ muzzleloader kill
5.   Cooper Cannon     West Helena     Phillips County     164 7/8 typ gun kill
6.   Jarrod Hart     Benton     Randolph County     189 5/8 non-typ gun kill
7.   Jim Shempert     Marion     St. Francis County     164 5/8 typ gun kill
8.   Clay Eifling     Dumas     Lincoln County     189 4/8 non-typ gun kill
9.   Kagan Walls     England     Jefferson County     162 2/8 typ gun kill
10. Blake Robbins     Helena     Phillips County     161 5/8 typ bowkill

MODERN GUN DIVISION
NON-TYPICALS
1.  Scott May     Parkin     Cross County     205 7/8 non-typical
2.  Jarrod Hart     Benton     Randolph County     189 5/8 non-typical
3.  Clay Eifling     Dumas     Lincoln County     189 4/8 non-typical
4.  Stanley Chastain     Holly Grove    Monroe County     173 5/8 non-typical
5.  Randy Baxter     Ward     Lonoke County     170 3/8 non-typical
BOW DIVISION
NON-TYPICALS
1.  Ryan Sullivan     Burdette     Mississippi County     212 1/8 non-typical
2.  Kirk Harris     Marion     Crittenden County     184 1/8 non-typical
3.  Lance Hill     Dumas     Desha County     166 6/8 non-typical
4.  Jacob Carroll     Searcy     White County     165 2/8 non-typical
TYPICALS
1.  Blake Robbins     Helena     Phillips County     161 5/8 typical
2.  Byron Pinegar     Marianna     Lee County     161 1/8 typical
3.  Randy Pearson     Forrest City     St. Francis County     156 6/8 typical
4.  Daniel Hill     Dumas     Lincoln County     156 6/8 typical
5.  Charles Dodson     Little Rock     Sharp County     152 7/8 typical

MUZZLELOADER DIVISION
NON-TYPICALS
1.  Seth Tucker     Concord     Cleburne County     168 7/8 non-typical
2.  Daniel Sheffer     Brinkley     Prairie County     167 5/8 non-typical
3.  Zack Abernathy     Parks     Montgomery County     161 5/8 non-typical
4.  Frank Hulett     North Little Rock     Pulaski County     157 7/8 non-typical
TYPICALS
1.  Phillip Norton     McCrory     Woodruff County     165 6/8 typical
2.  Sean Warmack     Springdale     Benton County     165 1/8 typical
3.  Donald Clements     Cabot     Monroe County     151 0/8 typical
4.  Alan Abbott     Hot Springs     Garland County     146 7/8 typical
5.  Jason Smith     Hot Springs     Garland County     145 6/8 typical

YOUTH DIVISION
NON-TYPICALS
1.  Kane O'Neil     Murfreesboro     Pike County     166 5/8 non-typical
2.  Buck Horton     White Hall     Jefferson County     156 3/8 non-typical
3.  Jacob Paddie     Little Rock     Jefferson County     149 3/8 non-typical
4.  John Hannah     Rosebud     Cleburne County     129 6/8 non-typical
5.  Monty Lee     Conway     Prairie County     127 7/8 non-typical
TYPICALS
1.  Cooper Cannon     West Helena     Phillips County     164 7/8 typical
2.  Brent Price     West Memphis     Monroe County     154 6/8 typical
3.  Zoe Gasaway     DeWitt     Arkansas County     152 0/8 typical
4.  Evan Lamb     Nashville     Hempstead County     147 5/8 typical
5.  Logan Moss     Dermott     Arkansas County     143 1/8 typical
6.  Billy John Harris     Marshall     Searcy County     142 6/8 typical

WOMENS DIVISION
NON-TYPICALS
1.  Brenda Lynn     England     Pulaski County     163 5/8 non-typical
TYPICALS
1.  Kagan Walls     England     Jefferson County     162 2/8 typical
2.  Jean Mallory     Stuttgart     Newton County    144 3/8 typical
3.  Jennifer Jacks     Rison     Arkansas County     144 2/8 typical
4.  Lindsay Spivey     Little Rock     Montgomery County     144 2/8 typical
5.  Aida Minton     Forrest City    St. Francis County     137 0/8 typical

CROSSBOW DIVISION
NON-TYPICALS
1.  Eric French     Pocahontas     Lawrence County     166 5/8 non-typical
TYPICALS
1.  Brent Price     West Memphis     Monroe County     154 6/8 typical
2.  Mike McGhee     DeWitt     Arkansas County     148 6/8 typical
3.  Jack Carpenter     Alexander     Saline County     131 5/8 typical
4.  James Quick     Conway     Pulaski County     113 1/8 typical


AGFC IMPLEMENTS INTERSTATE WILDLIFE VIOLATOR PACT
 
LITTLE ROCK – Beginning July 1, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will become a part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. The Compact is an agreement between member states that recognizes suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses across state lines. Commissioners from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved the effective date for joining the Compact during last week’s monthly meeting.
 
As a member of the Compact, Arkansas will share violator information with other member states. After the effective date, the AGFC will recognize the suspension of hunting and fishing privileges from other member states. Member states will, in turn, treat Arkansas resident’s conviction for wildlife offenses as if it had occurred in their state. There are currently 39 states in the compact.
 
AGFC Director Mike Knoedl said that any person whose license privileges or rights are suspended in a member state may also be suspended in Arkansas. “This cooperative interstate effort will improve our agency’s ability to protect and manage Arkansas’s wildlife resources,” he added.
APPROVAL OF HUNTING HIGHEST SINCE 1995
 
LITTLE ROCK – A recently released nationwide scientific survey by Responsive Management shows that 79 percent of Americans 18 and older approve of hunting, up five percentage points from 74 percent in 2011. This marks the highest level of support for hunting since 1995, according to data compiled by Responsive Management.    
 
Source: Responsive Management, 2013
Source: Responsive Management, 2013  
 
Responsive Management has been tracking trends in public approval of hunting since 1995, which has remained generally consistent during this time: 73 percent in 1995, 75 percent in 2003, 78 percent in 2006, 74 percent in 2011, and now at 79 percent (see graph below). At 79 percent, approval is the highest since Responsive Management has tracked it. The reasons for this increase are still unclear, but it may be related to the recent increase in hunting and shooting participation that has occurred.    
 
Source: Responsive Management, 1995, 2003, 2006, 2011, 2013
Source: Responsive Management, 1995, 2003, 2006, 2011, 2013 
 
Since 2006, hunting participation has increased by 9 percent, according to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011. Meanwhile, shooting participation has increased by 18 percent since 2009 according to Responsive Management. Other studies on public opinion on hunting conducted by Responsive Management show that the strongest correlation with approval of hunting is knowing a hunter--over and above demographic variables or any other factor. With the increased number of hunters in the field and sport shooters at the range, it is possible that this increase is being reflected in support for hunting as well.  
 
Overall, the most recent study found that more than half of Americans strongly approve of hunting (79 percent strongly or moderately approve). At the other end of the spectrum, 12 percent disapprove (strongly or moderately) of hunting. Another 9 percent gave a neutral answer.  
 
Conducted in February 2013, the study surveyed 1,306 Americans 18 and older using random digit dialing and supplemental cell phone sampling. The sampling error is +/- 3.00 percentage points. The survey was the fifth in a series of surveys by Responsive Management to track trends in public approval of hunting.  


 
Here is the list of hunters drawn to receive a 2013 Arkansas public land elk tag. The two-segment season will be Oct. 7-11 and Oct. 28-Nov. 1. Elk hunting on private land is restricted to one zone, consisting of all private land in Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties except for a portion of Boxley Valley.
 
Public land elk permit winners:
Garrett Day, Springdale –Youth either-sex, Zone 3, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Caleb Reynolds, Camden – Zone 2 youth either-sex, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Michael Davis, Pocahontas – Zone 1 either-sex, Oct. 28-Nov. 1
Olivia Lowe, Conway – Zone 1, antlerless, Oct. 7-11 hunt
Royce Alford, Cabot – Zone 1, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Jackie Hardin, Hot Springs – Zone 1, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Bob Kissire, Hot Springs – Zone 2, either-sex, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Jerry Anderson, Berryville – Zone 2, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Paul Yoder, Everton – Zone 2, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Leer Smith, Clinton – Zone 2, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Judson Miller, Concord – Zone 2, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
James Harris, Mayflower – Zone 2, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Donald Moix, Conway – Zone 3, either-sex, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Coy Christopher, Bismarck – Zone 3, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
William Harris, Fayetteville – Zone 3, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Clayton Houston, Jonesboro – Zone 3, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Roger Shearer, Paragould – Zone 3, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Garlon Hurley, Conway – Zone 3, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Charles Speer, Little Rock – Zone 4, either-sex, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Jimmy Chandler, Malvern – Zone 4, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Chad Hall, Siloam Springs – Zone 4, antlerless, Oct. 28-Nov. 1 hunt
Billy Burleson, Lead Hill – Zone 4, antlerless, Oct. 7-11 hunt
Rodney Dodson, Fouke – Zone 1, on site either-sex, Oct. 7-11 hunt
Charles Gerhardt, Roger – Zone 2, on site antlerless, Oct. 7-11 hunt
Shane Lyerly, Jonesboro – Zone 3, on site antlerless, Oct. 7-11 hunt
Alternates:
Alternate 1 – Christopher Pry, Jonesboro
Alternate 2 – David C. Faught, Jasper
Alternate 3 – Todd Armstrong, Little Rock

AGFC AGREES TO LONG-TERM LEASE ON MAUMELLE RIVER WMA

 
The Arkansas Game and Fish commissioners have approved a long-term lease agreement with Central Arkansas Water on the Maumelle River Wildlife Management Area. Cost of the 99-year lease agreement is $1 million and includes a total of 18,861 acres in the management area. The management area would include, at the initiation of the lease, 9,861 acres in terrestrial habitat and 9,000-acre Lake Maumelle. 




The AGFC offers private landowners technical assistance and advice in managing wildlife through a statewide staff of private lands biologists. These private lands biologists offer recommendations to landowners’ on ways to improve their habitat based on the wildlife objectives of the landowner and the condition of the existing habitat. Do you want to manage and improve your land for deer, turkey, quail, rabbits, or a host of other wildlife species? Private lands biologists can tailor recommendations and a management plan to help you, the landowner to reach your wildlife management objectives.
These specialized biologists can provide a written wildlife management plan along with the most current aerial photos of a landowner’s property to include identifying where wildlife practices are recommended for installation. Here are a few examples of wildlife management practices private lands biologists can explain and help you get started improving your habitat: prescribed burning, forest-wildlife stand improvement, creating nesting, brooding and fawning cover, wildlife travel corridors, creating edge habitat, establishing and managing annual and perennial food plots and strip disking.
There are many state and federal agencies along with several private organizations that offer financial assistance to landowners to improve their lands for high priority wildlife species. These programs offer incentive or easement payments, matching cost-share payments and other financial assistance to assist landowners in the establishment of new habitat and the enhancement of existing habitat. Private lands biologists are well versed in these private lands programs and can direct landowners to appropriate programs for assistance. Private lands biologists also have a network of partner agencies and professionals to include foresters, soil conservationists, grazing specialists, and fisheries biologist they can connect you with for additional natural resource management and assistance. All of these professionals offer free technical assistance to the landowner to implement various conservation practices on private lands.
      Call 800-364-4263 to receive free assistance to improve your land for wildlife.


2013 AR SPORTSHOW BIG BUCK CONTEST RESULTS

OVERALL
1.  Mike Miller -- 215 6/8 non-typical crossbow -- Cross County

GUN CATEGORY
1.  Rhett Butler -- 194 0/8 non-typical -- Desha County
2.  Billy Graham -- 191 3/8 non-typicall -- Phillips County
3.  Brian Taylor -- 161 3/8 typical kill -- Cross County

MUZZLELOADER CATEGORY
1.  Gunner Jacobs -- 178 1/8 non-typical -- St. Francis County
2.  Michael Buford -- 177 1/8 non-typical -- Phillips County
3.  Brian Archer -- 154 3/8 typical -- Craighead County

ARCHERY CATEGORY
1.  Lance Brister -- 164 4/8 typical -- Crittenden County
2.  John Wilson -- 159 5/8 typical -- Cross County
3.  Dirk Argo -- 158 5/8 typical -- Baxter County

CROSSBOW CATEGORY
1.  Gilbert Phillips -- 155 6/8 typical -- Crittenden County
2.  Gwen Wigginton -- 173 9/0 non-typical -- Poinsett County
3.  Brent Clark -- 158 2/8 non-ty[ical -- Baxter County

WOMENS CATEGORY
1.  Cindy McDaniel -- 158 5/8 typical -- Jonesboro
2.  Angela Russell -- 139 5/8 typical -- Lee County
3.  Amanda Klipfel -- 130 1/8 typical -- Izard County

YOUTH CATEGORY
1.  Cameron Poe -- 152 2/8 typical -- St. Francis County
2.  Jaxon Harris -- 147 5/8 typical -- Stone County
3.  Meagan Posey -- 145 3/8 typical -- Desha County

SHED CATEGORY
1.  Billy Huddleston -- 107 3/8 non-typical
2.  Christin Tyson -- 87 3/8 typical
3.  Timothy Nelson -- 78 3/8 typical

OPEN CATEGORY
1.  Robert Jackson -- 211 0/8 non-typical -- Jonesboro
2.  Douglas Blevins -- 158 5/8 typical -- Paragould
3.  Scott Goad -- 157 4/8 typical - Bono

BEST OF SHOW
1.  Mike Miller -- 215 6/8 non-typical -- Marion

BEST NEW BUCK
1.  Doug Russell -- 162 5/8 non-typical -- Fullerton


2013 BIG BUCK CLASSIC RESULTS

OVERALL
1.  Mike Miller -- 215 6/8 non-typical crossbow -- Cross County
2.  Rhett Butler -- 194 0/8 non-typical gun kill -- Desha County
3.  Brian Hill -- 168 3/8 typical gun kill -- Lee County
4.  Billy Graham -- 191 3/8 non-typical gun kill -- Phillips County
5.  Jonathan Petrus -- 165 1/8 typical bowkilll -- Lincoln County
6.  Lance Brister -- 163 2/8 typical bowkill -- Crittenden County
7.  Pearson Hafer -- 160 3/8 typical gun kill -- Phillips County
8.  Ron Rossicoe -- 160 3/8 typical bowkill -- Benton County
9.  Steve Oglesby -- 160 1/8 typical gun kill -- Polk County
10.  Cole Efird -- 158 1/8 typical muzzleloader kill -- Garland County

MODERN GUN
Non-Typicals
1.  Rhett Butler -- 194 0/8 -- Desha County
2.  Billy Graham -- 191 3/8 -- Phillips County
3.  Rick Davis -- 183 1/8 -- Crawford County
4.  Russell Ledbetter -- 177 6/8 -- Clark County
5.  Bo Williams -- 177 3/8 -- Lonoke County

 Typicals
1.  Brian Hill -- 168 3/8 -- Lee County
2.  Pearson Hafer -- 160 3/8 -- Phillips County
3.  Steve Oglesby -- 160 1/8 -- Polk County
4.  Debus Coplin -- 156 0/8 -- Howard County
5.  Bryan Robinson -- 155 7/8 -- Arkansas County

BOW DIVISION
Non-Typicals
1.  Jimmy Marlette -- 182 5/8 -- Desha County
2.  Michael Minnie -- 130 6/8 -- Pulaski 

 Typicals
1.  Jonathan Petrus -- 165 1/8 -- Lincoln County
2.  Lance Brister -- 162 3/8 -- Crittenden County
3.  John Rossicoe  -- 160 3/8 -- Benton County
4.  Shane Smith -- 157 4/8 - Howard County
5.  Jacob Ayecock -- 157 1/8 -- Drew County 

CROSSBOW DIVISION
Non-Typicals
1. Mike Miller -- 215 6/8 -- Cross County
2. Gwen Wiggington -- 172 6/8 -- Poinsett County
3. Anthony Sullivan -- 155 2/8 -- Arkansas County

Typicals
1.  Gilbert Phillips -- 154 3/8 -- Crittenden County
2.  Evan Hunt -- 150 3/8 -- Scott County
3.  Gilbert Phillips -- 134 2/8 -- Crittenden County
4.  Justin White -- 109 2/8 -- Lonoke County

LADIES DIVISION
Non-Typicals
1.  Delores Clark -- 173 0/8 -- Pulaski County
Typicals
1.  Kimber Holbrook -- 152 3/8 -- Yell County
2.  Knosurer Cochran -- 148 5/8 -- St. Francis County
3.  Cindy Bullock -- 146 7/8 -- Arkansas County
4.  Ashley Mourton -- 145 3/8 -- Scott County
5.  Rochelle Johnson -- 144 1/8 -- Woodruff County

MUZZLELOADER DIVISION
Non-Typicals 
1.  Gunner Jacobs -- 178 1/8 -- St. Francis County
2.  Michael Buford -- 177 1/8 -- Phillips County 
3.  Josh Bryant -- 159 2/8 -- Union County
4.  Janathan Boler -- 140 0/8 -- Sharp County 
5.  Frank Leasure -- 138 1/8 -- White County

 Typicals
1.  Cole Efird -- 158 1/8 -- Garland County
2.  James Simpson -- 156 0/8 -- Montgomery County 
3.  Bobby Huckaba -- 154 0/8 -- St. Francis County
4.  Justin Shackelford -- 151 2/8 -- Ouachita County
5.  Terrel Powell -- 148 2/8 -- Montgomery County

SHED DIVISION
1.  Rodney Standridge -- 80 5/8 -- Montgomery County 
2.  Rodney Putman -- 76 2/8 -- Sebastian County
3.  Kyser Taylor -- 74 6/8 -- Phillips County
4.  James Bobo -- 73 5/8 -- Howard County
5.  James Bobo -- 72 3/8 -- Howard County

 YOUTH DIVISION
Non-Typicals
1.  John Austin Nix -- Texarkana -- 145 6/8 -- Little River County
2.  Grace Windham -- Oppelo -- 128 1/8 -- Independence County


Typicals
1.  Pearson Hafer -- Hot Springs -- 160 3/8 -- Phillips County
2.  Stephen Harris -- Maumelle -- 145 5/8 -- Pulaski County
3.  Cameron Poe -- Forrest City -- 153 2/8 -- St. Francis County
4.  Austin Smith -- Beebe -- 149 7/8 -- White County
5.  Lee Hillis -- England -- 149 5/8 -- Jefferson County



DEER HARVEST RECORD SET
 
At least according to AGFC figures the 2012-13 deer harvest is the best in in the state’s history.
 
Hunters this season have checked more than 196,000 deer, surpassing the record of 194,687 set in 1999-2000. Favorable weather conditions along with increased season limits are the key factors.
 
Archery season continues through Feb. 28, and the three-day Holiday Hunt is coming up Dec. 26-28. In some deer zones, there will be a muzzleloader hunt Dec. 28-31, and a Youth Hunt is Jan. 5-6.
 
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists estimate that the state has a million or more deer. Harvest numbers have steadily increased in recent years primarily due to increased doe harvest. 
 
The second highest number of deer checked in any season prior to this one was during 2011-2012, when 192,512 were recorded. It probably should be noted that this was the first year the current tela-check system was used.
 
Hunter numbers in the Natural State have remained fairly constant in recent years. Estimates are that about 300,000 people go deer hunting annually. 


Free replacement hunting and boating education cards now available online
 

16 WMAs DESIGNATED FOR INCREASED DEER MANAGEMENT

 
16 Arkansas Game and Fish Commission-owned wildlife management areas around the state were recently designated for increased deer management.
AGFC deer biologist Cory Gray says that a free permit will be required on the 16 WMAs. “These permits will be available by Sept. 15 and can be found only on our (AGFC) website. Hunters will visit our website, enter their contact information, select the WMAs they plan to hunt, and then print their free use permit,” he says.

Gray explained that deer management on these areas will focus on both the male and female segments of the deer herd, and will target deer populations to correspond with the available habitat present. “Females will be managed to ensure a productive, balanced deer herd. The number of fawns recruited into the population annually is a crucial component in deer management,” he said.

Gray said that in buck management, there are several different ways to reach a desired outcome: limit hunter-days, limit harvest methods, reduce bag limits or apply antler restrictions. “The first three are the easiest, and certainly the most simple; however, antler restrictions have proven to be the most effective at shifting buck harvest pressure into target age classes. Using these methods, biologists are able to develop antler restriction criteria that will focus harvest on age specific bucks. This type of management will be incorporated into these areas where peak buck harvest will consist of 3½-year-olds and older.”
Each of the 16 will have a management plan outlining deer management activities. This plan will be incorporated into the area’s master plan that details all management on the property. Plans will outline harvest objectives, management strategies, and monitoring.

Data will be gathered to ensure initiated management strategies are successfully working, Gray said. “Biologists will collect a wide range of data from each of the Sweet Sixteen including: harvest totals, biological indices from harvest deer, thermal imagery surveys to provide deer density estimates, browse surveys to determine plant species diversity, abundance, and deer utilization, and summer disease monitoring to ensure parasite loads are within acceptable levels. All data collected will be analyzed to monitor management practices. Management strategies can be modified depending on data analysis results,” he said.
Harvest data and biological indices will be collected annually, but the other forms of monitoring (thermal imagery, browse surveys, and summer disease monitoring) will be collected on a three-year rotation. This schedule will result in a full comprehensive data collection from each WMA every third year. The following is a listing of the WMAs and their monitoring rotation.
Year One
Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA
Hope Upland WMA
Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA
Moro Big Pine Natural Area WMA
Bayou Meto WMA
Year Two
Freddie Black Choctaw Island Deer Research WMA
Harold E. Alexander Spring River WMA
Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA
Dr. Lester Sitzes, III Bois D'Arc WMA
Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA
Year Three
Rick Evans Grandview Prairie WMA
Scott Henderson Gulf Mountain WMA
Trusten Holder WMA
Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA
Dave Donaldson Black River WMA
McIlroy Madison County WMA

Triple Trophy Award available to deer hunters

LITTLE ROCK – A reward, in addition to personal satisfaction, awaits hunters who qualify for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Triple Trophy Award.

Hunters who qualify for the Triple Trophy Award must, within a single annual deer season, take at least one deer by each of the three legal hunting methods – modern firearms, muzzle-loading rifle or pistol, and archery/crossbow tackle. Certificates suitable for framing are given to qualifying hunters.

The program was started in the mid-1980s to encourage primitive weapons hunting. It was intended to accomplish two things – to increase the harvest of antlerless deer, and to spread out hunting pressure and reduce crowding.

Primitive weapon hunting increases antlerless harvest partly because antlerless regulations are generally less restrictive for primitive weapons seasons, and partly because hunters seem more willing to take antlerless deer with primitive weapons than with modern firearms. Harvest of antlerless deer is essential for maintaining the health of a high-density deer herd, as is present in most of Arkansas.

Applications are available from the AGFC, 501-223-6351, or online by clicking here.

 

 

Estimating a deer’s weight in the fieldEstimating a deer’s weight in the field

LITTLE ROCK – What does a deer weigh? Most hunters will overestimate when they guess.

Hunters can seldom weigh whole deer they’ve killed. Weighing most often comes after field dressing. On an average deer, field dressing removes about 22 percent of the live weight. Example: A field-dressed deer carcass that weighs 101 pounds would translate to a live deer of 130 pounds.



’Record book’ means B&C or P&Y for Arkansas deer’Record book’ means B&C or P&Y for Arkansas deer

LITTLE ROCK – If it is a nice buck that a hunter takes, someone usually comments that "it might make the record book."

There are two record books – Boone and Crockett for gun hunting and Pope and Young for archery hunting. "State record" for whitetail deer means listings in these two books.

Symmetry is the big thing in antler scoring. This means that one side of the antlers should look just like the other side. If it doesn’t, inches are deducted. Whitetail deer are put in two classifications, typical and non-typical. A typical rack means the points and tines are growing upward. It’s non-typical when there are tines growing downward or at odd angles and when there is noticeable palmation (space between points filled in).

All the measuring is in inches, and the final figure for both Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young is a sum of these measurements. The number of points isn’t scored. But the more points on an antler, the more there is to measure.

The old axiom "if you can get a ring on it, it counts as a point" is false. The rules for measuring a point are (1) it must be at least one inch long and (2) its length must be greater than its width at the base.

Boone and Crockett minimums are 170 points for typical racks and 195 points for non-typicals. A rack surpassing these figures will make it into the record book. But racks which fall a little short may be eligible for Boone and Crockett’s annual awards program; this has minimums of 160 points for typical racks, 185 for non-typicals. An instructional sheet for measurements can be obtained by phoning the Game and Fish Commission’s Wildlife Management Division office at 501- 223-6359.

The required measurements: tip-to-tip spread, greatest spread, inside spread, total length of all abnormal points, length of main beam, length of each point, circumferences of main beam at (1) base, (2) between first and second point (3) between second and third point and (4) between third and fourth point, if present. If the matching points are different in length and circumference, the difference is subtracted from the total.

The measurers use steel tapes for their work. If a hunter has a rack that has been rough scored and found to meet the minimums, one of several official Boone and Crockett measurers in Arkansas can be contacted.



COMMISSION APPROVES RESIDENT LIFETIME MILITARY LICENSES

 

During their May 19 meeting the commissioners of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved several new resident military retiree and resident disabled military veteran licenses and permits. The new licenses will be available beginning July 1.

 

The new licenses range in price from a $35.50 lifetime combination license down to a $5 lifetime trout stamp. Military retirees that are at least 60 years of age and a resident of Arkansas are eligible for the resident military retiree lifetime license and permits. Arkansas residents who are totally disabled military veterans qualify for the resident disabled military veteran licenses and permits.

 



AGFC Forms 'Advisory Committee' To Aid With Deer Management Plan

LITTLE ROCK – Deer management in Arkansas is a broad topic that generates a lot of passion among the deer hunting community. To address the issues involved in deer management, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has formed three statewide Deer Management Advisory Groups.

The AGFC has divided Arkansas into three sections, based on physiographic characteristics, for this project. Three three sections are: (1) Ozark Mountains, Arkansas River Valley and Ouachita Mountains, (2) Gulf Coastal Plan – south Arkansas, and (3) Delta and Crowley’s Ridge.

The groups represent diverse interests and backgrounds. They have been assembled by the AGFC to provide assistance in a new deer management plan for Arkansas. The goal is ideas and suggestions from the hunters, representing Arkansas’ public, to be incorporated with wildlife biology essentials into a new Arkansas deer management plan.

Another new concept is the AGFC’s use of an outside facilitator company to help with the administering of the advisory group activities and public scoping meetings. On hand for the three meetings were Tommy Shropshire of Mississippi and Spencer Amend of Wyoming. Both were emphatic that their role was to help handle the meetings and the flow of information and ideas but not to contribute their input into the Arkansas deer plan. Shropshire is retired from a 30-year career with the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission, most as its chief finance officer. The new deer management plan will provide goals and direction pertaining to  hunting seasons and regulations. The final decision on seasons and regulations will remain with AGFC commissioners.



Commissioner addresses concerns over sightings of mountain lions

LITTLE ROCK – Recent reports of alleged sightings have brought to light the issue of mountain lions in Arkansas. During today's monthly meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, chairman Sheffield Nelson responded to those reports, pointing out that people can defend themselves if they feel they are in eminent danger from an animal.

Nelson said that people shouldn't be afraid to go out into the wilds of Arkansas for fear of being attacked by a mountain lion. "People should know that if they feel that they are in danger, they can kill an animal to protect themselves," he said. "I don't want people to be afraid to deer hunt because someone has released an animal into the wild," he added.

Mountain lions were historically present throughout Arkansas until their apparent eradication, which occurred by about 1920. Since that time efforts have been made to determine the existence of this animal in Arkansas.

There is no evidence that there is a wild, reproducing population of mountain lions in Arkansas, but it is probable that there are a few free-ranging mountain lions that are most likely either escaped or released pets rather than remnants of the state's original mountain lion population. In order to reduce the chance of escapes happening in the future, the Commission passed regulations last year requiring owners of pet mountain lions to obtain permits and meet minimum caging standards in order to keep their animals.


Ivory-billed Woodpecker search ends in Arkansas
BRINKLEY - There were teasing glimpses and tantalizing sounds, but the 2005-2006 search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the Big Woods of Arkansas has concluded without a definitive visual documentation.  The search, led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with support from Audubon Arkansas, stretched from November through April when ivory-bill activity would be highest and a lack of leaf-cover permitted clear views through the dense forest. The search included 22 full-time searchers and state-of-the-art acoustic and video monitoring technology. To supplement the full-time effort, volunteer groups of 14 spent two weeks at a time helping to search the 550,000-acre area focused on the Cache and White River National Wildlife Refuges.

Remote microphones and cameras collected thousands of hours of recordings that will be reviewed by scientists at the Lab of Ornithology through a process aided by sophisticated sound-analysis software. In addition, on a number of occasions searchers heard possible ivory-bill “kent” calls and the bird’s distinctive double-rap drumming display. Other searchers glimpsed birds that could have been ivory-bills, but the fleeting nature of the encounters made it impossible to note field marks that would have made these “confirmed” sightings.

A final report on the 2005-06 ivory-bill search will be issued later this summer.

Commission approves permanent ban on carcass importation
LITTLE ROCK - The potential effects of chronic wasting disease to Arkansas' deer population compelled the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to make permanent a ban on the importation of cervid carcasses. The permanent ban was adopted at today's monthly commission meeting.

An emergency ban had been in place since October, but would have expired in February 2006 if the ban had not been permanent. In 2002, the AGFC passed a similar law making it illegal to import, ship, transport or carry into the state, by any means, any live member of the cervid family, including but not limited to white-tailed deer and elk.

The new ban makes it unlawful to import or possess in Arkansas a cervid carcass or carcass part from any area, as proclaimed by the AGFC, that has a known case of CWD or considered taken from a captive facility or within an enclosure.

One way that the disease can be transmitted is by infected carcasses. Twenty-three states have adopted regulations affecting the transportation of hunter-harvested cervids.

Chronic wasting disease is a nervous system disease that has been observed in deer and elk in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the two Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. The disease causes damage to portions of the animal's brain and there is no cure for the fatal disease.

There are, however, a few exceptions to the ban:

      • Meat that has the bones removed.
      • Meat that has no portions of the spinal column or head attached.
      • Antlers, antlers attached to cleaned skull plates, or cleaned skulls.
      • Cleaned teeth.
      • Finished taxidermy products.
      • Hides and tanned products.
      • Deer or elk harvested in commercial wildlife hunting resorts.

JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF AGFC IN DEER DOG SUIT

LITTLE ROCK - A long-running conflict between the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Dog Hunters Association may be coming to an end. Last week, Judge Willard Proctor ruled in favor of the AGFC in a case dealing with the agency’s decision to ban deer hunting with dogs in certain areas of the state.

The case dates back to July 2000 when the group filed suit challenging the AGFC’s regulations that expanded the area in northern and eastern Arkansas where deer hunting with dogs was prohibited. The group now has 30 days in which to file an appeal.

There have been a variety of statutes and regulations in Arkansas restricting the use of dogs for hunting deer dating back to the early 1900s. Since the early 1980s, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has prohibited hunting of deer with dogs anywhere in the state during the archery and muzzleloader deer seasons. During the past 20 years, the AGFC also has prohibited the hunting of deer with dogs during the modern gun deer season in some, but not all, of the designated deer management zones in Arkansas and in the majority of state wildlife management areas.

The zones where chasing deer with dogs is prohibited are primarily in the mountainous areas in northern Arkansas and agricultural areas with large fields and small woodlots in eastern Arkansas. In the mountains, deer have regular crossings that have been used for many years, and it’s relatively easy for a hunter or group of hunters to cut off the escape route for deer running along a particular ridge or hollow.

By contrast, deer in the heavily wooded flat areas, such as the Gulf Coastal Plain in southwest and south-central Arkansas, have much less predictable travel routes. They also have more cover and a greater choice of escape routes, including many creeks, lakes, swamps and bayous which often enable them to lose a pack of trailing dogs.

Opinion surveys commissioned by the AGFC reinforced the decision to ban hunting deer with dogs in certain regions of the state. An April 2000 telephone survey prepared by the College of Professional Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, confirmed that residents in north and east Arkansas who opposed the use of dogs in deer hunting clearly outnumbered supporters by a margin of 21 percent.

Reasons given by residents for their opposition included: the chasing and harvesting of deer with dogs is not sporting or fair; it increases the chances of trespassing on private lands; it interferes with hunting by other hunters; and it increases the chances of hunting accidents and illegal harvest of deer.

Similarly, a 1998 statewide survey conducted by a Virginia-based market research firm revealed that 62 percent of Arkansas hunters surveyed expressed displeasure with seeing dogs chasing deer. Since the 2000 amendment, expanding the area where hunting dogs are banned, there have been fewer reported problems from landowners and hunters.