AGFC considering broad slate of new regulations

Posted: March 19, 2017 at 2:32 a.m.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard 64 new hunting regulations proposals for the 2017-18 seasons during its monthly work meeting in Little Rock.

The commission will vote on the proposals in June.

These are the most prominent proposals:

• Proposal 29 will affect the most people. It will allow hunters to affix any kind of tag or paper with appropriate information to legally harvested deer, bear or turkey. The AGFC's new license system and electronic license eliminate the need to use tags attached to paper licenses.

• Proposal 30 will require hunters to check deer, bear and turkey within 12 hours instead of 24 hours.

• Proposal 33 will prohibit adults that are mentoring youths during special youth hunts from possessing a firearm or archery equipment.

The rest of the proposals are in numerical order.

• Proposal 1 will eliminate the "Sweet 16" category for wildlife management areas and eliminate the Sweet 16 permit currently required to use those WMAs.

Instead, the public will be required to possess a General Use WMA permit to hunt or trap on any WMA. The permit will be designated on hunting licenses and will not require hunters to carry a separate permit.

• Proposal 2 will eliminate buck antler restrictions at Madison County WMA and Lee Creek WMA. Chronic wasting disease has been documented in deer at Madison County WMA. Removing antler restrictions will allow hunters to remove any potentially infected buck and minimize the spread of CWD. Removing antler restrictions at Lee Creek WMA will make the definition of a legal buck consistent with that in the Ozark National Forest, which contains portions of Lee Creek WMA.

• Proposal 6 will change the modern gun bear seasons in Bear Zones 1 and 2 to open concurrently with the statewide modern gun deer season, which is the second Saturday in November. The proposed modern gun bear seasons in Zones 1-2 is Nov. 11-30.

• Proposal 7 will change the Bear Zone 1 quota to a season-based quota instead of a time-based quota. The quotas will be 205 bears for archery season and 45 bears each for muzzleloader and modern gun seasons.

• Proposal 10 will allow hunters to kill hogs with archery equipment on most WMAs and NWRs from Nov. 1-Dec. 31 while an archery bear, deer or elk season is open.

• Proposal 14 will exempt anyone hunting raccoons, opossums or bobcats at night from having to wear hunter orange clothing.

• Proposal 16 removes the requirement for AGFC employees to personally attach tags to bobcat and otter pelts. Trappers will be able to assist AGFC employees in tagging their pelts.

• Proposal 16 clarifies that it is legal to use bait for trapping on public and private land. Using bait for hunting will still be allowed only on private land.

• Proposal 19 defines archery equipment as crossbow, compound bow, longbow and recurve bow.

• Proposals 26-27 are related. The first will increase the cost of a wildlife dealer/breeder permit from $50 to $75, and increase the price of a Game Bird Shooting Resort Permit from $150 to $250. No. 27 eliminates the Special Commercial Quail Permit because it is redundant.

• Proposal 32 clarifies that hunters who are not mentoring youths during special youth deer hunting seasons may harvest deer during the archery/crossbow deer season.

• Proposal 34 limits the number of dogs to four that any person or group of people in a single vehicle may have at Camp Robinson Pepper's Pond Special Use Area after 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. This regulation attempts to give nonprofessional dog owners equal opportunity to train their retrieving dogs.

• Proposal 41 will ban motorized decoys on all AGFC-owned WMAs and lakes, including during the early teal season and the youth waterfowl season.

Sports on 03/19/2017