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story.lead_photo.caption Ducks fly over Halowell Reservoir at Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area near Stuttgart, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006. The area is part of a waterfowl habitat project by the Game and Fish commission intended to attract more ducks and improve duck hunting in the state. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission proposed a regulation to stabilize non-resident duck hunting pressure on state-owned wildlife management areas Thursday at its monthly meeting in Little Rock.

The regulation will not affect non-resident duck hunting on private land.

Commission Andrew Parker of Little Rock, chairman of the regulations committee, proposed the rule as an action item before the entire commission, which accepted the motion unanimously.

Currently, non-resident duck hunters are required to buy a non-resident WMA waterfowl hunting permit to hunt ducks on certain wildlife management areas. The permit, which is good for only one WMA at a time, currently costs $30.50. It is effective for five days, and a hunter may buy as many as six for as many as 30 days of consecutive or staggered hunting.

Under the proposed regulation, non-resident duck hunters will still be required to buy a non-resident WMA waterfowl hunting permit. Parker said there will be no cap on how many permits they can buy, enabling them to hunt multiple WMAs if they choose.

However, the proposed regulation will establish certain days when non-residents may hunt on WMAs. They will be allowed to hunt a total of 30 days, from Nov. 17-25 during the first segment of duck season, Dec. 26-Jan. 6, 2019, during the second segment, and Jan. 19-27 during the third segment.

"Since last season, members of this body have heard from sportsmen and sportswomen about overcrowding on our WMAs," Parker said. "Our current regulation was a step in the right direction, but overcrowding problems still exist."

"It's also an attempt to avoid implementing a draw system in the future," Parker said.

Commissioner Joe Morgan of Little Rock said the proposed regulation will improve the public duck hunting experience for Arkansas residents and relieve hunting pressure on the ducks that rely on WMAs for winter habitat.

"This we hope will relieve some of the overcrowding pressure, not to mention ducks getting beat up by having a gun behind every tree for 60 days," Morgan said. "Hopefully, it will restore the opportunity for everybody to enjoy a quality duck hunt."

Non-resident WMA waterfowl permits are needed only during regular duck season on the following WMAs: Bayou Meto, Bell Slough/Camp Robinson, Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita, Big Lake, Bois d'Arc, Cut-Off Creek, Dagmar, Dave Donaldson Black River, Earl Buss Bayou DeView, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Frog Bayou, Galla Creek, Harris Brake, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake, Holland Bottom, Lake Overcup, Petit Jean River, Black Swamp, Seven Devils, Shirey Bay Rainey Brake, St. Francis Sunken Lands, Raft Creek Bottoms, Sulphur River and Trusten Holder WMAs. It also is required to hunt on Lake Conway Reservoir.

The proposal will be open to public comment for 30 days. The commission will vote on it at its Sept. 19 meeting at the Janet Huckabee Nature Center in Fort Smith.

Also, the commission voted to amend existing waterfowl regulations to increase the daily limit on northern pintails from one to two, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations.

Sports on 08/17/2018

Print Headline: AGFC poses WMA duck hunting rule

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