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Along with the turkey hunting regulations we covered Sunday, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is also considering new deer hunting regulations for 2020.

Some new regulations will simplify the Game and Fish Wildlife Code by reducing the number of deer management zones by way of condensation. Multiple zones in the same deer management units that have identical season dates and bag limits will be combined into single zones.

• The first proposal will combine deer zones 1A, 6 and 6A into a single Zone 6. These zones are in the Ozarks, and most of the areas are mostly or completely within the chronic disease management zone.

• A similar proposal will combine zones 8 and 8A, which are in the Arkansas River Valley, into a single Zone 8. About half of these zones are in the CWD management zone.

• A similar proposal will combine zones 4 and 4B, which are in the Mississippi River Alluvial Valley, into a single Zone 4. Currently, Zone 4 has a two-day modern gun season. That area will align with the more liberal regulations of Zone 4B, which has nine consecutive days of modern gun hunting.

• A similar recommendation will combine zones 5 and 5B, which are on Crowley's Ridge, into a single Zone 5. Currently, Zone 5 has four days of modern gun hunting divided into two, two-day seasons. That area will align with Zone 5B, which has nine consecutive days of modern gun hunting.

• The wildlife management division has proposed increasing the annual bag limits for zones 3, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10, 11 and 13 from four deer to five. The bag limit for antlered bucks will remain at two, and three antlerless. This will simplify regulations for zones that lie partly within and without the CWD management zone.

Removing antler point restrictions and restricting baiting and feeding would still apply on the county level in terms of CWD management protocols.

• Conversely, another regulation would reduce the aggregate bag limit in zones 12 and 17 from six deer to five. The Game and Fish Commission's wording in its justification is murky, but the core point is that most hunters (73.3 percent) kill only one doe. Since so few hunters take advantage of the liberal limits in these zones, the AGFC wants to reduce their bag limits to standardize regulations with the rest of the state.

Additional proposals will create a slate of new hunt opportunities across the state, including:

• A new controlled muzzleloader deer hunt at Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area in Faulkner County. Ten permits will be issued to offset the reduction of acreage at Camp Robinson WMA.

• A new, two-day mobility impaired hunt for deer and black bear at Bearcat Hollow WMA for the first weekend in October.

• Youth deer hunts at 18 WMAs, including Bell Slough, Benston Creek Natural Area, Cattail Marsh, Cutoff Creek, Bois d'Arc, Bayou DeView, Ethel, Bayou Meto, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake, Madison County, Rex Hancock Black Swamp, Ring Slough, Mud Creek, Gulf Mountain, Dagmar, Two Bayou Creek, Village Creek and Whitehall.

• Increase the number of days that hunters may kill on Piney Creeks and Sylamore WMAs. Also, only one antlerless deer may be taken during either the muzzleloader or modern gun deer season.

The bag limit on Muddy Creek and Mount Magazine WMAs will change to one antlerless deer during either the muzzleloader or modern gun season.

The AGFC said that when it issues hunters replacement tags for any CWD-positive deer, it is an antlerless tag. These tags can be filled during the muzzleloader or modern gun seasons.

These will coincide with the annual statewide modern gun youth hunt. The bag limit will be one buck with no antler restrictions.

Additional proposals concern the private lands antlerless-only modern gun deer hunt, including:

• Changing the dates from the second weekend in October to December, and reducing it from five days to three. The proposed dates are Dec. 29-31.

This proposal would also eliminate the three-day muzzleloader hunt in zones 9, 12, 13, 16, 16A and 17.

A related item stipulates that muzzleloaders and archery equipment will be legal during the private lands modern antlerless-only modern gun hunt.

Regulations concerning CWD include:

• Adding Independence County and Jackson County to the CWD management zone.

• Removing angler restrictions at Cherokee, Foushee Cave, Jamestown and Village Creek WMAs due to their proposed inclusion in the CWD management zone.

Get more hunting, fishing and outdoor news updates by following us on Twitter at @BrynoOutdoors.

Sports on 03/26/2020

Print Headline: AGFC considering 2020 deer hunting regulations

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