Have you heard what the Arkansas Game and Fish commission is thinking about for hunting changes next season?
The people in charge tell us that these are discussion items, not for-sure proposals. The annual public meetings concerning the state’s hunting seasons have passed, but there’s still time to send any comments or concerns to the Game and Fish Commission.
A handy route for many of us is to do an online survey: Go to
Here are the items of discussion:
• Change the checking time from 24 to 12 hours for bear, deer and turkey.
• All cervid (deer family) carcasses entering the state must follow cervid carcass importation restrictions. This will include all states, Canadian provinces and countries not currently listed in the code.
• Implement 12-inch inside spread or 15-inch main beam length antler restriction on Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc, Hope Upland, McIlroy Madison County, Scott Henderson Gulf Mountain and Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMAs.
• Implement 15-inch inside spread or 18-inch main beam length antler restriction on Dave Donaldson Black River WMA.
• Change the WMA deer permit process from two drawings to one and extend the payment period from two to four weeks. Permits not paid for will be available for purchase online.
• Include Deer Zone 3 in the private lands antlerless only modern gun deer hunt.
• Modify boundaries of Deer Zones 11 and 13.
• Allow the taking of one doe in Deer Zone 11 for the entire muzzleloader and modern gun seasons.
• Prohibit mentors from carrying firearms for their hunting purposes during any youth hunt.
• Re-instate the bear quota for Zone 2 of 150 (125 for October and 25 for November).
• Move the opening day of bear archery season in Bear Zone 2 from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.
• Allow squirrel hunting with dogs except for the first nine days of modern gun deer season on Ozark National Forest, Piney Creeks and White Rock WMAs.
Written comments may be mailed by Feb. 28 to the AGFC, Attn: Hunting Regulations Proposals, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, AR 72205.
OK, some of these may make sense to you and some may not, depending on what you hunt and where you hunt. It is good to know what is being considered.
That one about mentors carrying firearms during youth hunts stems from some folks cheating. A daddy on a youth deer hunt may claim he had that .223 rifle in case a coyote showed up. Just go unarmed and let the kids do the shooting.
Notable, at least to this writer, is no changes in the overall deer limits are listed.
An all-time record has been set in the number of deer checked by hunter, and the statewide limit for the last two seasons has been six.
We’ve got plenty of deer in Arkansas – not in all locations, of course. More does, female deer, are being taken by hunters than in times past, and this is getting the buck-doe ratio closer to a favorable status, the wildlife biologists tell us.
Do that survey. It will make your voice heard, make you a participant in this regulation setting process even if the rules don’t come out like you want.