Look at that calendar. Can you believe that several hunting seasons start in six weeks or so? Squirrel season is already open.
So it’s a good thing that the third Arkansas Outdoors Expo will be here Saturday and Sunday at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds.
Not only do you get to see what is new, you get to talk to people who can tell you how to use what is new. And you can talk to people who know hunting, who know fishing and who can answer questions. We all have questions about these topics.
Several exhibits will be hands-on, like getting to drive John Deere Gators.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for kids 8 and older. Children 7 and under will get in free.
Uncle Si will be there. He’s Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty, that interesting, quirky bunch out of north Louisiana. Duck Dynasty from north Louisiana and Swamp People from south Louisiana are highly popular with many people, lots of them young folks, in our area. The two shows are on cable television.
We’ve mentioned the Robertsons before. The patriarch is Phil Robertson, who was a standout football quarterback for Louisiana Tech some time back. When Phil was a senior, a sophomore quarterback was on the bench, fellow named Terry Bradshaw.
Phil Robertson finished college and chose duck hunting over professional football. He launched the Duck Commander line of waterfowl calls and has done well, to put it mildly. This Duck Dynasty thing came forth a few years ago.
Aside from the fun and jokes and such, if you want to have some serious duck hunting conversation, these folks can oblige.
Here are some other aspects of the Arkansas Outdoors Expo from the shows leaders:
Show sponsors are John Deere and Arkansas’s Best Chevy Dealers. There will be a dirt track where show-goers can drive the Gators. There will be the third annual Arkansas Great Steak Cook-Off, the Toad Suck Open duck calling contest, a chainsaw carving demonstration, a three-dimension pop-up archery range, and a bunch of gee-whiz whitetail deer mounts.
It is not just hunting. Fishing exhibits will include fly casting and fly tying demonstrations.
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We mentioned those hunting seasons opening Sept. 1 or shortly after. To be decided later this week are the dates for dove and teal hunting as well as that early Canada goose season.
There is argument over dove opening day. Sept. 1 falls on a Sunday, and Sept. 2 and Labor Day. Federal rules will not allow opening on Saturday, Aug. 31.
So the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is looking at either the Sunday, Sept 1, opening on a Sunday or a Saturday, Sept. 7 opening. The commission has asked for hunters’ opinions, and — you guessed — there is no clear answer but plenty of yanh-yanh.
We have a lot of dove hunters in Arkansas, at least folks who go out opening day or maybe opening weekend and pop off a bunch of shotgun shells. Counting these one- or two-day dove hunters, they may rank No. 5 behind deer, turkey, duck and squirrel hunters.
The resource, meaning doves, will not be hurt by either opening day, wildlife biologists tell us, so this is another people managing situation. Yes, and that’s more difficult than managing wild critters.
Dove numbers are good over our state. Drive most any rural road, and you can confirm this.
Teal hunting isn’t getting much argument. The federals have said states can raise daily limits from four to six deal and possession limits from two daily limits to three daily limits.
Teal numbers are strong, too.