We are into hunting season, and many folks probably have questions. Maybe it’s a term needing clarified.
Asking your buddy is one source for an answer, but this may be chancy. A clerk at the sporting goods counter? Probably not sufficient either.
Best option is to go to the 2013-14 Hunting Guidebook of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. It is free, it is yours to take home or to deer camp to study as your convenience, and it will likely have the answers to 98 percent of the questions you come up with. Get the guidebooks at a license sales outlet or at any AGFC office.
True, you have to look for the answers and maybe in more than one place in the book. Have patience, be resourceful and read carefully. Those answers, nearly all of them, are in the book.
“I heard.” We all use this phrase sometimes. With some reading of the Hunting Guidebook, you can confirm or refute what you may have heard on the street, in the coffee shop or even in camp with your buddies.
“Nobody told me.” This excuse won’t be worth a hill of beans as an alibi to a wildlife officer if you have violated a regulation. Make sure you know the rules for the type of hunting where you want to go in action before you pull a trigger.
“They did it last year.” Maybe so, but rules can change from one hunting season to the next. Page 4 in the current Hunting Guidebook has a summary of the rule changes put into effect since last year.
If someone invites you to a hunt in an area away from your home grounds, check the guidebook. This can save headaches later.
Remember that in deer hunting, wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges are each a zone to itself with rules that may be different from the zone surrounding them.
Those wild hogs
Every hunting season questions come forth like “Can I kill a feral hog in Zone 37?” Or, “What is the limit on feral hogs?” A quick answer to these and other hog questions is that feral hogs are not game animals and are not regulated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Feral or wild hogs are nuisances, extremely destructive to wildlife and are not wanted. Persons who release hogs into the wild are subject to arrest and stiff penalties.
The AGFC says, “We try to eradicate feral hogs from our wildlife management areas and encourages private landowners to kill all free-ranging feral hogs on their property.
“On private land, feral hogs may be killed or trapped year-round, day or night, by a landowner or anyone with the landowner’s permission (except anyone who has had his or her hunting license revoked). All general regulations for hunting safety should be observed.
“The AGFC encourages hunters to shoot all feral hogs they see on WMAs. Hunters may kill feral hogs on WMAs during daylight hours during any open hunting season as long as they are using a weapon legal for that season. Only permit holders may hunt feral hogs during special permit hunts. Feral hogs killed on WMAs can be taken for processing or left where they were shot. Hunters may not use dogs, bait or traps to hunt feral hogs on WMAs and may not hunt at night.”