AGFC Proposes Flyway-Wide Spinning Wing Decoy Ban

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be proposing a flyway-wide ban on all spinning and flapping wing decoys during the Mississippi Flyway Council meeting next week in Tunica. The council will decide at that meeting whether to adopt the AGFC's ban request for the upcoming waterfowl season.

The ban would apply to all motorized, wind-powered or mechanical spinning and flapping wing decoys, according to AGFC waterfowl program coordinator Andrew James. "The council has concerns over potential increased harvest rates and potential changes in harvest age ratios of mid-continent mallards," James said. "They're also concerned about how they might relate to a loss of future hunting opportunities as caused by the increasing widespread use of these decoys," he added.

Multiple research projects on the harvest dynamics of spinning wing decoys have been conducted in North America and many states have performed surveys investigating the frequency of the decoy's use by their hunters, James explained. "There is a need for comprehensive review of these multiple research projects and surveys that summarizes these results. This is an issue that should be addressed on a nationwide basis as opposed to a single state or flyway," he said.

In Arkansas, the decoys were banned statewide for the 2005-2006 waterfowl season. The commission banned the decoys at its October 2004 meeting. Commissioners have said in the past that the spinning and flapping wing decoys helped hunters kill more young ducks that were attracted to the wing flashes.

One other state has followed Arkansas' lead in banning the decoys, James said. "Minnesota banned the decoys on their wildlife management areas for the entire season this year. They've also banned them statewide for the first portion of their duck season," he said. “Spinning wing decoys have been the topic of much discussion since their inception in 1998. As their use spread from the Central Valley of California, so did concern over their use,” James explained.

The technical section of the council also has had concerns that spinners may negate the fair-chase aspect of hunting, James said. “We are becoming increasingly concerned about the technological advances of mechanical devices introduced each year. It is time for the waterfowl community to consider a prohibition of such technology in waterfowl attracting devices, but a thorough evaluation of research and surveys to date is needed,” James said.