Approval of Proposed Hunting Regulations Delayed

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Due to changes from the previous month's hunting season regulation proposals, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today delayed formal approval of the 2005-2006 seasons. The Commission wanted to provide additional notice and opportunity for the public to comment on the changes before taking a final vote on the proposed regulations.

With the proposed changes, the Commission will be approving the hunting regulations at their April 21 meeting in Little Rock.

A sampling of proposed changes included:

*Moving the zone 13 modern gun season dates to Nov. 12-Dec. 11 and moving the zones 9 and 12 season dates to Nov. 12-Dec. 18. Muzzleloading season dates for zones 9 and 12 were also moved to Oct. 15-Oct. 23 and Dec. 30-Jan. 1. Proposed a special youth modern gun deer hunt for Nov. 5-6. The bag limit is one either sex deer with no antler restrictions during the youth hunt. The commission also proposed the opening dates of the 2006-2007 deer season for archery-Oct. 1, 2006; muzzleloader-Oct. 14, 2006 and modern gun-Nov. 11, 2006.

*Make one statewide fall squirrel season that is proposed for Sept. 10 to Feb. 28.

*Proposed that hunters who have harvested a legal buck in deer zones 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 10 or a WMA with a one legal buck bag limit would only be able to take their second legal buck of the seasonal bag limit in those deer zones, or nonpermitted WMAs, where the taking of two legal bucks is allowed. Permitted WMA deer hunts may allow hunters to harvest a second legal buck in compliance with the terms of the permits.

*Deer, bear and turkey tagging will be required immediately after taking and before moving the animal. The tag must remain on the animal until final processing and storage by the hunter.

*Increased the minimum fine for using dogs during deer season in prohibited zones. The minimum fine will now be $500, up from $100. The commission also proposed increasing the minimum fine for hunting dogs that are found not to have a collar with the owner's name, phone number and address. The minimum fine would now be $200. The commission also proposed increasing the minimum fine for hunting from a road from $100 to $500. The fine for allowing dogs to chase deer for training purposes, other than from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, while also possessing a killing device would be increased to $500.

*Changed season dates of modern gun bear season in zones 1 and 2 to Nov. 7-Nov. 30. Proposed a special youth modern gun bear hunt in zones 1 and 2 on Nov. 5-6. the bag limit is one bear to coincide with the youth deer hunt.

*Made boundary changes in deer zones 11 and 13 in west central Arkansas.

*Proposed a regulation that would make it unlawful to take or attempt to take a wild turkey while in possession of mechanical or electrical callers.

For a detailed look at all of the proposed hunting changes for the 2005-2006 hunting seasons go to and click on Hunting.

In other business, the Commission voted to create a conservation easement on 60,000 acres of private property in Calhoun and Bradley counties.

The Potlatch Corporation presently owns the property. The easement will be created in partnership between the AGFC, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Nature Conservancy and Potlatch. After the conservation easement is established, it will provide access to the public. Estimated costs of the permanent easement are approximately $350 per acre.

Commissioners were extremely excited to get a chance to manage the land for the public's use. "This is an opportunity to secure this land for eons," said Commissioner John Benjamin of Glenwood. "It will give hunters in south Arkansas a wonderful opportunity to have lands to hunt on. Commissioner Sheffield Nelson of Little Rock added, "We will have that forever. I don't remember anything like this since I've been here."