Arkansas 2008 Hunting Seasons Reviewed

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At the monthly meeting in Dumas, commissioners for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were presented with proposals for the 2008-2009 hunting seasons. The commission will study the proposals and make a final decision at its March 20 meeting in Little Rock.

The proposals include calendar adjustments, new codes, code revisions and code clarifications. One major proposed change is to revise the youth hunt regulation to allow holders of the 65 Plus Lifetime Hunting License that accompanies a youth, the opportunity to harvest a deer during the youth hunt.

Proposed season dates for the 2008-2009 deer hunting season:

Archery – All zones: Oct. 1 to Feb. 28.

Modern Gun - Zones 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11: Nov. 8 to Nov. 16 and Nov. 27 to Dec. 7.
Zone 4: Nov. 8 to Nov. 9.
Zone 5: Nov. 8 to Nov. 9 and Nov. 15 to Nov. 16.
Zone 4A, 5A, 13, 14 and 15: Nov. 8 to Dec. 7.
Zone 4B and 5B: Nov. 8 to Nov. 16.
Zone 9 and 12: Nov. 8 to Dec. 14.
Zone 16, 16A and 17: Nov. 8 to Dec. 25

Muzzleloader - Zones 1, 2, 3, 4A, 5A, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15: Oct. 18 to Oct. 26 and Dec. 13 to Dec. 15.
Zones 4, 4B, 5 and 5B: Closed.
Zones 9, 12, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 18 to Oct. 26 and Dec. 29 to Dec. 31.

The statewide Christmas holiday modern gun deer hunt will be Dec. 26 to 28 with the special youth modern gun deer hunt in all zones (excludes certain WMAs where a modern gun or muzzleloader permit is required to hunt) is scheduled for Nov. 1 to 2.

The commission also tentatively announced the 2009 opening dates for deer season. Archery deer season would open on Oct. 1, 2009 followed by muzzleloader season on Oct. 17, 2009 and modern gun season on Nov. 14, 2009. v

The commission also approved the Strategic White-tailed Deer Management Plan. The plan was developed to provide long-term, strategic goals using public input in conjunction with scientific wildlife management principles. The plan will be evaluated and updated on a five-year cycle. It was developed with a great deal of input from the deer hunting public, AGFC deer program coordinator Cory Gray said. "Public input was critical to this plan. We held numerous public meetings around the state to gather valuable information from hunters," Gray said.

Commission chairman Sonny Varnell said that he foresees positive changes on the horizon arising from the implementation of the plan. "I look forward to good things coming out of this plan. There will be lots of positive changes in the future," he added. The plan will go into effect beginning in March.

In other business, the commission:

  • *Approved a budget increase of just over $48,000 to complete boating access improvements, including a courtesy dock and public fishing pier, on SWEPCO Lake in Benton County.
  • *Approved a regulation opening a small portion of the White River to commercial fishing. The new regulation would open up that portion of the White River that lies between Jacksonport State Park and the confluence of the Black River. This will allow commercial fishermen easier access to the fish the Black River.
  • *Approved the renaming of the Bell Slough Nature Trail in Faulkner County. The trail will be called the Kenny Vernon Bell Slough Nature Trail in honor of the former AGFC employee who worked on the area up until his retirement in 2007. Vernon died earlier this year.