Arkansas Discusses Spring Turkey Season

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Based on recommendations from the wildlife management division, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is proposing to reduce the number of days available for spring turkey season.

AGFC turkey program coordinator Mike Widner told the commission that the proposed season is part of a continuing effort to stabilize and rebuild the state's turkey population. "We recommend implementation of a long-term conservative season structure to include a shorter spring turkey season and a later opening date," Widner said. "The conservative season structure should serve to increase gobbler carryover, maximize productivity and subsequently stabilize the recent and continuing declines in turkey populations and harvest," he explained.

The AGFC wildlife management division turkey team recommended a spring season structure to open with a two-day statewide youth hunt on April 14-15. In zone 17 the youth hunt would be April 7-8. The regular season proposal was April 16-May 6 in zones 1, 2, 3, 4B, 5, 5B, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9 and 10; April 9-29 in Zone 17; April 16-29 in Zones 1A, 4, 4A, 5A and 9A.

Commissioner Freddie Black of Lake Village introduced a proposal that would move the youth hunt to Mar. 31-April 1 in zone 17 and to April 7-8 for the rest of the state. Black's proposal also called for moving the regular season to April 14-May 4 statewide with the exception of zone 17 where the season would be April 7-29.

Commissioner Sonny Varnell of St. Paul also introduced a proposal of restricting the bag limit to one turkey during the first week of the season in zones 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8.

Commissioners will formally approve the season at the agency's Oct. 19 meeting in Little Rock.