Arkansas GFC Cancels Hunts at Fort Chaffee

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Permit deer hunts scheduled for Fort Chaffee Wildlife Management Area have been cancelled because of training exercises scheduled to take place at the military base in Sebastian and Franklin counties.

The modern-gun permit deer hunt on Nov. 17-18 and the muzzleloader permit hunt on Nov. 24-25 will not be held. Hunters who won permits through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's permit draw will receive refunds for permit fees.

The 39th Infantry Brigade of the Arkansas Army National Guard will be using Fort Chaffee for training exercises during the months of October, November and December. The brigade is preparing for a deployment to Iraq in early 2008.

"The military mission of the Arkansas Army National Guard always receives top priority," said Randall Bullington, AGFC Region 7 Wildlife Management Division Supervisor. "Unfortunately, no alternate dates are available for these permit hunts. We have a great working relationship with the National Guard. The post commander and the Guard have made many hunting opportunities available to the sportsmen of Arkansas. We certainly understand the need to utilize the base for training purposes, and we support the mission of the Army National Guard."

In the coming weeks, the AGFC will mail refunds to all hunters who won permits and paid permit fees for the cancelled hunts.

"We have a database of all the hunters who will be affected, so anyone that won a permit and bought the permit can expect a refund," said Ricky Chastain, AGFC Assistant Chief of the Wildlife Management Division.

The training exercises at Fort Chaffee may significantly limit access to the base for other types of hunting, including small-game hunting and archery deer hunting. For much of October, November and December, access to Fort Chaffee will be restricted or closed as the 39th Infantry Brigade trains in advance of its Iraq deployment.