Commission Considers 2004-2005 Deer Season

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The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is considering several options for the 2004-2005 deer season and they would like to have as much input as possible on these options from the hunting public.

AGFC director Scott Henderson said that public input is invaluable when it comes to making decisions about season lengths and bag limits. “We may think we know where hunters want to go with deer season. But, we need to hear from them to make sure we understand and to include them in the decision making process,” he said.

Buck Harvest Strategy—Statewide Legal Buck

Option 1: Four or less total points or any buck with four points on one side. (two buck bag limit). Based on 2002 biological data and simulated statewide the slot would protect 35% (7,273 deer) of yearlings with five and six points total. Slot will also protect 34% (8,600 deer) of the two and a half year old bucks with five and six points total. The slot will also protect the quality yearlings and allow the inferior quality deer to be harvested.

Option 2: The first buck killed would be a buck of the hunter’s choosing and the second buck killed must have four points on one side. Based on 1997 biological data and with the assumption that 60% of hunters only harvest one buck, only 257 deer will be protected statewide. This also takes into consideration that the bucks that need to be protected (higher quality yearlings) will be harvested.

Option 3: Three-points on one side (two buck bag limit). No change from previous years.

Option 4: Buck of choice (one buck bag limit).

“These are just items under consideration,” Henderson said. “Comments from hunters and landowners are going to be key to this process. We realize that we can’t just take a simple yes or no vote to set deer seasons and bag limits but, public involvement is critical,” he added.

“Although hunting seasons are several months off, now is the time to air your opinion about the upcoming seasons,” Henderson said. “Although hunters are more likely to comment if they don't like a proposal, it helps us gauge public opinion if hunters would also comment when they support a recommendation,” he explained.

Hunters can voice those opinions about hunting regulations and seasons at one of 11 public meetings to be held around the state on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004.

The meetings are part of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s annual hunting regulations process. They are held to give hunters and other interested parties the opportunity to make comments and proposals for the 2004-2005 hunting seasons.

Comments may be either verbal or written. Written comments may be submitted at one of the meetings or mailed to the AGFC, attn: Hunting Regulations Proposals, #2 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, Ark. 72205. The deadline for comments is Jan. 31, 2004. The information is available on the AGFC website at www.agfc.com.

The 11 meetings will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors can arrive any time during the hours of the meeting, make their comments and leave at any time. Meeting sites and telephone numbers are:

*Little Rock – AGFC Office, 2 Natural Resources Drive, 1-800-364-4263.

*Perrytown – AGFC Regional Office, 7004 Hwy 67 East, 1-877-777-5580.

*Russellville – AGFC Regional Office, 1266 Lock and Dam Rd., 1-877-967-7577.

*Calico Rock – AGFC Regional Office, Hwy 56 North, 1-877-297-4331.

*Barling – AGFC Regional Office, 8000 Taylor Avenue, Fort Smith, 1-877-478-1043.

*Hot Springs – AGFC Regional Office, 350 Fish Hatchery Road, 1-877-525-8606.

*Monticello – AGFC Regional Office, 771 Jordan, 1-877-367-3559.

*Brinkley – AGFC Regional Office, 1201 North Hwy 49, 1-877-734-4581.

*Jonesboro – AGFC Regional Office, 2920 McClellan Drive, 1-877-972-5438.

*Camden – AGFC Regional Office, near the National Guard Armory off Bradley Ferry Road, 1-877-836-4612.

*Eureka Springs – AGFC Regional Office, 455 Dam Site Road, Beaver Lake Dam, 1-866-253-2506.