Commission Votes Down Deer Hunt with Dogs

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Commissioners from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today unanimously voted down a proposal that would have required permits for hunters who want to use dogs during the upcoming deer season in parts of northern Arkansas. The proposal was similar, but on a much smaller scale, to a proposal last year that also failed to gain approval by the Commission.

The proposal considered by the Commission included a deer dog permit zone in the Ozark National Forest and private lands in southern and southwestern Newton County as well as very small portions of Madison, Johnson and Pope counties. Rep. Roy Ragland of Marshall asked that the Commission revisit the issue of allowing deer hunting with dogs before last year's vote. He returned again this year to ask that they revisit the issue on a small scale.

In other business, the commission:

*Increased the non-resident annual all game hunting license from $225 to $300 and a $25 increase on the 5-day non resident all game license. The 5-day license will now cost $150. The effective date of the increase will be May 22, 2006. Complaints from Arkansas residents about high license fees for hunting in border states was one of the reasons behind the increased license fees.

*Approved a proclamation by Gov. Mike Huckabee to start free fishing weekend at noon, June 9, and to end at midnight, June 11. Licenses will not be required for fishing in Arkansas during that period.

*Approved a ban on the importation of waterfowl into the state to reduce the state's potential risk for avian influenza.

*Approved boundary revisions in deer zones 12 and 14. Zone 12 will now extend from Saratoga to Fulton along Highway 355 in Hempstead County. The modification will allow a more suitable deer season and bag limit on approximately 24,000 acres in southwest Arkansas.

*Approved a recommendation to adopt a two legal buck bag limit for deer zones 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 10. The buck bag limit would also be two in Cherokee Prairie Natural Area, Dardanelle, Fort Chaffee, Frog Bayou, Galla Creek, H.E. Flanagan Prairie Natural Area, Mount Magazine, Nimrod Lloyd Millwood, Ozark Lake, Petit Jean River and Rainey wildlife management areas.

*Approved creation of DeGray Lake Wildlife Management Area in southwest Arkansas. The AGFC and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been cooperatively managing the area for a number of years.

*Approved naming the new Bull Shoals Nursery Pond after Dr. Ralph Bowers and Tommy Donoho. The two were instrumental in obtaining Congressional support for the construction of the nursery pond.