Deer and Bear Season Revisions Approved

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The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved several deer and bear hunting season revisions for 2003 at its meeting Thursday.

The statewide seasonal deer limit, set at three, will include no more than two legal bucks and no more than one doe, with the exception of bag limit restrictions on wildlife management areas.

Gun deer season for zones 4A, 5A, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 will run Nov. 8-Dec. 7. Deer muzzle-loading seasons for zones 1, 2, 3, 4A, 5A, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17 are Oct. 18-21 and Dec. 20-22. The season for zones 4 and 5 is Oct. 18-21.

Bear season for muzzle-loaders in bear zones 1 and 2 was set for Oct. 18-21.

The following deer seasons were approved at the Commission meeting in April:

Archery/Crossbow
Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 4A, 5, 5A, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 1, 2003-Feb. 15, 2004. Statewide bag limit applies. No dogs.

Gun

  • Zones 1, 2 and 3: Nov. 8-Nov. 16 and Nov. 27-Dec. 7, 2003. Legal bucks only (does may be taken by holders of zone quota doe permits). No dogs.
  • Zone 4: Nov. 8-Nov. 9, 2003. Statewide bag limit applies. No dogs.
  • Zone 5: Nov. 8-Nov. 9, 2003 and Nov. 15-Nov. 16, 2003. Statewide bag limit applies. No dogs.
  • Zones 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11: Nov. 8-Nov. 16 and Nov. 27-Dec. 7, 2003. Legal bucks only (does may be taken by holders of zone quota doe permits). Dogs allowed.
  • Zones 16A and 17: Nov. 15-Dec. 25, 2003. Statewide bag limit applies. Dogs allowed.

Proposed at Thursday’s monthly meeting was a program to offer lifetime waterfowl and trout permits to sportsmen who hold resident 65+ lifetime licenses. The lifetime trout permit would cost $5; the lifetime waterfowl permit would cost $7.

Sportsmen who hold the lifetime combination license would be eligible to purchase both the waterfowl and trout permits. A holder of the 65+ lifetime fishing license would be eligible only for the trout permit; a holder of the 65+ lifetime hunting license would be eligible to purchase only the waterfowl permit.

Holders of the resident 65+ lifetime license still would be required to purchase a federal duck stamp and register for the Harvest Information Program each year.

If approved, the permits would be available for purchase July 16 at the Little Rock office, regional offices and by mail.

Commissioners agreed that the Long Pond Access on Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area will be renamed William C. “Bill” Bridgforth/Long Pond Access to honor the former Pine Bluff commissioner. Long Pond Access is one of the most popular access points on Bayou Meto, a nationally known public waterfowl area.

Free Fishing Weekend was proclaimed by Gov. Mike Huckabee to start at noon, June 6, and to end at midnight, June 8. Licenses will not be required for fishing in Arkansas during that period.

The meeting was the first for new commissioner Sanford “Sonny” Varnell of St. Paul, who was appointed May 5 by Huckabee. He replaced Bill Ackerman of Fayetteville, who resigned. Varnell’s term will run through July 1, 2008.