Hunters Make Voices Heard at Public Meetings
It’s obvious that Arkansas hunters are enthusiastic about their sport. That was readily apparent as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission completed its public meeting schedule on proposed 2004-2005 deer season options Tuesday night.
The response was so large that there were some problems with overflow crowds at various locations around the state, according to Scott Henderson, director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do everything that we wanted and we apologize for the overcrowding we experienced at some sites. We underestimated the huge response,” he said. “We also didn’t have a uniform meeting format at all of the locations. We are going to make sure in the future, that these problems are corrected to make sure everyone has a voice in these meetings,” Henderson added.
The AGFC hosted the 11 meetings around the state in an effort to give sportsmen a voice in the annual hunting regulations process. They are held to establish opportunities to generate ideas, concerns, and alternatives on the proposals for revising the upcoming deer season bag limits and season length.
“We considered public input critical to this process,” Henderson said. “We held 11 local public meetings around the state and valuable information was gathered at those meetings. We had over 1,700 interested individuals who braved the cold weather to give us important public input on what changes they felt would benefit the management of the state’s wildlife,” Henderson explained.
Although the meetings have been completed, the public input process is not over. Written comments may still be sent to AGFC, attn: Hunting Regulations Proposals, 2 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, Ark. 72205. The deadline for comments is Jan. 31, 2004. The complete list of proposals is also available on the AGFC website at www.agfc.com/hunting/proposals_04-05.html. Comments can also be emailed to email@example.com. These comments will be sent to all the Commissioners and will be added into the final comments.
“We appreciate all of the people who came out to help us with our season setting process. It’s important that we hear from the state’s sportsmen on these and other issues. Arkansas hunters should be aware that we’ve been active in looking at a number of ways to better manage the deer population,” Henderson said. “This started with the public meetings and will continue until we have a season that will benefit both hunters and the resource,” he added.