Upcoming Waterfowl Season Dates Proposed

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The mercury may be nearing the 100-degree mark in Arkansas, but today the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was talking duck hunting. Specifically, the Commission announced the proposed the waterfowl season dates for the upcoming season.

The commission received the late season migratory bird selections from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week and decided to announce the proposed dates to give duck hunters an idea of the season parameters. Again this year, hunters will be allowed 60 days to hunt ducks in Arkansas. The proposed season dates include three splits and are projected to be Nov. 19 through Dec. 4, Dec. 16 to Dec. 24 and Dec. 26 to Jan. 29, 2006.

The proposed bag limits are six ducks consisting of: four mallards (only one of which may be a hen), two wood ducks, one canvasback, two redheads, one pintail, one black duck, three mottled ducks or three scaup.

The proposed canvasback season is 30 days with a one bird bag limit, Dec. 31 to Jan. 29. The popular youth waterfowl hunt is projected to be Dec. 10-11 with bag limits the same as the regular season.

Early migratory bird season dates were approved by the Commission. The dates are: Mourning and Eurasian Collared Doves - Sept. 3-25, Oct. 8-23 and Dec. 19-Jan. 8, 2005. Daily bag limit will remain at 15, with possession limit 30. Doves are migratory game birds, so federal rules of shotguns plugged to hold no more than three shells are in effect. State and federal migratory waterfowl hunting stamps (duck stamps) are not required. There is no daily or possession limits on the Eurasian collared dove.

Virginia and sora rail - Sept. 1-Nov. 9. Daily bag limit 25; possession limit 25.

Common moorhen and purple gallinule - Sept. 1-Nov. 9. Daily bag limit 15; possession limit 30. Snipe - Nov. 1-Feb. 15. Daily bag limit eight; possession limit 16.

Woodcock - Nov. 12-Dec. 26. Daily bag limit three; possession limit six.

Teal hunting dates will be Sept. 17-25 with a daily bag limit of four of the small ducks and a possession limit of eight.

Shooting hours will again be one-half hour before sunrise until sunset for all species except teal. Teal hunting may begin at sunrise and continue until sunset.

The early season migratory bird season selections are due to the USFWS by Aug. 1 and the late migratory bird season by Sept. 1.

In other business the commission:

*Received the proposed fishing regulation changes for 2006. Some of the changes included:

· Changing the current 12-inch minimum length limit on smallmouth bass and four fish per day creel limit on the Eleven Point River to a 14-inch minimum length limit and two fish per day creel limit.

· Increasing the daily creel limit on walleye to six fish per day on Greers Ferry Lake.

· Prohibiting the sale of frogs as bait.

· Improve put-and-take fishing and quality trout management using river wide slot of 13 - 16 inches for rainbow and brown trout with a “No Bait Zone” on the Beaver Tailwaters.

· Implementing a commercial fishing season on Lake Chicot.

· Changing the sportfish regulation along the Mississippi River (and waters along its entire length in Arkansas) that would restrict anglers from possessing more than one catfish that is greater than 34 inches in length. Commercial anglers could not harvest any catfish over 34 inches from the Mississippi River. This would include channel, blue and flathead catfish.

*Approved a land exchange involving the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area. The 90-acre land swap will fill an in-holding in the WMA.

*Agreed to revisit changes in the closing and opening criteria for flood prone regions A, B, C, D, E and F.

*Announced that the Assistant Chief of Fisheries, Mike Armstrong, had been promoted to fill the vacant Chief of Fisheries position. Armstrong replaces the former chief, Mike Gibson, who was promoted to the new position of Deputy Director for Governmental Affairs for the AGFC.