During today’s monthly meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, commissioners were presented with proposals for the 2012-13 hunting seasons. Commissioners will study the proposals and make a final decision at their April meeting.
AGFC Chief of Wildlife David Goad presented the proposed changes to the Commission. “We’ve heard what the public has been saying and we’re trying to follow their input,” Goad said.
Several changes are proposed for the 2012-13 hunting season. A quick rundown of a few of the proposed changes:
Proposed season dates for the 2012-13 deer hunting season:
Archery – All zones: Sept. 15-Feb. 28.
Modern Gun - Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10 and 11: Nov. 10-Dec. 2.
Zone 4: Nov. 10-11.
Zone 5: Nov. 10-11 and Nov. 17-18.
Zones 4A, 5A, 14 and 15: Nov. 10-Dec. 9.
Zones 4B and 5B: Nov. 10-18.
Zones 9, 12 and 13: Nov. 10-Dec. 16.
Zone 16, 16A and 17: Nov. 10-Dec. 25.
Muzzleloader - Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4A, 5A, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10, 11, 14 and 15: Oct. 20-28 and Dec. 15-17.
Zones 9, 12, 13, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 20-28 and Dec. 29-31.
Zones 4, 4B, 5 and 5B: Closed.
The statewide Christmas holiday modern gun deer hunt is proposed for Dec. 26-28. Two special youth modern gun deer hunts are proposed. The first would be Nov. 3-4 and the second Jan. 5-6, 2013.
One proposed change is that 65-year-old and older hunters may still accompany youths during the youth deer hunt, but are no longer allowed to carry a weapon and hunt while accompanying the youth hunter.
A proposed antlerless only modern gun deer hunt would be held in zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 8, 8A, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A and 17 Oct. 13-17.
A proposal also was made to modify Flood Prone Zone F. The opening and closing of the zone has been based on the level of the White River at St. Charles and the Arkansas River at Lock and Dam 1. The recommended change would be to eliminate the use of the St. Charles gauge and incorporate the Graham Burke Outlet gauge. The closing reading would be 150 feet msl and the opening reading would be 148 feet msl. The Lock and Dam 1 closing would remain at 145 feet msl and opening at 143 feet msl.
The Wildlife Management Division also recommended continuing the conservative turkey season structure and proposed a later opening date in the spring of 2013. A later conservative season will result in more hens being bred earlier and heading to the next when the season opens.
In other business, the Commission:
*Approved a new code concerning non-liability for wildlife damages.
*Approved a new policy for the Conservation License Plate Scholarship Program.
*Approved a $25,000 budget increase to spot-gravel roads and parking areas on Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA.
*Approved a $10,000 budget increase to grade and gravel six access areas at Lake Atkins.
*Agreed to a land donation at Pendleton on the lower Arkansas River. The area will become a fishing tournament weigh-in facility. The facility will be known as the Lauren Gasaway Pendleton Fishing Tournament Weigh-In Center. Cost of the project is estimated at $5,000.