16 cadets begin wildlife officer training


MAYFLOWER — Sixteen cadets have begun more than 700 hours of intensive training to become wildlife officers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

The group is studying at the H.C. "Red" Morris Training Center east of Mayflower on Lake Conway. The 16 cadets were chosen from several hundred applicants. Requirements for wildlife officer cadets include college degrees or law enforcement experience.

The 16-week training course includes police fundamentals as they relate to wildlife work, training in proficiency with a variety of firearms, first aid and rescue basics, drug enforcement procedures and physical conditioning. After graduation, the wildlife officers will have state commissions as officers with full police authority, as do the other 150-plus wildlife officers of the AGFC.

Assignment of the new officers will fill several existing vacancies in the AGFC’s enforcement ranks. They will be assigned to wildlife officer positions across the state, working at first under experienced officers.

The cadets, their hometowns and their county assignments are:

Samuel Adams, Brinkley, Cross County 

Jacob Dunn; Marceline, Missouri; Benton County

Troy Faughn, Brinkley, Phillips County

Earnest Fletcher, Springdale, Sebastian County

Chris Holt, Weiner, Poinsett County

Clayton Hungate, West Fork, Logan County

Jim Pennington, Pine Bluff, Jefferson County

Dusty Kirkpatrick, Greenbrier, Pope County

Arnold Leon, Brinkley, Lee County

Robert Meyer, Forrest City, Cross County

Jeff McMullin, Imboden, Craighead County

Michael Paul, Lono, Nevada County

Tim Shaw, Mena, Yell County

James Tilley, Mountain Home, Crawford County

Jamie Whitaker, Benton, Lafayette County

Brad Young, Rison, Cleveland County


Corps of Engineers removes tires from DeGray Lake


ARKADELPHIA — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District is taking advantage of low water levels to remove tires from DeGray Lake. Tire removal began the first week of December and will last through Friday. Park rangers and volunteers have collected about 1,280 tires.

These old tires were being used as stops along the shoreline to protect boat hulls from rocks and other obstructions. DeGray Lake personnel have removed more than 1,700 tires from the lake in the last few decades.

Tires are considered to be hazardous waste and must be transported to a waste management facility. Each tire must be washed and free of mud and debris to be properly loaded and transported for proper disposal. The Corps is working with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to properly transport and dispose of the tires.

For more information, contact Renea Guin at DeGray Lake, 729 Channel Road in Arkadelphia or call 870-246-5501, ext. 4010.


Walking will pay benefits next deer season


LITTLE ROCK — Did you struggle on deer hunts this season? Did the walk in the field, the trek to your deer stand leave you short of breath? Were you tired before the hunt began?

You were among many Arkansas deer hunters who went into their game somewhat limited from a physical standpoint.

Arkansas deer hunters come in two models - prepared and unprepared.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission estimates that more than 300,000 people will be in the deer woods next fall. It’s a safe bet that large numbers of the ranks won’t have adequate preparation in scouting for deer, using their weapon and being in some reasonable form of physical condition.

The latter may be the chief reason for an unpleasant deer hunt for many.

Basic physical conditioning should be a year-round effort for an Arkansas hunter. Short of that, a hunter should begin getting himself or herself in shape several months before hunting. Here it is just a few days from the end of archery deer season, a few weeks after the gun deer seasons, and the hunter may recall huffing and puffing after a short walk up a small hill or through heavy brush.

He or she also may recall downing a deer and struggling to get it out of the woods. The physical task can be life-threatening. Heart attacks from over-exertion by wrestling with a deer carcass have claimed lives in Arkansas and in other areas.

Two basic plans are voiced by veteran hunters:

If you a physically active person, step up the pace a little in preparation for deer hunting.

If you are badly out of shape, a couch potato, realize your limitations and work gradually to improve these for the next time you’re in the field.

For starters, take a brisk walk each day. Walk, not jog. If you’re out of shape, walking comes before running. Start off with a walk of 20 to 30 minutes, but don’t go past the point of a pleasant tiredness. If you feel exhausted, you’ve done too much.

A 20-minute walk should take you about a mile. If you take much more time to cover a mile, you’re probably walking too slowly for efficient exercise.

Increase the distance a little every few days. Again, use your judgment on doing this, keeping to the yardstick of a pleasant tiredness at the end of the walk. Another yardstick is to be able to converse with a companion during the walk; if you gasp for breath trying to talk after walking 15 or 20 minutes, you’re probably overdoing it.

If you plan to hunt in hilly or mountainous terrain, climb some stairs in addition to or during your walk. One method is to use a high school or college football field; most are open to community walkers. Walk a lap or two then climb the steps to the top of the stadium and return for another lap or two of walking.

The effects will be beneficial, especially over the several months until next deer season.

For general exercise walking, a good pair of shoes is not only desirable, it’s a necessity. Manufacturers have realized the need for shoes for exercise walking, and you’ll find them at most stores, along with basketball shoes, running shoes and aerobics shoes.

It’s a good idea to shift to your hunting boots or whatever footwear you’ll use when deer season opens for the last several exercise walks before the season. Your feet need to become accustomed to these boots that may not have been in use since last deer season. Boots are heavier than shoes; legs will tire more rapidly when wearing them.

Weight lifting also can be a conditioner for deer season, but over a period of several months, and it can tie in nicely with walking exercise. Weight training isn’t something that will pay immediate dividends, in contrast to walking.

You can carry something to simulate the weight of a rifle of shotgun on your daily exercise walk. A dumbbell, a brick, a bag of sand will help acclimate you to carrying a firearm for several hours in the field.