Bear harvest second-highest on record

LITTLE ROCK – They didn’t beat last year’s record, but bear hunters still harvested the second-highest total in the state’s history. More than 450 bears were harvested during the 2010-11 season. During the 2009-10 season, hunters harvested a record 530 bears.

The harvest totals were presented to commissioners of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission during its monthly meeting last week.

Bear Program Coordinator Myron Means said archery and crossbow hunters took 63 percent of the total harvest.

"It was mostly associated with higher harvest on private land and over bait," Means said. "Mast failure caused bears to seek baits more than in other years." Means added that the sex ratio was good and the statewide harvest goal is between 350 and 400 bears each year.

Polk and Scott were the two top counties for bear hunters. In Polk County, 40 bears were harvested, followed by 35 bears in Scott County.

AGFC officer wins Turkey Federation award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cpl. Roger Tate of Evening Shade (Sharp County) has been named the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 2011 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

He joins the ranks of 11 wildlife officers who have received this prestigious recognition since the NWTF initiated the award program.

"I’m honored to be recognized like this," Tate said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime career accomplishment and it means the world to me."

In addition to earning the NWTF’s 2011 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award, Tate also recently received the 2011 Arkansas State Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award. His accomplishments were recognized at the NWTF’s 35th annual National Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, Tenn.

The convention was themed "Our Youth. Our Legacy." The theme honors the next generation of hunters and conservationists.

"We’re proud to honor Cpl. Tate for his fantastic work in Arkansas," said George Thornton, NWTF chief executive officer. "He has done a tremendous job working to conserve wildlife and uphold our game laws."Our fine wildlife officers are important to conservation. We salute Cpl. Tate and the rest of the great wildlife officers across this country, and thank them for their service."

Tate is a 13-year Arkansas Game and Fish Commission veteran assigned to Sharp County District C-1, the Arkansas district that typically leads the state in the number of wild turkeys harvested each year. He has maintained a 100 percent conviction rate for years, a direct result of his preseason wild turkey investigations and effective investigative skills.

Additionally, Tate is an active NWTF volunteer who serves as a youth mentor to support our hunting heritage by instructing hunter safety classes, and assisting with NWTF outreach events and other educational activities.