LITTE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved a regulation change today which will allow people to openly carry a handgun for personal protection while on any wildlife management area or Commission-controlled property or lake.
Previously, only people with valid concealed carry permits could possess handguns while on a wildlife management area, unless there was a hunting season in which the handgun would be legal. Concealed carry permit holders may still carry a concealed handgun, and anyone legally possessing a handgun (as defined by Ark. Code Ann. §5-73-120) on Commission-owned or -controlled property or while hunting, fishing or trapping on private property as long as it is: (1) for personal protection and either is not employed for hunting or is a legal killing device for a hunting season that is open, and (2) the handgun is otherwise lawfully possessed.
“This clarification was the result of enforcement and wildlife management staff listening to concerned citizens and working to benefit all parties,” said Col. Greg Rae, chief of the AGFC Enforcement Division.
In other business, the Commission:
• Recognized Maurice Jackson and Clint Coleman of the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program for receiving the Diversity and Inclusion Award from the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for outreach efforts to nontraditional outdoors audiences.
• Recognized 17 employees with a total of 375 years of service for their commitment to the people and natural resources of Arkansas.
• Recognized Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation, who thanked the AGFC for their continued partnership in conservation.
• Awarded Capt. William Brown, retiring enforcement captain at the Camden Regional Office, his service sidearm.
• Granted a youth elk permit to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation to be used for fundraising purposes.
• Granted a youth elk permit to the Arkansas Wildlife Federation to be used for fundraising purposes.
• Granted an elk permit to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to be used for fundraising purposes to improve elk habitat in Arkansas.
• Approved a budget increase of $272,139.50 to replace all lighting and ceiling paneling inside the AGFC Little Rock headquarters and replace exterior lighting to improve energy efficiency and employee safety. Energy savings for the completed project are estimated at more than $40,000 per year.
• Authorized AGFC Director Pat Fitts to grant a right-of-way easement to Entergy for placement of overhead transmission lines near Overcup Lake in Conway County.
• Authorized Fitts to grant a right-of-way easement to Arkansas State Highway Commission for construction involving Arkansas Highway 9 in Conway County near Overcup Lake.
• Authorized the following projects to be funded with Marine Fuel Tax program funds:
- Asphalt on River Access Road near the Cossatot State Park Access.
- Improvement of the boat ramp, parking lot and asphalt access road at the River Ridge Access of the White River in Independence County.
- Repairs to the county road leading to two accesses to the Ouachita River in Calhoun County that have become impassible during common rain events.
- Resurfacing the parking area and access roads leading to Lake Brewer’s north and south access points in Conway County.
• Approved the removal of outdated and obsolete inventory with an original cost of $266,750.08 and a current net book value of $17,236.60.