Early migratory bird hunting seasons were set Thursday by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Proposals were also made for late migratory birds, meaning ducks and geese except for Canada geese.
The only notable changes are for dates, sometimes called "calendar creep," and this is done to keep Saturday openings, now an Arkansas tradition.
The seasons approved are:
Doves (mourning and Eurasian-collared), Sept. 1-Oct. 25 and Dec. 26-Jan. 9. As in the past, the daily limit will be 15 mourning doves with no limit for Eurasian doves, an invasive species.
Teal dates suggested are Sept. 8-23 with a daily limit of four.
Rail dates, Sept. 8-Nov. 16, limit 25.
Woodcock, Nov. 3-Dec. 17, limit three.
Common snipe, Nov. 1-Feb. 15, limit eight.
Purple gallinule, Sept. 1-Nov. 9, limit 15.
Common moorhen, Sept. 1-Nov. 9, limit 15.
Early Canada goose, statewide, Sept. 1-15. Northwest Canada Goose Zone, Sept. 22-Oct. 1. Late Canada goose statewide, Nov. 19-Jan. 29. Limit two.
The early hunting for Canada geese is an attempt to reduce or hold steady the number of non-migrating giant Canada geese in Arkansas. The birds have become so numerous in some areas as to be nuisances.
Duck and goose seasons will b e set at the AGFC’s August meeting. The proposals by the wildlife management staff were:
Duck, coot and merganser hunting dates proposed are Nov. 17-25, Dec. 6-23 and Dec. 26-Jan. 27.
White-fronted goose dates proposed are Nov. 17-Jan. 27 statewide.
Show, blue and Ross’ goose dates proposed are Nov. 5-Jan. 27 statewide.
Another wildlife proposal at the Thursday meeting was to ban the importing of deer carcasses or parts from Texas.
Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been found in some mule deer in far west Texas, and the proposal is to add Texas to a number of other states from which deer cannot be brought into Arkansas, which is free of CWD.
Removal of private duck blinds from two northeast Arkansas wildlife management areas was proposed.
The proposal was a part of suggested regulations for upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons. Duck and goose seasons, along with some rule changes for wildlife management areas, will be acted on by the commissioners at their August meeting.
St. Francis Sunken Lands and Big Lake are the two WMAs that have been exceptions to the AGFC’s policy of no structures and decoy spreads left overnight on state-owned management areas.
The exceptions have been in place for decades, and some northeast Arkansas duck hunters are adamant about the tradition continuing.
Under the proposal given by David Goad, wildlife management chief, persons claiming the blinds on the two areas could remove them after obtaining a free permit but without cutting trees. Blinds left on the areas after Sept. 15 would be removed by AGFC crews. In this case, Goad said, there would be no burning of blinds.