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Monday, May 22, 2017, 2:36 p.m.

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Game and Fish Commission OKs 2017-18 hunting rules

By Bryan Hendricks

This article was published May 19, 2017 at 2:07 a.m.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved hunting regulations for the 2017-18 seasons at its monthly meeting Thursday in Little Rock.

One new regulation will eliminate the Sweet 16 WMA use permit that was required for hunters and anglers to use 16 wildlife management areas. Hunters, anglers and trappers must now obtain a General Use WMA permit to use any of the state's wildlife management areas.

In Bear Management Zones 1-2, which encompass the Ozark and Ouachita mountains, modern gun bear season will open on the same day as the statewide modern gun deer season, which is the second Saturday in November.

Also, in Bear Zone 1, the quota will be allocated between method seasons. The archery quota will be 205 bears, and the muzzleloader and modern gun quotas will each be 45 bears. Previously, the quota was time sensitive, and bear season in Zone 1 ended when the quota was reached. Archery hunters accounted for nearly the entire quota, preventing muzzleloader and modern gun hunters from taking bears in Zone 1.

Another regulation will enable hunters to kill feral hogs with archery tackle in certain wildlife management areas during bear, deer and elk seasons from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.

New regulations will also affect trappers and those hunting raccoons, opossums and bobcats.

One such regulation will exempt those hunting raccoons, opossums and bobcats at night from having to wear hunter orange during deer, bear and elk seasons.

Another regulation removes the requirement that commission employees personally place Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species tags on bobcat and otter pelts.

Also, chronic wasting disease baiting restrictions regarding furbearer trapping was changed to clarify that bait can be used to trap furbearers on public land. However, bait cannot be used to hunt on public land.

For waterfowl hunting, the commission extended boating regulations at Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area to all commission-owned wildlife management areas.

In other wildlife management business Thursday, the commission approved spending $88,000 to buy a 40-acre inholding at Petit Jean River Wildlife Management Area in Yell Co., from Larry Madden and Ruby Madden. The funds will come from a Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration grant.

Also, the commission accepted a grant from Pheasants Forever, Inc., of $74,750 to fund a wildlife biologist position for two years to help implement upland bird habitat restoration provisions of the federal farm bill. Pheasants Forever, Inc, is the parent company to Quail Forever.

In a fisheries related item, the commission approved removing of daily game fish limits at Lake Poinsett, a 500-acre impoundment in Poinsett Co. Beginning July 10, the lake will be drained in order to renovate the lake.

Sports on 05/19/2017

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