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— Congressional delegations from Mississippi and Arkansas have backed legislation to clarify that hunting over a rolled rice field is not illegal field baiting.

The legislation promoted by U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both R-Miss., died in the past Congress.

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., whose district is the largest rice producer in the state, told The Commercial Appeal that he will introduce the bill this year.

Duck hunting season ends this month in Mississippi and Arkansas.

Memphis-based Ducks Unlimited Chief Executive Officer H. Dale Hall said there needs to be needs to be very clear regulations and guidance for hunters and law enforcement to follow.

In addition to ducks, the legislation also would make it legal to shoot coots and cranes over rolled fields.

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  • Jackabbott
    January 7, 2013 at 8:23 a.m.

    If this is what Crawford considers important and a "big" economic issue for Eastern Arkansas, then he is out to lunch and needs to resign. How do people like this get elected anyway? Eastern Arkansas needs economic expansion not an expansion of hunting rights for duck hunters.

  • TiggerEd
    January 7, 2013 at 9:33 a.m.

    What is a rolled rice field? Wished the article would have explained that for us people that don't duck hunt.

  • Kajon
    January 7, 2013 at 10:29 a.m.

    I'm not positive, Tigger, but I think a "rolled rice field" occurs when a rice crop is harvested, and the rice left behind sprouts. The farmer then rolls it or turns it under.

    I am not a duck hunter, but it is needed legislation.

  • Got2Kids
    January 7, 2013 at 12:03 p.m.

    I am sorry Jackabbott that you fail to appreciate or comprehend just how big a business duck hunting, or hunting in general, has become. It's only in the billions of dollars. Also, this is not an expansion of hunting rights. Farmers everywhere lease their fields to hunters. The current rule would prohibit this in numerous cases, stopping out-of-towners from coming in and staying at hotels, eating out, etc. Surely you can grasp the cause and effect of this rule. Rolling a field is a function of farming, not preparing a field for duck hunting. Rolling prevents a crop from growing in a field when it is not intended to be harvested, thus using up nutrients, etc. Also, it destroys safe havens for insects and diseases. So, yes, some of us are glad that Representative Crawford "gets" how "big" a business this is for Eastern Arkansas. It appears that at least his staff has done their research to grasp the issues, unlike you. Expansion of hunting rights for duck hunters, what a stupid, uninformed, and ridiculous statement. Thanks for giving me a good laugh today.

  • GiveUsLiberty
    January 7, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.

    Big Thumbs Up to Got2Kids! Yes! This is Needed legislation! Clarification of "normal agricultural practices" is required. Rolling rice stubble and flooding the field also aides in the decomposition of said stubble, thereby returning the nutrients to the soil.

  • Packman
    January 7, 2013 at 2:19 p.m.

    Hey Jackabbott - Open mouth (or engage keyboard) and prove yourself an idiot simply because you hate Republicans. Stupid is as stupid does.

  • RaylanGivens
    January 7, 2013 at 3:22 p.m.

    The Democrats tried to elect someone who wanted to give naming rights of our counties to corporations. I'm with Packman on this one

  • tomspann
    January 7, 2013 at 5:17 p.m.

    Jackrabbit you are an idiot and don't have a clue about the economy of eastern arkansas

  • Garycmillerlawgmailcom
    January 7, 2013 at 5:39 p.m.

    Coots and cranes? Really?

  • TheBatt
    January 7, 2013 at 11:02 p.m.

    A rolled rice field is a rice field that the crop has been harvested, then the farmer goes back and uses a roller to flatten the stubble to the ground. It doesn't depend on the rice re-sprouting (though that sometimes happen). It is suppose to make the field more attractive to ducks and other waterfowl. Sometimes there is leftover grain on the rice (or regrowth) that is freed up too. Why any agency would lump said practice with baiting is looking for reasons to be anti-hunting. Now - that being said, I have seen rice fields planted and not harvested, but simply rolled down - that borders on baiting.

    As far as shooting coots over rolled rice fields - I know of no current regulation against said practice, so am puzzled at the need.

    To shoot cranes (aka - egrets or other fish-eating birds) - I'm not sure the reason for including them. Seems rather odd.