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AGFC refines proposed hunting regulations

by Bryan Hendricks | April 27, 2018 at 4:30 a.m.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission tabled and advanced several waterfowl hunting regulations and heard 2019 fishing regulations proposals at its monthly meeting Thursday in Little Rock.

The agency's wildlife management division proposed regulations in March that included several items pertaining to waterfowl hunting at wildlife management areas. They included restricting surface drive boat motors at WMAs, rescinding a regulation limiting the number of shotshells hunters could possess at Bayou Meto WMA, increasing the daily bag limit of ducks at Bayou Meto and extending the time to 1 p.m. for hunters to leave greentree reservoirs.

After considerable discussion, the commission tabled the surface drive motor restriction and retained the 15-shell possession limit at Bayou Meto WMA. It also advanced proposals to extend the departure time and increase the bag limit for ducks at Bayou Meto to six, including no more than four mallards, of which no more than two may be hens.

Commissioner Bobby Martin of Bentonville said the commission is seeking other options to address complaints about the excessive noise of surface drive motors at WMAs without limiting hunting opportunities.

Commissioner Ford Overton said the commission should address ethical issues that accompany use of surface drive motors without trying to regulate behavior.

"Noise was discussed thoroughly yesterday, but hunter ethics was brought up multiple times," Overton said. "We can do something about noise, and we're doing it. We can also do something about ethics, and I want to work equally as hard on that. We're all hunters sitting here, and we have a real obligation to make sure we are preparing our next generation and curbing the ethics of this current generation that we're complaining about. I want the commission to see what we can do better, whether it's not running through a decoy jerk string or blasting past another boat."

The commission also heard 17 fishing regulations proposals.

One would remove the 16- to 21-inch protected slot limit for largemouth bass at Lake Pickthorne. The regulation did not have the desired effect of producing large bass, and the lake is simply not ideal habitat for growing big largemouths, said Ben Batten, AGFC's assistant chief of fisheries.

Also proposed was allowing anglers to keep no more than one bass larger than 20 inches at lakes Dunn and Austell, with a daily limit of 10 bass.

Other proposals would lift the restriction against using live common carp as bait at Dierks and De Queen lakes. Another would restrict the possession of live Asian carp.

Additional proposals would restrict fishing in ponds on Cypress Bayou and Black Swamp wildlife management areas and at Pinetree Wildlife Demonstration Area to rod and pole fishing only.

The commission will vote on the hunting regulations in May and on the fishing regulations in August.

Sports on 04/27/2018

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