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More than 60,000 acres of wetland habitat are available for waterfowl hunters on Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas. Nearly all are open on a first-come, firstserved basis.

However, a few select locations are reserved through drawn permit hunts to increase hunter satisfaction and prevent conflicts from hunters setting up too close to one another.

Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms, Sheffield Nelson Dagmar wildlife management areas and the west unit of Freddie Black Choctaw Island wildlife management area all reserve hunting through online drawings.

Permit hunts are nothing new for Raft Creek wildlife management area near Georgetown. It has been managed through lottery-style drawings on weekends for years to reduce crowding and provide a higher quality hunting experience. Dozens of hunting locations are available to the public via on-site drawings on Saturdays and Sundays during duck season. Others locations are reserved for online drawings conducted a week before each hunting period the area is open.

Game and Fish also has improved waterfowl opportunities for youths on the Conway George Tract of Sheffield Nelson Dagmar wildlife management area near Brinkley. Hunting blinds were installed for concealment and added comfort. The habitat was manipulated to increase the likelihood of close shots. These blinds are the only permit-style hunting available on Dagmar. Only youths and their mentors may use them. No more than four participants may hunt a blind per party, and only one mentor is allowed per youth hunter. However, one mentor may accompany more than one youth at the blind. These blinds are available by online draw.

Freddie Black Choctaw Island’s west unit offers an excellent opportunity for youth waterfowl hunters in southeastern Arkansas. The waterfowl area is divided into seven units around open water and marsh habitat. Game and Fish has constructed above-ground blinds on each of the seven units. These blinds are available by permit only, with the first application period being Dec. 6-9, after deer permit hunts have concluded.

Visit https://www. agfc.com/en/hunting/ migratory-birds/water fowl/wma-waterfowl-permit-hunts/ to learn more about each hunt and apply.

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