Hunters: Spin your decoys | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hunters: Spin your decoys

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 5:01 PM

I'm kindly surprised, just based on casual glances at outdoors coverage. The Game and Fish Commission today approved used of the spinning-wing duck decoys.


Commission removes ban on spinning-wing decoys
Late migratory bird seasons set

LITTLE ROCK – After a three-year experiment, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today lifted the ban on spinning-wing decoys during waterfowl hunting season. The Commission also increased the daily bag limit for hen mallards from one to two.

Commissioner Brett Morgan cast the lone vote to continue the spinning-wing decoy ban. “I can’t support something that we know helps kill juvenile ducks,” Morgan said. “This is an issue that we (commissioners) raised – not the public. The majority of e-mails and phone calls that I’ve received support keeping the ban in place.”

Commissioner George Dunklin, chairman of the Commission’s waterfowl committee, said the decision to rescind the ban was difficult.

“I know there’s some dissention about removing the ban, but a UALR survey showed the majority of people wanted spinning wing decoys brought back,” Dunklin said. “We asked all of the surrounding states to come aboard with us on this, but to no avail.”

In support of his position to remove the ban, Dunklin read from a letter from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that stated there was “no demonstrable impacts on either overall harvest rates or population levels.”

In other waterfowl news, Arkansas hunters will get 60 days of duck season for the twelfth consecutive year. Commissioners removed the WMA shell restriction during the youth hunt, and changed the time for shooting to cease on WMAs to noon; hunters must be off the water by 1 p.m.

Duck season dates are Nov. 22-Dec. 1, Dec. 6-Dec. 24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 25. The youth waterfowl hunt will be Jan. 31-Feb. 1. The northwest Canada goose zone season will be Sept. 1-15 (with a bag limit of five) and Sept. 27-Oct. 6 (bag limit two). The statewide Canada goose season will be Sept. 1-15 (bag limit five) and Jan. 10-Feb. 1 (bag limit two).

White-fronted goose season will be Nov. 15-Dec. 1, Dec. 6-Dec. 24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 30 with a bag limit of two. Snow, blue and Ross’ goose season will be Nov. 8-Dec. 24 and Dec. 26-Jan. 30 with a bag limit of 20. The snow goose Conservation Order is Feb. 2-April 25 with no bag limit.

Bag limits remain much the same as last year, with the exception of the additional hen mallard. Duck hunters will be allowed no more than four mallards, two of which may be hens. The daily bag limit may contain one pintail, three mottled ducks, one scaup, three wood ducks, two redheads and one black duck, but no more than a total of six ducks. Canvasback season is closed by the FWS because of low numbers.

The Commission also:

*Approved 2009 fishing regulations.

*Approved a budget increase of $78,680 for the Lake Saracen Walking Trail in Pine Bluff. The money comes from an Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department recreational trails grant.

*Approved the purchase of a used federal surplus property truck for the AGFC Trout Habitat Program.

*Approved funding through a federal U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal/Plant Health Inspection Service grant for a project to monitor Arkansas fish for viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS virus) disease.

*Was presented with an updated briefing on the proposed northern snakehead fish eradication plan for the Piney Creek basin in eastern Arkansas.

*Approved funding for the National Archery in the Schools Program.

*Approved the alligator season regulations. The season will be Sept. 19-22 and Sept. 26-29.

*Approved the donation of a youth elk hunting permit to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. The donation will be a fundraiser for the Foundation to be used in partnerships with other nonprofit and private organizations in conservation education and outreach projects.


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