The possible dates for the 2012-2013 waterfowl season dates are on the agenda today at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission monthly meeting today in Little Rock. The commissioners will cuss and discuss a proposed 60 day season starting November 17-25 with other segments running December 6-23 then December 26 through January 27, 2013. If approved at their meeting in August, this will mark the 16th season in a row Arkansas has hunted under the 60 day season format. Late spring rains on the prairie pothole region produced a favorable habitat allowing duck numbers to skyrocket in recent years despite a shrinking habitat.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently reported total populations were estimated at 48.6 million breeding ducks in the area surveyed in May and June. The report posted a 7 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 45.6 million birds, and is 43 percent above the 1955-2011 long-term average. The 2012 report is a record high and is only the sixth time in the survey’s history that the total duck population has been over 40 million.

Today’s proposal will also include the state’s popular youth duck hunt to take place February 2-3, 2013. Also up for consideration is starting the season for Canada and white-fronted (specklebelly) geese on November 17 and run through January 27, 2013. The proposed season for snow, blue and Ross’s geese would run November 3 through January 27, 2013. Will be curious to hear the logic of cutting off goose season before the final weekend on ducks.

The Commission will also hear a handful of other waterfowl related proposals

  • The hottest topic will be the proposals to remove permanent blinds and overnight decoys on Dave Donaldson Black River, St. Francis Sunken Lands and Big Lake WMAs in Northeast Arkansas. If this proposal passes, blind owners will be required to remove their blinds by October 14 or the AGFC will begin the destruction of the leftover blinds. Per the AGFC there are 128 private blinds on St. Francis Sunken Lands and 98 on Big Lake. A group from northeast Arkansas is expected to attend the legislative oversight committee at the State Capitol today at 11 a.m. to protest the proposals. 
  • Another hot topic and of interest to out of state hunters, the Commissioners will hear a proposal to increase the price of the non-resident Arkansas Waterfowl Stamp from $20 to $35 and upping the price on a non-resident, five-day WMA waterfowl hunting permit from $10 to $25.
  • Prohibiting surface-drive outboards (Gator Tail, Go-Devil, Beavertail type motors) greater than 36 horsepower on WMAs.
  • Allowing all day hunting on Corps of Engineers land lying outside the Lloyd Millwood Greentree Reservoir in the Lake Nimrod Wildlife Management Area