Arkansas Game and Fish Commission put its seal of approval on the previously presented 60 day season format. The 2012-13 Arkansas duck season will be broken into three splits: Nov. 17-25, Dec. 6-23 and Dec. 26-Jan. 27, 2013. This year’s youth duck hunting season will be Feb. 2-3.
The approval of another 60 day season comes on the heels of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates with total populations at 48.6 million breeding ducks in the area surveyed in earlier this summer. 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.
The Commission also ruled on the controversial issue to ban private duck hunting blinds on all state run Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). Private duck blinds at Big Lake WMA and St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA will be removed and overnight decoys will no longer be allowed at Dave Donaldson Black River WMA. Hunters who claim a blind have to obtain a free permit and remove their blind and any personal equipment between Aug. 30 and Oct 15. Beginning Oct. 15, the Commission will begin dismantling the blinds.
Also, the price for nonresident waterfowl stamp will be increasing from $20 to $35 and the nonresident five-day WMA waterfowl hunting permit to $10 to $25.
The 2012 waterfowl season officially kicks off with the early Teal season starting Sep. 8-23.