Back in April, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission approved a land swap with Goose Lake Farms, LLC pending public approval. The proposal included four parcels of land in Arkansas and Jefferson counties situated at the South end of Bayou Meto WMA. The plan was for the Goose Lake property totaling 155 acres to be swapped for two nearby AGFC parcels totaling 160 acres.
The land swap came about due to issues with property lines, public access to Bayou Meto WMA property and trespassing problems on the private Goose Lake property. The swap involved property on the north side of Buckingham Flats and south of the Wasteway Bayou and public property east of the Goose Lake lodge. The land Goose Lake was willing to part ways with is near Beaver Dam Slough Green Tree Reservoir on the southwest end of Bayou Meto.
Public meetings were held in mid May in DeWitt and White Hall where great opposition to the proposed swap was expressed. Public land hunters presented compelling arguments speaking to the quality of the land being swapped and the loss of good duck hunting property at that end of the WMA. The area proposed to go from public to private is considered by many locals as a historic hunting spot for generations and would displace around 100 hunters from their traditional honey holes. This displacement would likely cause more overcrowding problems as the displaced hunters seek new holes to hunt in the WMA.
The AGFC initially approved the swap as both parties agreed the transaction was good for all involved. The AGFC and Goose Lake owners spend a decent amount of resources enforcing property lines and trespassing issues at the end of the WMA. The proposed swap would clear up boundary lines and prevent the need for the public land hunters from moving across Goose Lake property to reach adjacent public property.
Odds are this isn’t the last duck hunters hear of this issue. The swap in its current status has been tabled for now but a restructured proposal isn’t out of the question. But looks like access on the south end of Bayou Meto for the 2011-2012 duck season will be the same as always.