The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is stepping up its efforts to halt duck hunters’ daily “boat races” at Bayou Meto Waterfowl Management Area.
Beginning today through the end of the season, AGFC wildlife officers will be cracking down on unsafe boating practices by hunters racing to popular hunting holes at Bayou Meto and other popular access areas.
Videos of the morning “races” taken at Bayou Meto and Hurricane Lake have been shown online, and wildlife officers and WMA manager Mark Hooks expressed their fears to the AGFC that the dangerous practices will become glorified, leading to serious injuries or worse. The popular outdoor show, The Crush with Lee & Tiffany, filmed some footage in Bayou Meto this season for an upcoming episode.
A 17-year-old boy was thrown from a boat and injured during a recent trip to Bayou Meto.
The AGFC is looking at new regulations for 2013-2014, but wildlife officers say there are steps that can be taken now, including posting signs that would allow officers to assess penalty points to hunters committing boating violations.
Col. Jeff Crow, chief of law enforcement, said a compromise to write warning tickets was a good first step.
The evolution of the enforcement and hunter pushback from more restrictive rules within Bayou Meto will be interesting. Don’t be surprised if the idea of a draw system or a lottery don’t get mentioned if this continues. The first fatality or serious injury will be too late.