Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners unanimously voted to approve special veteran’s waterfowl hunts to coincide with this year’s youth hunts at Thursday’s regularly scheduled meeting.
The hunt originally was approved at the federal level earlier this year as a way to show increased support for men and women who have served their country in the armed forces. Thursday’s vote officially recognizes this effort by allowing all active-duty military personnel and veterans who served in the active military, naval or air service and were discharged under conditions other than “dishonorable.”
The days of this hunt will be Dec. 7, 2019, and Feb. 8, 2020, the same days as the annual Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt. Shooting hours and bag limits will remain the same as regular duck and goose seasons. Veteran hunters on wildlife management areas will not have shotshell restrictions and will be allowed to hunt from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset, just as youths on these days.
All hunters must meet all license requirements for waterfowl hunting in Arkansas, including a valid hunting license, state waterfowl stamp, federal waterfowl stamp and current Harvest Information Program registration.
Commissioners also voted to create a new voluntary turkey stamp with a price of $9.50 to help bring awareness of turkey habitat needs in Arkansas. The stamp, much like the Northern Bobwhite Stamp, will be completely voluntary and will help fund turkey habitat needs in The Natural State.
In other business, the Commission recognized Mike and Kay Breedlove of Shikar-Safari International and their presentation bestowing the organization’s annual Arkansas Wildlife Officer of the Year Award to Wildlife Officer Cpl. Gary Don Stell of Camden. Stell is pictured above (center).
The commission also:
Recognized AGFC Habitat Biologist Andrew Green as the Wildlife Management Division’s Biologist of the Year.
Recognized AGFC Senior Conservation Program Technician Blake Massey as the Wildlife Management Division’s Technician of the Year.
Recognized AGFC Office Manager Sandra Garrett with a special recognition award for her work in managing and maintaining the AGFC’s Wildlife Management Division’s budgeting and bookkeeping needs.
Recognized the Wildlife Management District 4 (Camden Regional Office) as recipients of the 2019 “No Hog Left Behind” award for removing the most feral hogs on private and public lands.
Heard a report from AGFC Assistant Wildlife Regional Supervisor Mark Barbee on the 2019 Alligator Hunt results.
Heard a report from AGFC Turkey Program Coordinator Jeremy Brown on the 2019 turkey brood survey and progress of the current revision of Arkansas’s Strategic Turkey Plan.
Awarded retiring wildlife officer Maj. Jason Parker his service sidearm in recognition of 23 years of service to the people and natural resources of Arkansas.
Authorized AGFC Director Pat Fitts to enter into an agreement to accept a land donation to remove a 5-acre inholding on Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA.
Authorized AGFC Director Pat Fitts to enter into an agreement to accept a land donation from Ducks Unlimited’s Wetlands America Trust, Inc. to add 40 acres to Earl Buss Bayou Deview WMA.
Authorized the use of Marine Fuel Tax funds to pave 4.1 miles of access road to Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA.
Approved the removal of outdated and obsolete inventory with a total original cost of $246,969.53 and a net book value of $27,019.69.