Contact: Chris Horton, Senior Director, Midwestern States & Fisheries Policy
On May 15, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission opposing a proposed change to waterfowl regulations on two of the state’s most popular wildlife management areas (WMAs). The proposed change would require hunters to be off the water one hour earlier than what is currently in place. Although a one hour difference may seem insignificant, when combined with a prohibition on boating access prior to the start of season, and in between each season split, the new regulation will make it more difficult for hunters new to either of the WMA’s to scout for hunting locations.
Specifically, Dave Donaldson/Black River and George H. Dunklin, Jr./Bayou Meto WMA’s are the state’s two most popular duck hunting destinations. The only time hunters will have to scout these WMAs by boat will be during an actual day of hunting season. Reducing the time that hunters can be on the water by one hour will force scouting to occur during prime hunting hours, potentially causing conflicts with other hunters who already have an established hunting location.
While the need to minimize disturbances and allow waterfowl to rest between hunts is understandable, there is no science-based evidence that reducing the hunting and scouting time available by one hour in the middle of the day will have any measurable benefit to waterfowl resting or feeding activity on the WMAs. Furthermore, this regulation was opposed by the majority of hunters surveyed for their opinions on waterfowl and other proposed hunting regulations for the 2020-2022 hunting seasons.
The Commission will meet Thursday, May 21, via webinar to vote on this and other hunting regulations.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?