July 1, 2024

Arkansas General Assembly Approves Budget for Game and Fish Commission

Article Contact: Kent Keene,

Why It Matters: Despite the need for additional conversations surrounding recent management decisions made by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Arkansas General Assembly returned for a brief special session which saw them approve the Commission’s budget without much debate. This move ensures that the Commission can carry out their mission as they transition into the new fiscal year. Sportsmen and women should be mindful of challenges facing state fish and wildlife agencies and how those challenges could affect our opportunities outdoors.


  • Upon returning for a special session called for by the Governor, the Arkansas General Assembly approved a budget for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, ensuring the agency was funded into the next fiscal year.
  • Leaders of the Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus played a major role in addressing the challenges that prevented the budget from passing during the shortened fiscal session that took place earlier this year.
  • This move ensures that both the agency, and the sportsmen and women who support and benefit from their conservation efforts, will be able to continue their work moving forward.

Upon returning to Little Rock for a special session called by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Arkansas General Assembly successfully agreed upon and approved the budget for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). As previously reported, Governor Sanders called a special session to, among a few other priorities, specifically address the AGFC budget situation that was the victim of the shortened fiscal session and challenges related to perceptions of recent management decisions made by the Commission.

Jokingly, comments among the sporting-conservation community all contained some version of, “was that really so hard?” However, this hiccup in the budget process, at least in part, demonstrates the delicate balance that state fish and wildlife agencies must strike as they advance their mission within the state. While states like Arkansas have, wisely, vested conservation and management authority within their state fish and wildlife agency via their constitution, agencies still have a duty to educate the public, including the General Assembly, on the reasoning behind management decisions in a way that is digestible to a general audience. This is critical for maintaining trust in, and support for, the agency.

At the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), we consistently support the management authority of state fish and wildlife agencies given the professional training and intimate conservation knowledge possessed by their staff. However, this authority also comes with a responsibility to inform key stakeholders, including but not limited to hunters, anglers, and trappers. Historically, AGFC has done a commendable job of accomplishing this task, and the swiftness with which they, along with help from leaders of the Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, were able to put these challenges to rest in the last couple weeks, demonstrates the value in maintaining these communications and educational efforts.

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