Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

  • Agency: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • Address: 2 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, 72205 AR
  • Chief:
Phone: 800-364-4263
Fax:

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is located at 2 Natural Resources Dr., Little Rock, 72205 AR. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission phone number is 800-364-4263.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission News

Wildlife Management Area Road Closure Trusten Holder WMA Access road and road to Big Island is closed due to high water on the lower White River. This closure will remain in effect until conditions allow for reopening.

This could be a great weekend for some Coney Island Venison Chili with Cornbread Deer Dogs, Dutch Oven style! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiJb5lBO-PE&t=82s

Opening day of modern gun deer season is Saturday, Nov. 10, and the start of waterfowl hunting season follows on Nov. 17. With the main events of Arkansas’s hunting seasons finally upon us, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special live Facebook feed from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. to offer a forecast and update hunters on the latest news from the field. Trey Reid, AGFC assistant chief of communications, will host the live feed to offer some pre-season excitement. Various experts from AGFC’s staff will join the show to talk about several topics of interest to hunters in The Natural State. “We’ll talk to experts on deer, waterfowl and habitat management,” Reid said. “We’ll also visit with some of our staff who have been working on chronic wasting disease and will share the latest news with hunters, as well as explain some new options for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD.” In addition to live interviews, staff will be busy monitoring the feed for questions to ask presenters as time allows. Staff also will provide answers to those last-minute questions from viewers that may not be covered on the air.

Application period for online waterfowl hunts begins Nov. 8 LITTLE ROCK - More than 60,000 acres of wetland habitat are available for waterfowl hunters through Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas, nearly all of which is open on a first-come, first-served basis. However, a few select locations are reserved through drawn permit hunts to increase hunter satisfaction and prevent conflicts from hunters setting up too close to one another. Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA, Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA and the west unit of Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA all reserve special opportunities through online drawings. Permit hunts are nothing new for Raft Creek WMA near Georgetown. It has been managed through lottery-style drawings on weekends for years to reduce crowding and provide a higher quality hunting experience. In addition to dozens of hunting locations available to the public via on-site drawings on Saturdays and Sundays during duck season, some locations are reserved for online drawings conducted a week before each hunting period the area is open. A special mobility-impaired blind and youth blind also are available only through these online drawings. The first application period for these hunts is Nov. 8-11 for hunts on Nov. 17, 18, 20 and 21. Only certain locations are drawn online, and only for Saturdays and Sundays. If a permit holder does not claim their location before that day’s on-site draw is conducted (2 hours before shooting light), the location is offered in the on-site draw. Hunting on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is open on a first-come, first-served basis and hunters may set up throughout the WMA. The AGFC also has improved waterfowl opportunities for youths on the Conway George Tract of Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA near Brinkley. Hunting blinds were installed for concealment and added comfort, and the habitat was manipulated to increase the likelihood of close shots. These blinds are the only permit-style hunting available on Dagmar WMA. Only youths and their mentors may use them. No more than four participants may hunt a blind per party, and only one mentor is allowed per youth hunter. However, one mentor may accompany more than one youth at the blind. These blinds are available by online draw beginning Nov. 8-11. Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA West Unit offers an excellent opportunity for youth waterfowl hunters in southeastern Arkansas. The waterfowl area on this WMA is divided into seven units around open water and marsh habitat. AGFC staff has constructed above-ground blinds on each of the seven units. These blinds are available by permit only, with the first application period being Dec. 6-9, after deer permit hunts have concluded. Visit https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/migratory-birds/waterfowl/wma-waterfowl-permit-hunts/ to learn more about each hunt and apply.

High water closes deer hunting in some areas JONESBORO – High water on the White and Cache rivers has forced the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to temporarily close deer season in some wildlife management areas of eastern Arkansas, as well as some private land in the Cache River basin. Deer hunters are urged to check current water levels in their area before heading out for the opening of modern gun deer season, Nov. 10. As of Nov. 7, Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA near Gregory, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake near Bald Knob and Flood Prone Region C, which includes private land near Augusta, are closed to deer hunting. The bottomland hardwood forests of eastern Arkansas offer excellent habitat for large deer populations, but these low-lying areas also can become inundated quickly, pushing deer into smaller areas with less available cover. This creates a situation where deer may become vulnerable to overharvest, and removes some of the aspects of fair chase. Hunting in flooded areas also increases the chances of game loss as fatally hit deer may run into swift-moving stream or deep areas before hunters can recover their harvest. Ralph Meeker, deer program coordinator for the AGFC, points out that flood prone zones also include those areas of high ground where the deer concentrate during floods. “It can be tempting to try harvesting one of these deer seeking sanctuary, especially at the beginning of the season when everyone’s excited or in areas that have a very limited time span to hunt with modern guns,” said Ralph Meeker, AGFC deer program coordinator. “But as conservationists, we hunters have the responsibility to ensure the health of the deer herd and to abide by a certain code of ethics.” The AGFC includes questions on flood prone zones during regular hunter opinion surveys. The last such survey was completed in 2018 by a third-party survey group, Responsive Management. A statistically valid sample of hunters who pursue deer in flood prone zones was interviewed by email to determine their approval of flood prone zones. According to that survey 60 percent of hunters who hunted in regions with flood prone zones were in favor of closing deer hunting when the water rose to the criteria in place. Only deer hunting is closed during flood-prone zone closures. Seasons and limits for other game animals remain unchanged. A description of all flood-prone regions and criteria for closures are available on pages 56-57 of the 2018-19 Arkansas Hunting Guidebook and at www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/fpz. Visit www.agfc.com or call the AGFC Wildlife Information Hotline at 800-440-1477 for the status of all flood-prone regions, updated each day at 3.p.m.

WMA closure update The following areas remain closed: - Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA - Rex Hancock Black Swamp - Flood Prone Zone Region C Big Lake WMA has reopened at 235.9 msl. Readings are updated by 3 p.m. daily. See Flood Prone Zone info: https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/fpz/

Arkansas Wildlife Fishing Report - Nov. 7, 2018 https://www.agfc.com/en/news/2018/11/07/arkansas-wildlife-fishing-report-66/ Water on the Rise The weather fronts bringing plenty of rain to The Natural State in recent weeks have altered the fishing landscape somewhat. Some lakes such as Greers Ferry are well above the normal conservation pool target for this time of year, while Lake Nimrod is a full 12 feet above full pool as of Wednesday. Gate changes and lots of water that backed up the Red River have led to urges of caution navigating Little River at Millwood Lake and the tailwater below the dam. Last week, conditions in the Little Red River were perfect for fly-fishing. But guide Greg Seaton tells us that after almost 6 inches of rain over the previous five days, the Greers Ferry Lake level was 464.87 feet msl. This means that it is in the flood pool and generation will increase to lower the lake level to 462.04 feet msl, the normal pool. Generation will be on a 12-hour-with-two-unit basis. This can vary on the stop and start times due to power demand. It can be a split pattern with early morning and afternoon periods of generation. This will continue for the rest of the week. The water levels in the lower river and White River at Georgetown will dictate the flow after that, with a possible increase when the lower river will accommodate it. Check each day for the proposed generation schedule. The point is, be careful out there and check water levels wherever you intend to go for fishing. There are nice opportunities out there, but plan accordingly. Fog has been noticeable lately, and dress in layers when it's cold.

Log in to Arkansas Wild Game Day Live Nov. 8 LITTLE ROCK – Opening day of modern gun deer season is Saturday, Nov. 10, and the start of waterfowl hunting season follows on Nov. 17. With the main events of Arkansas’s hunting seasons finally upon us, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special live Facebook feed from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.Thursday to offer a forecast and update hunters on the latest news from the field. Trey Reid, AGFC assistant chief of communications, will host the live feed to offer some pre-season excitement. Various experts from AGFC’s staff will join the show to talk about several topics of interest to hunters in The Natural State. “We’ll talk to experts on deer, waterfowl and habitat management,” Reid said. “We’ll also visit with some of our staff who have been working on chronic wasting disease and will share the latest news with hunters, as well as explain some new options for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD.” In addition to live interviews, staff will be busy monitoring the feed for questions to ask presenters as time allows. Staff also will provide answers to those last-minute questions from viewers that may not be covered on the air. Visit https://www.facebook.com/ARGameandFish at 10:30 a.m. to view.

TODAY! Hardee's is celebrating modern gun deer season by rewarding Arkansas hunters with a free sausage biscuit this morning prior to opening day on Nov. 10th. Don't miss out on deer season or a free sausage biscuit.

WMA closure update Flood Prone Zone Region C has closed due to flooding. The following areas are closed to deer hunting. Henery Gray Hurricane Lake WMA Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA Big Lake WMA Current gauge readings and flood prone region closures are available by calling AGFC toll-free at 800-440-1477. Readings are updated by 3 p.m. daily. See Flood Prone Zone info: https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/fpz/

Arkansas Wildlife TV Season 5 Episode 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58TSxpL7bCM

AGFC to hold public meeting on progress of Lake Poinsett renovation HARRISBURG - Fisheries biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will hold a special public meeting on the progress of the Lake Poinsett renovation 6 p.m., Nov. 8, at Calvary Church in Harrisburg. The focus of the meeting will be updating all interested parties in the overall plan and timeline of the project as well as highlighting milestones and work that may have gone unnoticed so far. “We have accomplished a lot on this project so far, but much of it is behind the scenes work that is necessary before the more obvious effort takes place,” said Brett Timmons, AGFC regional fisheries supervisor. “The lake’s failing infrastructure and shoreline erosion were major concerns for biologists and staff that needed to be addressed before any involuntary failure.” Timmons says large projects such as the Poinsett renovation are very complex and last long enough for some people to worry about progress, so public meetings such as this are critical to keep public support. The water-control structure on the lake was left open in late summer last year to allow the lake to drain, and AGFC staff and contractors have been busy ever since. A parking lot was created to be a staging area for equipment and materials. Trees have been removed from that area and many fish habitat materials have been purchased or collected from local businesses as donations. An extensive shoreline stabilization project has been outlined and drafted through a construction firm, and the dam has been studied to ensure its clay core is intact and functioning properly. “We’ve completed most of the engineering plans for the major dirt work to begin while staying busy on the ground clearing debris from the old water-control structure and fallen trees from around the lake,” Timmons said. “The bids are out for removal of the old water control structure and the creation of a new water control tower and spillway, and we hope to begin turning dirt this winter, weather permitting.” Timmons says construction of the new water-control structure work is expected to take 120 days, but rain or other weather delays may occur. “We anticipate completion of the construction to be around mid-May 2019 if everything goes well,” Timmons said. Timmons says he is extremely grateful for the patience of local anglers and the many contributions already received to help with the project. More than 600 pallets, five dumpster loads of ABS pipe have been donated, and the AGFC has purchased an additional 2,070 linear feet of reinforced concrete conduit to aid in building artificial fish attractors. “So far more than $1,031,000 has been committed to the project,” Timmons said. “This is a significant investment, but well worth the money and effort for anglers in this part of the state. We look forward to presenting many more details about the project and its progress at the meeting and outlining the next phases of work to be done.” The AGFC also would like to remind everyone that it is illegal to remove anything other than personal possessions from Commission-owned land without permission. Timmons says there have been some reports of people removing items from the exposed lake bed during the drawdown. The address for Calvary Church in Harrisburg is: 503 South Illinois Ave., Harrisburg, AR 72432

Congrats to these young gals on their deer that was harvested during the youth hunt this weekend. The 8-point and 9-point were taken by Avery Abbott, age 9, hunting near McGehee. She took the 9-point at 4:30 p.m. Sunday and the 8-point at 5 p.m. The doe was a first kill for 8-year-old Annslee Roberts of Monticello. The broken antlered buck was a first deer taken by Kaleigh Roberts, age 9, of Monticello. Pictured with her is her dad David Roberts. Way to go girls! 👍

An Arkansas hunting license is a ticket to outdoor fun in The Natural State, and on Wednesday, Nov. 7, your Arkansas hunting license also will get you a free sausage biscuit at any Hardee's Restaurant in Arkansas. Hardee's is celebrating modern gun deer season by rewarding Arkansas hunters with a free sausage biscuit on Wednesday morning prior to opening day on Nov. 10. Don't miss out on deer season or a free sausage biscuit.

Deer Modern Gun Season opens November 10th statewide. Check your destination regulations before heading out. 2018-19 Arkansas Hunting Guidebook: https://drive.google.com/file/d/17tG1l3xNchmE0hKa7LNpkyakh4wpDtW4/view

Wildlife Management Area Closure Update Big Lake WMA The gauge reading at seven mile boat ramp is at 236.1 msl. This WMA is closed to deer hunting. Please call the Wildlife Hotline at 1-800-440-1477 or go to https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/fpz/ for more information.

Wildlife Management Area Road Closure Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA Due to rising water levels, the gate going to Big Hurricane camping area is now closed to vehicular access. All other roads on the WMA remain open at this time. Please call the Wildlife Hotline at 1-800-440-1477 or go to https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/fpz/ for more information.

Everett, Conner, and Brody were able to bag their first deer this morning. Everett must be a natural because he took two on his opening morning. Maggie was able to tag her first buck. Post your mentor hunting photos from this weekend for a chance to win a deer hunting prize pack with Everett and Conner. #FirstDeer #YouthWeekend #Mentoring #Traditions #HuntingNatural

WMA Closure Update Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA The White River gauge at Augusta has exceed 26’ (current gauge reading is 26.09). Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA is now closed to deer hunting.

Welcome to the AGFC Mobile App! Whether you love hunting, fishing or just the outdoors in general, we hope you find the app useful. Just a few of the features available: Storage of Hunting License (Online or Offline) Users can create a profile in the app that would pull in their license privileges and store them in the app. Truly Offline Game Check Meaning a user can check a deer even when they have no cell phone service. The application will log the check and automatically submit it when the phone finds service. Weather Condition Location-based weather forecasts. Enhanced Wildlife Observation Improved deer hunter observation tool and mobile-friendly views for iNaturalist citizen science projects. Newsletter Feeds The new app makes it easier for Arkansans to keep up with AGFC news, fishing reports, waterfowl reports and a new deer specific feed called the "Rut Report." Near Me An improved list of water bodies and WMAs sorted based on a user’s location. We did want to provide a list of frequently asked questions that have come from customers related to the new app in the first 24 hours. NOTE: The Trophy Room and deer check info saved within the previous app will not transfer to the new app. Frequently Asked Questions from Customers: How do I download the new app? If a user has the old version of the app, then they can go to their app center and download the update. If the update is not visible, they can refresh the updates on an iPhone by tapping the screen and pulling down. If a user does not have the old app, they can download the new one in the Apple or Android app stores. Will my trophy case transfer over from the old app? We were not able to program the new app to pull over images and comments saved in the old app's trophy case. Photos should still be in the photo library of the phone a user submitted the trophy case log on initially. Will someone be able to delete a game check completed offline? When someone does not have cell phone service, they will be able to go through the same game check process. The game check will be logged on the device, and the app will automatically submit the game check when the device detects service. Will the app work on all devices? The app should work on all iOS and Android devices. We have received a small number of download errors when a user has failed to maintain software updates for an extensive amount of time. If they update their phone, it should solve the problem. How do I make the keypad go away when signing up or logging in to the app? We have received some reports of users struggling to make the keypad collapse when signing up or logging in to the app. For now, you can either tap the screen or hit the return button to collapse the keypad when it comes up. We are looking at a way to add a "done" button on the keypad. Why are weather conditions or near me locations not showing up? When a user first updates or downloads the app they will be given the opportunity to allow location services. You must allow these services for certain features like weather conditions and near me location services to function. Will previous game checks from this season transfer over? If someone has checked game in the old app this season it will transfer over once they create a profile and enter their license. However, it may take a little time for it to load. Game checks to S3 or. the call center will not show up in the app at this time. Does the old app still function? The old version of the app is still up and running. Someone will be able to continue to use it until they update their app. The game check and hunter observations are still functioning and will be captured.

Drop-off locations available for CWD tests The AGFC has placed dozens of special drop-off containers for hunters to submit chronic wasting disease samples from their deer this year. Locations of these specially marked coolers and other CWD testing options are available at www.agfc.com/cwd. Biologists and researchers at the AGFC understand that the best hunting often takes place early in the morning and late in the evening, when taxidermists, AGFC regional offices and other CWD testing options may not be available. These drop-off locations offer a way for hunters to submit their samples as easily as possible and preserve the integrity of the tissues needed during warm days. Some drop-off locations are available 24 hours a day, and others are only operational during certain times. Please check the list at the link above to find one that suits your needs. “There are 32 drop-off locations throughout the CWD Management Zone, and another eight are placed in different parts of the state for hunters to submit samples there as well,” said Dr. Jennifer Ballard, state wildlife veterinarian for the AGFC. “But hunters should be careful not to cross the boundaries of the two-tiered CWD management zone when transporting their deer to one of the collection locations.” Ballard says the AGFC’s wildlife health biologist, AJ Riggs, has worked tirelessly to find locations and build partnerships throughout the state that can benefit all hunters and offer free CWD testing to anyone who wishes to drop off a sample. “The process is pretty straightforward,” Ballard said. “You just need to keep the animal as cool as possible to prevent spoiling the sample. Then cut off the head, leaving about 4-6 inches of neck attached, remove the antlers and place it with your information and deer check number in the bags provided on site. We will collect the samples as the coolers begin to fill.” Ballard says the antlers from bucks should be removed, not only to preserve space in the freezers, but also to prevent any tears in the bags holding the samples. The hunter will be able to look up their test results within two to three weeks using their deer’s check number.. Testing is voluntary for white-tailed deer, but The Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly encourage hunters to get their deer tested for CWD when hunting in a known CWD area and not consume any meat from CWD-positive deer or any sick animal. CWD testing is mandatory for all elk harvested in Arkansas. Hunters must call 870-204-0576 immediately upon harvest of an elk. They will receive instructions on testing their elk through that hotline. In the case that an animal tests CWD positive, the AGFC can help dispose of the meat properly. Lists of drop-off locations and alternative testing methods are available at www.agfc.com/cwd.

Current gauge readings and flood prone region closures With heavy rains causing river levels in East Arkansas to rise, the AGFC would like to remind all deer hunters to check the status of flood prone zones to determine if the area they are hunting will be closed. Staff will monitor levels throughout the weekend and post any closures at the following website: https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/fpz/

WMA Road Closure update Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA Due to rising water conditions, the gate at the Big Hurricane camping area leading to Willow Pond is closed to vehicular traffic. All other roads on the the WMA are currently open to vehicular traffic. For updated conditions please call the Wildlife Hotline @ 1-800-440-1477

AGFC adds nearly 6,000 new acres of public access in 2018 LITTLE ROCK – Thanks to federal money through the Pittman-Robertson Act and partnerships with other agencies and private landowners, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has been able to add nearly 6,000 acres to its wildlife management system in time for the 2018 hunting seasons and for other recreational use. Some of these include wooded land perfect for hunting deer or small game, and other acreage will add to waterfowl hunting opportunities later this year, according to Matt Warriner, assistant chief in the AGFC’s wildlife management division. The Pittman-Robertson Act, also known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, has provided millions of dollars to wildlife agencies for habitat restoration and managing wildlife through excise taxes placed on the purchase of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. Warriner noted these additions, which total 5,877 acres, to the state’s WMAs in 2018: 975 acres at Cypress Bayou WMA (White County); 511 acres at Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita WMA (Union County); 311 acres at Gene Rush WMA (Newton County); 3,400 acres at Big Timber WMA (Clark County) through a multi-year lease agreement; 680 acres to four WMAs through a MOA with Arkansas Department of Transportation for mitigation lands – 161 acres at Sulphur River WMA (Miller County), 282 acres at St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA (Poinsett County), 158 acres at Dardanelle WMA (Johnson County) and 85 acres at Village Creek WMA (Jackson County). Warriner added that the AGFC has agreed to buy an additional, nearly 3,000-acre area near the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge in south Arkansas, but the paperwork will not be signed to finalize the deal until late this year or in 2019. “We’re adding land for public hunting opportunities and for other recreational activities such as bird-watching, hiking and camping,” Warriner said. “All of the acquisitions are funded by the Wildlife Restoration Program, so it’s a user-pay/public-benefit program. The users, through their purchase of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment, are funding those acquisitions.” The 3,400 acres leased at Big Timber WMA did not recieve federal tax dollars; rather, they have been added to the AGFC’s leased-land system through an agreement with the land’s owner, the Olds Foundation. Being part of the leased-land system requires users purchase a $40 permit for hunting, camping, fishing or trapping. Birding or hiking does not require the permit, Warriner said. The permit helps offset a small portion of the cost to the AGFC for securing public access and is available on the AGFC’s website, www.agfc.com. The acquisition of Cypress Bayou in White County, meanwhile, has allowed the AGFC to answer requests from central Arkansas waterfowl hunters, Warriner said. “It will be managed for waterfowl. Most of it is moist soil that we’ll manage,” he said. “We have been hearing from folks in central Arkansas that they would like to have closer access for waterfowl hunting. Most of them now are having to go to (George H. Dunklin) Bayou Meto WMA, David Donaldson (Black River WMA) and other big areas in eastern and southeastern Arkansas. This will help in giving them what they ask for.” The acquisition and addition to Gene Rush WMA in north Arkansas gives more opportunity for upland-style hunting, Warriner said.

The first Public Meeting concerning the die-off of trees in Henry Gray Hurricane Lake Wildlife Management Area will begin at 7 p.m. at the following link: https://youtu.be/oV58EJEsHhs