LITTLE ROCK — Nonresident waterfowl hunters will be able to hunt some of Arkansas’s most popular public waterfowl-hunting destinations Nov. 23-Dec. 2; Dec. 27-Jan. 5; and Jan. 22-31 this season.
Thanks to the forethought of Commissioners decades ago, Arkansas is blessed with hundreds of thousands of acres of publicly available duck hunting opportunities. Many of these locations offer one-of-a-kind waterfowling experiences. The Natural State’s greentree reservoirs have been the subject of many books, magazine articles, outdoors television episodes and social media posts. A trip to Bayou Meto or Dave Donaldson Black River WMA is a high-point on many waterfowl hunters’ bucket lists.
This popularity comes at a cost. When waterfowl make their way to Arkansas, competition for prime hunting areas can be high.
In response to public comments from resident hunters, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted to allow nonresident hunters access to hunt waterfowl on AGFC WMAs only during specific portions of the season. The changes were passed in September of 2018, but Commissioners voted to delay implementation of the change until the 2019-20 season.
The Commission also created a single 5-day Nonresident Waterfowl Hunting Permit that would be valid on all AGFC WMAs in response to public comments received last waterfowl season. Previously, nonresident waterfowl hunters on many of the AGFC’s WMAs were required to purchase a separate permit for each WMA they hunted. If they wanted to change WMAs before their permit expired, they would need to purchase a second permit. The new universal permit enables hunters to move to different WMAs within the 5-day window when the permit is valid.
During the Commission’s May Committee briefings, Ken Reeves of Harrison voiced his concern over the previous system causing nonresidents to pay for hunting days they did not use while enjoying duck hunting in The Natural State.
“I received a phone call from a nonresident who said that the WMA-specific permit required him and his son to pay for multiple WMAs if they decided to move to different areas of the state to find ducks,” Reeves said. “I think it is an undue barrier for them to have to pay twice for hunting our WMAs if they’re trying to make the most of their trip.”