Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Triple Trophy Award available to deer hunters

LITTLE ROCK – Deer season may be winding down, but there’s still a reward for those lucky and skilled enough to hit the trifecta of deer hunting. Applications for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Triple Trophy Award may be submitted online by April 10, 2017.

Hunters who qualify for the Triple Trophy Award must, within a single annual deer season, take at least one deer by each of the three legal hunting methods – modern firearms, muzzleloading rifle or pistol, and archery/crossbow tackle. Qualifying hunters receive certificates suitable for framing and a patch to place on their hunting vest or jacket.

The program began in the mid-1980s to encourage primitive weapons hunting. It was intended to accomplish two things – to increase the harvest of antlerless deer, and to spread out hunting pressure and reduce crowding during modern gun season.

In addition to more liberal seasons, hunters using archery tackle and muzzleloaders are more apt to harvest antlerless deer because of the increased difficulty of using those weapons.

Protecting does was essential decades ago, while managers where trying to increase the total number of deer in the state. Now that deer are plentiful, the management goal must shift to keeping the herd at healthy levels for the habitat available.

Applications are available from the AGFC, 501-223-6351, or online by clicking here.

Harvesting trees essential to wildlife management

LITTLE ROCK – Every year, a few hunters who enjoy public land hunting on Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas will arrive to their traditional stand location only to realize that their favorite tree to hang a stand in has been removed by a logging operation during the summer. The feeling of being displaced can be heartbreaking at first, but the change is necessary if hunters hope to continue having excellent results on the public land owned by the AGFC.
Martin Blaney is the statewide habitat program coordinator for the AGFC. He’s heard from many concerned hunters and even state representatives about logging operations during his 31 years implementing forestry practices for wildlife habitat on WMAs. But there is much more going on in tree harvests than money. The forest management practices are necessary if we wish to continue meeting the habitat needs of wildlife in the future.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Public input meeting scheduled for Lake Chicot anglers

LAKE VILLAGE – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special public input meeting regarding the future of fisheries management on Lake Chicot at 7 p.m., Feb. 16, at the Lake Village Expo Center in Chicot County.

Lake Chicot is known for its fabulous sport fishing, particularly for largemouth bass and crappie . Part of that reputation is the result of sound biological management with the input of anglers to help steer the focus of the fishery.

“We have had a fishery management plan using public input in place for Lake Chicot since 2002,” said Diana Andrews, AGFC regional fisheries biologist. “That plan is reviewed every five years to determine if revisions are needed and this public meeting coincides with that review schedule.”

Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17-20

LITTLE ROCK – The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count will draw bird-watching enthusiasts from all walks of life to take a little extra note of our feathered friends this February 17-20. All it takes to participate is a little extra time and an eye for detail to identify birds you see.

The GBBC is one of the largest and longest-running internet-based, citizen science programs, with more than 160,000 bird watchers in more than 100 countries participating. According to a release from the Audubon Society, last year’s count reported 5,689 species – more than half the known bird species in the world.

The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

To participate, bird watchers simply count the number and species of birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. Participants enter their checklists at birdcount.org, and all the data is compiled to give a snapshot of bird species distribution and abundance. Twenty years of data is compared to identify trends in species and their distribution.

"The very first GBBC was an experiment," said the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. "We wanted to see if people would use the Internet to send us their bird sightings. Clearly the experiment was a success!" eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the GBBC.

Karen Rowe, nongame migratory bird program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says the GBBC is an excellent example of how every individual can help make a difference in learning more about how weather and other factors are affecting the birds.

“Many people just assume that it’s just biologists and ornithologists that are out conducting surveys, but by adding all the birders information gathered in counts like this, we can really see things on a large scale,” said Rowe. “Every person involved can make a significant difference.”

Rowe says the timing of the GBBC makes it possible to see how shifting weather patterns can impact species and populations.

“The influx of Snowy Owls during the count in 2014 verified the thoughts that this species was beginning to move further southward,” Rowe said. “And with this winter’s unusually warm weather, it’s really going to be interesting to see what patterns develop.”

Another benefit for birders during the count is the ability to see many different species visiting their feeders. Food is harder to find during late winter, so feeders become much more attractive to birds than is the case during spring or summer counts. Many species also have begun working their way back north for their spring migration, adding to the variety of species found in The Natural State.

“Often shifts in species or populations in birds can be the little red light in your car telling you what’s going on,” Rowe said. “Impacts to birds from weather or other factors may be something that could affect people down the line, so keeping a watch on the birds is important for everyone, not just birders.”

Photographers also are encouraged to participate in the count, as a special photography contest was introduced in 2006. Since then, tens of thousands of stunning images have been submitted. For the 20th anniversary of the GBBC, the public is invited to vote for their favorite top photo from each of the past 11 years in a special album they will find on the GBBC website home page. Voting takes place during the four days of the GBBC.

Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at birdcount.org.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Trails of Life Grants Advisory Committee to Meet

NEWS MEDIA NOTICE: Trails for Life Grants Advisory Committee to meet Feb. 24
Submitted by Arkansas State Parks

February 10, 2017 – The Trails for Life Grants Advisory Committee will hold a meeting and conduct the Trails for Life Grant hearings on February 24, 2017, in Jacksonville.

The committee will meet with the Outdoor Recreation Grants Program staff at 8:00 a.m. and hearings will be held beginning at 12:00 noon in meeting rooms A and B of the Jacksonville Community Center, located at 5 Municipal Drive, Jacksonville, Arkansas, 72076. The committee has scheduled five minutes for each applicant to describe their grant request and answer questions the committee might have to assist them with the grant award recommendations.

For more information contact John Beneke, Director, Outdoor Recreation Grants Program, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72201, 501-682-1301.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 17-20

LITTLE ROCK – The 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count will draw bird-watching enthusiasts from all walks of life to take a little extra note of our feathered friends this February 17-20. All it takes to participate is a little extra time and an eye for detail to identify birds you see.
The GBBC is one of the largest and longest-running internet-based, citizen science programs, with more than 160,000 bird watchers in more than 100 countries participating. According to a release from the Audubon Society, last year’s count reported 5,689 species – more than half the known bird species in the world.
The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.  
            To participate, bird watchers simply count the number and species of birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. Participants enter their checklists at birdcount.org, and all the data is compiled to give a snapshot of bird species distribution and abundance. Twenty years of data is compared to identify trends in species and their distribution.
           "The very first GBBC was an experiment," said the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program. "We wanted to see if people would use the Internet to send us their bird sightings. Clearly the experiment was a success!" eBird collects bird observations globally every day of the year and is the online platform used by the GBBC.
            Karen Rowe, nongame migratory bird program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says the GBBC is an excellent example of how every individual can help make a difference in learning more about how weather and other factors are affecting the birds.
            “Many people just assume that it’s just biologists and ornithologists that are out conducting surveys, but by adding all the birders information gathered in counts like this, we can really see things on a large scale,” said Rowe. “Every person involved can make a significant difference.”
            Rowe says the timing of the GBBC makes it possible to see how shifting weather patterns can impact species and populations.
            “The influx of Snowy Owls during the count in 2014 verified the thoughts that this species was beginning to move further southward,” Rowe said. “And with this winter’s unusually warm weather, it’s really going to be interesting to see what patterns develop.”
            Another benefit for birders during the count is the ability to see many different species visiting their feeders. Food is harder to find during late winter, so feeders become much more attractive to birds than is the case during spring or summer counts. Many species also have begun working their way back north for their spring migration, adding to the variety of species found in The Natural State.
            “Often shifts in species or populations in birds can be the little red light in your car telling you what’s going on,” Rowe said. “Impacts to birds from weather or other factors may be something that could affect people down the line, so keeping a watch on the birds is important for everyone, not just birders.”
Photographers also are encouraged to participate in the count, as a special photography contest was introduced in 2006. Since then, tens of thousands of stunning images have been submitted. For the 20th anniversary of the GBBC, the public is invited to vote for their favorite top photo from each of the past 11 years in a special album they will find on the GBBC website home page. Voting takes place during the four days of the GBBC.
           Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at birdcount.org.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TRAINING

The Bradley County Cooperative Extension Service will be conducting a Private Applicator Training for agricultural producers on Thursday, February 16th at 6:00 p.m. at the Bradley County Extension Office, located at 100 E. First Street (behind the Courthouse).  Agricultural producers must be certified by training to be eligible for a Restricted Pesticide License in order to purchase and apply restricted-use pesticides.

There is a $10.00 fee for the pesticide applicator training.  You will pay at the door on the night of the training.  The training is approximately three hours long, and producers must attend the entire training to be certified.  If you have any questions, please contact John Gavin at 870-226-8410.  The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.  If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your Bradley County Extension Office as soon as possible.  Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.