Thursday, April 27, 2017

Changes to Arkansas fishing regulations proposed for public comment

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioners heard proposed changes to fishing regulations for 2018 at last week’s monthly Commission meeting. All proposed changes are available for viewing and public comment via online survey at https://survey.agfc.com.

“Some of these changes are simply cleaning up some language in the code to eliminate confusion, others are the result of scientific data collection indicating a need for change, and some are changes derived from requests from anglers which will not hurt the resource,” said Ben Batten, assistant chief of fisheries for the AGFC. “We always leave an open slot on our surveys to gather more public comment, and I encourage everyone to take that opportunity to voice their concerns.”

Batten says many anglers may feel like their comments go unnoticed, but biologists take every statement to heart.

Elk permit application period opens May 1

LITTLE ROCK – If you’ve applied for an Arkansas elk permit in the past, you’ll see one major change this year when the application period opens May 1. Beginning this year, applying for an Arkansas elk permit will require a nonrefundable $5 application fee.

Under the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s new permit and license system, all permit applications will carry the same $5 fee.

“Elk, alligator, and WMA hunt permits for deer and turkeys, as well as waterfowl hunt permits for Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms, Sheffield Nelson Dagmar and Freddie Black Choctaw Island West Unit WMAs, will now have this upfront cost,” said Brad Carner, chief of wildlife management for the AGFC. “We’re hoping the small fee will help eliminate some of the applicants who do not really have the intention of hunting under the permit if they’re drawn.”

Adjustments to nonresident waterfowl permits proposed

LITTLE ROCK – There may be some limits to the amount of time nonresident hunters may pursue waterfowl on Arkansas Game and Fish Commission controlled wildlife management areas in the next year. After many phone calls, letters and posts to social media from Arkansas hunters, the AGFC is proposing one possible way to give resident hunters additional preference on public land in The Natural State.

Currently, a nonresident waterfowl hunter is required to have a special nonresident WMA permit to hunt on many of the public areas focused on waterfowl management. They may purchase a five-day permit for $25 or an annual permit for $100, and may hunt any WMA.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fitts moves into AGFC assistant deputy director spot

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has announced Pat Fitts will move into the assistant deputy director position, which was vacant.
Fitts’ previous position was colonel of the agency’s Enforcement Division. He has been with the agency for 28 years, and began his career as a fisheries technician at the Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery in Lonoke. Fitts has a bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife management from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.
AGFC Director Jeff Crow said Fitts has demonstrated the character, initiative and work ethic necessary to be successful at the agency.
“I have no doubt he will apply the same selflessness and passion to this new role the same way he has to all the positions he has held during his distinguished career,” Crow said. “I am proud to welcome Pat to the administrative leadership team and look forward to his contribution to the AGFC’s continued progress.”
Fitts said he was humbled by the opportunities he’s had at the AGFC.
“I’m blessed to have spent my entire adult life serving alongside amazing people protecting our valuable natural resources.”
Fitts and his wife, Alice, have been married for 28 years. Their son, Austin, his wife, Aubrey, and granddaughter, Amelia, live in southeastern Arkansas. They also have a daughter, Audrey Kay, who is a junior at Arkansas Tech University.

Monday, April 17, 2017

U AM Finishes 11th At Southeastern Wildlife Society Conclave

The Wildlife Society at the University of Arkansas at Monticello placed 11th out of 24 colleges and universities competing in the recent Southeast Wildlife Society Conclave competition hosted by Mississippi State University. UAM placed eighth in the overall academic competition. Individually, Gabrielle Clemons finished third in dendrology and the team of Cody Martin, Koven Minor, Wesley Holley and Jacob Sas placed second in the obstacle course competition. Pictured from left are (first row) Kaitlyn Barnes of Warren, Tara Bayird of Monticello, Madallene Capriotti-Ross of Little Rock, Samantha Dixon of Little Rock, Callie Moore of Canada, Kenya Barner of Little Rock, Amanda Medaries of Monroe, La., Ethan Massey of Baton Rouge, La., Dr. Douglas Osborne, faculty sponsor, (second row) Gabrielle Clemons of Gillette, Koven Minor of Crossett, Ty Dillon of Lonoke, Daniel Oden of Carlisle, Cody Martin of Lonoke, (third row) Jacob Sas of Benton, Brayden Fisher of Redfield, Tyler Wright of Malvern and Wesley Holley of Rison.

Pasture Spraying Equipment Workshop

Location: Fordyce Civic Center
Date:  Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Time:  6:00 - 8:00 p.m.)

This workshop is sponsored by the U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service (Dallas County) and offered to anyone interested in pasture spraying equipment and guidance systems.  There is no charge to attend the workshop.  Topics presented by:

Jason Davis, U of A Application Technologist-Crop, Soil and Environment Science

Topics include:

Equipment Guidance Systems (ATV's, Tractors)
Spray Calibration
Boom vs. Boomless Sprayers

Bullfrog season opens April 15

LITTLE ROCK – April 15 isn’t just time to do your taxes. It’s the kickoff the most exciting summer pursuit in Arkansas bayous, the opening of bullfrog season. Bullfrogs can be found across Arkansas, but the heaviest concentrations usually are found along the many ponds, slow-moving streams and fish farms in the east half of the state. It may take some door-knocking and asking for permission, but some small, private ponds can prove worth the effort once you break out the gigging gear.

Some froggers don waders or rubber boots to ease along the banks as quietly as possible, but many slide silently along in an aluminum johnboat or kayak, using only an electric trolling motor or a sculling paddle to get close to the easily spooked amphibians.