Thursday, August 10, 2017

AGFC vehicles and surplus inventory auctioned online

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission currently has many used vehicles and items available at govdeals.com. As part of its ongoing effort to remove outdated equipment, the agency has developed a new model to remove inventory that has outlived its expected useful lifespan by using the online auction site.

“All items have been deemed too expensive to repair or at the end of their serviceable life,” said Leonard Dean, operations and facility manager for the AGFC. “Some items still have some years left in them, but buyers are warned that these items are sold as-is, and they typically will need some sort of repair work now or in the near future.”

Dean says the current list of inventory on the site includes many vehicles, some of which have spent more than a few hours on the back roads of The Natural State.

“Money raised through these auctions helps offset the cost of purchasing new equipment and helps us save taxpayer money where we can,” Dean said. “The more money we save on replacing equipment, the more money we have to devote to work on the ground for wildlife and fisheries management.”

Click here to view a current list of items available.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Arkansas Deer Hunt Permits Drawn

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has completed the much-anticipated drawing for permits to hunt white-tailed deer on some of the most popular wildlife management areas in the state. Email notifications for all permit holders were distributed Thursday to inform applicants of their status.
                The draws for youth hunts and archery hunts were completed early in the day, and muzzleloader permit hunts were wrapped up by late afternoon. Modern gun permit applicants likely received their email notification around bedtime, as the process was completed and confirmed late in the evening.
                Notifications for all applicants were delivered; however some may have been caught up in spam folders or buried in other emails. Applicants may check their status through a desktop or laptop computer. Successful applicants can claim their permits by visiting https://ar-web.s3licensing.com/, choosing “WMA Applications” and clicking the “WMA Permits” tab. Select your permit and finish by clicking “Complete Purchase.” Although the final command indicates a purchase, there is no charge for the process.
                “With this year’s change to application fees being reduced and collected at the time of application, the need for the previous $10 processing fee is gone,” said Brad Carner, AGFC chief of wildlife management. “The up-front application fee also reduced the amount of half-hearted applications we received.”
                According to Carner, slightly more than 20,000 applications were received last year for all of the deer permit hunts; last year 13,289 applications were received. This helped increase the remaining applicants’ odds of receiving a permit, and eliminated the need for any additional draws for unclaimed spots in each hunt.
                “We still have a few hunts that had more permits available than applicants,” Carner said. “We will compile that list and sell those through an online permit sale in the next few weeks.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Free Permit Needed for Wildlife Management Areas

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wants to get to know you better, especially if you enjoy one of the many wildlife management areas around the state. People who hunt, trap, fish or boat on WMAs are now required to obtain a free General Use WMA Permit through the Commission’s license system. The permit may be obtained online at https://ar-web.s3licensing.com, at any license vendor or by calling 800-364-4263. It can be added as a code to your existing license or obtained on its own.

 According to Brad Carner, chief of wildlife management for the AGFC, the purpose of the license is to be able to find out exactly how many people are using the public lands the AGFC manages and what outdoors pursuits they enjoy while on the areas.

 “Historically we have done vehicle counts at popular WMAs, but this permit will allow us to get much more accurate data on WMA usage,” Carner said.


 The permit is an expansion of the Sweet 16 Permits introduced in 2012. The permit portion of the program was intended to gather more information about hunter use and satisfaction on some of the more popular wildlife management areas in the state. Other portions of that program included modifications to antler-point restrictions, increased data collection to monitor herd health and habitat usage in deer and disease monitoring.

 “One of the greatest benefits we saw from the permits was the ability reach out and ask our hunters and anglers about proposed regulations and information they needed to know before going to the WMA,” Carner said. “The free permit required an email address, so we could let hunters who frequented some WMAs know if roads were closed or if deer season on the area had been shut down because of flooding. We also were able to survey hunters on many proposed regulations.”

One example of the Commission using this contact information in the regulations-setting process was the reintroduction of the spinning-wing decoy ban on WMAs. Biologists surveyed duck hunters using Sweet 16 Permit information to find out how many hunters were actually using the decoys and how they felt about the proposed change.

“We want to use every means possible to reach out to hunters and anglers on an area,” Carner said. “And these new permits give us the ability to do that without the burden on hunters to fill out daily passes and other methods of data collection.”

Arkansas Alligator Permit Draw Complete

Thousands of Arkansans have been waiting on pins and needles for the last few weeks to find out if they were one of the lucky few who drew a chance at harvesting an alligator in Arkansas this year. Today, 101 individuals got the good news.

Online Test Available for Boating Education

Boaters looking for a Boating Education course near them now have the option to take the complete course and test online, from the comfort of their own home.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has offered an online course option for many years, but participants were required to print a certificate at home and go to a testing site near them to complete their test. Thanks to recent legislation, the requirement of a proctored, in-person exam has been lifted to make it easier for people to get on Arkansas’s waters and stay safe while doing so.

“If you pass the test, you will receive a temporary voucher to print until your permanent card arrives in the mail,” said Alex Hinson, AGFC Boating Education coordinator. “The online option is administered by Kalkomey, who handles boating and hunter education for many states, and is customized to fit Arkansas’s boating laws.”


While convenient, the online option does cost a small fee. Kalkomey collects $24.50 for the online course.

The AGFC still offers, and recommends, free in-person classes for boater education. Classes last a six hours, which can be completed in two nights or a full day, depending on the course scheduled.

“I personally feel that people get a lot more out of the in-person classes, especially younger students,” Hinson said. “There’s just more opportunity to have questions answered and clear up anything that a person might be confused about. But the new option is definitely more convenient.”

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1986 and of legal age to operate a motorboat or sailboat, must have successfully completed an approved boating education course and carry proof while operating a motorboat or sailboat on Arkansas waters. To operate a motorboat powered by an engine of 10 horsepower or more, a person must be 12 or older, or be under the direct supervision of a person at least 18. To operate a personal watercraft, a person must be 16 or older, be 12 to 15 years old and under the direct supervision of someone at least 18. People younger than 12 may only operate a personal watercraft while under the direct supervision of someone at least 21.

Visit www.agfc.com/boatered for more information about Boater Education in Arkansas.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A-State Expands Research, Education Role With Endangered Red Wolves Conservation

JONESBORO - Arkansas State University plans to leverage its educational, research and communication resources this fall to increase its national role in the preservation of the endangered American red wolf species.

A-State projects with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis were presented last week at the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan Education Summit and Conservation Centers for Species Survival meeting at the White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla.

Dr. Thomas Risch, professor of animal ecology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, said the Arkansas Center for Biodiversity Collections on campus has been designated by the FWS as the national specimen bank for blood and tissue samples for red wolves. Remains of deceased red wolves will also be processed by the center.

"An estimated 274 red wolves remain in the U.S., and 234 of those are in captivity at wildlife centers and zoos," Risch said. "We will catalog all specimens and provide valuable research guidance to Red Wolf SSP participants in ongoing breeding and protection efforts."

A-State's depository designation will be similar to the efforts of the University of New Mexico's Museum of Southwestern Biology, which handles historic specimens of the endangered Mexican wolf. Tracy Klotz, a biology instructor, serves as A-State's collection manager for mammals and will work with faculty and students in the department to process and research specimens submitted by facilities throughout the country that house red wolves. He provided participants with carcass, tissue and blood sampling protocols.


"This is an extraordinary opportunity for the Department of Biological Sciences to have a major role in the conservation and research of an iconic American mammal species that is the most endangered wolf in the world," Risch said. "I'm happy that our university, and in particular our wildlife ecology students, can accept an important role in protecting a species that is also our beloved mascot."

Jeff Hankins, vice president for strategic communications and economic development for the ASU System, also attended the Red Wolf SSP meeting and met with conservation leaders to discuss A-State's efforts and ongoing role.

"Directors of wildlife centers and zoos across the country who are passionate about the American red wolf are very impressed with and appreciative of A-State's plans," Hankins said. "We're in a unique position to educate our students and alumni about the plight of the endangered red wolves. Our Red Wolves athletics program significantly enhances these efforts with prominent national media attention for the red wolf name."

The A-State Wildlife Ecology Club in January hosted a screening of the "Red Wolf Revival" documentary. This fall, all A-State freshmen will use "The Secret World of Red Wolves" as its First-Year Experience common reader. The biology department is organizing a "Red Wolves for Red Wolves" organization to promote conservation, and the campus is embracing new Chancellor Kelly Damphousse's overall theme of "Every Red Wolf Counts."

"I'm thrilled about all our efforts related to red wolves conservation and education," Damphousse said. "I appreciate the leadership of Dr. Risch and his team, and I love the enthusiasm of the students who want to make a difference in preserving the nation's ecosystem as Red Wolves saving red wolves."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Remember The Three R's When Boating On A River

LITTLE ROCK – The heat of summer often leads anglers to large rivers. The promise of large catfish and an extended period of fish activity is thanks to current keeping surface water moving and slightly cooler than in backwaters and reservoirs. But traveling on large rivers like the Arkansas can be a daunting task for people who don’t understand the meaning of all those buoys and channel markers. How do you know which side of the buoys to stay on when traveling up or down a river?


Remember the 3Rs of boating: "Red right returning." It applies in Arkansas and all over the nation.
Whether you are paddling a canoe, chugging along in a john boat, zipping by in a bass boat or cruising on a houseboat, this simple rule will keep you in the right place - in the channel where it's safe.

Returning means coming upstream from the ocean or the mouth of the stream. Keep the red buoys on your right as you travel upstream. That means the green buoys will be on your left.
If you are going downstream, just reverse this. The red buoys will be on your left, green buoys on your right.

Buoys are found in many sizes and shapes. Only red and green ones mark channels. Others are white and are for information. This may be directions to a facility, for controlled areas like no-wake zones, and to identify underwater dangers like rocks or dams. A buoy with black and white vertical stripes marks an obstruction; don't travel between it and the shore or bank.

For more details on boating navigation rules in Arkansas, visit www.agfc.com/en/get-involved/first-steps-outdoors/boatered and download "The Handbook of Arkansas Boating Laws and Responsibilities."