The 2022-23 Arkansas Waterfowl Hunting Guidebook will be delivered to sporting goods stores, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regional offices and AGFC nature centers within the next few weeks, but you don’t have to wait to get the details about this year’s duck season. The digital version of the guidebook is available right now at www.agfc.com. Download it to your computer or mobile device, so you always have a current copy of the regs ready should a question arise in the field.
The AGFC addresses season dates and regulations biennially, and this summer it set waterfowl hunting dates for 2022-23 and 2023-24, as well as made a few modifications to regulations concerning waterfowl hunting in Arkansas. Some of these changes went into effect for 2022-23, but others have been delayed to allow hunters a year to adjust their plans and hunting equipment should they be countercurrent to the new regulation.
Luke Naylor, AGFC chief of wildlife management, said, “As duck hunters who use public land ourselves, we know how some of the coming changes may affect a person’s ability to get out and hunt or work around schedules to get to the woods. We delayed implementation on a few of these changes to accommodate that. Other changes are effective immediately, so it’s a good idea to read the guidebook carefully before going hunting so you know exactly what has changed and what’s coming.”
Notable changes to this year’s regulations include:
- The white-fronted goose season is now 74 days with a 3-bird daily bag limit.
- Boat access restrictions on certain WMAs now include the seven days preceding the first day (Nov. 19) of the first segment of regular duck season.
- On Galla Creek WMA, the area accessible by boat from the Arkansas River Cutoff west of Flag Lake Road is excluded from boat and access restrictions.
- Federally approved nontoxic shot is only required for ducks, coots, mergansers and geese, except on certain WMAs and national wildlife refuges, where it is required for all migratory bird hunting.
- Applicants for special drawn permit waterfowl hunts are limited to one application for WRICE program fields, one application for wildlife management draws and one application for youth hunts (if applicable) per application period.
The following regulations will be effective beginning next year for the 2023-24 season:
- The regular duck, coot and merganser season in 2023-24 will be Nov. 25-Dec. 3, Dec. 9-23 and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024.
- Beginning in the 2023-24 waterfowl season, waterfowl hunting on Bell Slough, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Frog Bayou and Galla Creek WMAs and the Dyer Lake Unit of Ozark Lake WMA is limited to Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday during regular duck season and all day on the last day of regular duck season.
- Beginning in the 2023-24 waterfowl season, the Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt will be the first Saturday and Sunday in February (Feb. 3-4).
- Beginning in the 2023-24 waterfowl season, the Special Veteran and Active-duty Military Waterfowl Hunt will be the first Sunday in February (Feb. 4).
- Beginning in the 2023-24 waterfowl season, all boats on the following WMAs will be required to have motors with only factory exhaust systems in place: Bell Slough, Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita, Big Lake, Camp Robinson, Cut-Off Creek, Cypress Bayou, Dave Donaldson Black River, Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc, Earl Buss Bayou DeView, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Frog Bayou, Galla Creek, Harris Brake, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake, Petit Jean River, Rex Hancock Black Swamp, Seven Devils, Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms, Sheffield Nelson Dagmar, Shirey Bay Rainey Brake and Sulphur River WMAs. The following national wildlife refuges also will follow this regulation change beginning in the 2023-24 season: Cache River, Dale Bumpers White River, Felsenthal and Overflow NWRs.
Visit www.agfc.com to download a copy of the 2022-23 Waterfowl Hunting Guidebook.