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Arkansas elk harvest up from last year

From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

-- Arkansas’s 2009 elk harvest was up five animals from last year’s season. During last week’s short meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, commissioners were provided a harvest report on the state’s recent elk season.

Cory Gray, the AGFC’s elk biologist, reported a total of 21 elk were harvested during the state’s three seasons. In 2008, only 16 elk were harvested in Arkansas. On public lands this year, 16 elk were taken. Five elk were taken during the private land hunts.

During the September hunt, four bull elk were taken by hunters. In December, hunters took 17 elk. The largest bull harvested weighed in at a live weight of 800 pounds. The largest cow weighed a dressed weight of 370 pounds and the largest antlers were a 7x7. Since the modern Arkansas elk hunt began in 1998, a total of 275 elk have been taken by hunters.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved a Fisheries Division recommendation to amend the reciprocal license agreement between Arkansas and Missouri for mussel harvest on the St. Francis River. Because there has been no reported mussel harvest in Missouri over the past several years, the state of Missouri is closing the harvest of mussels. Mussel harvest data since 2001 and harvest from the St. Francis River in water that borders with Missouri has been low. Harvest only occurred in 2003, 2004 and 2005 within Clay and Greene counties. Commercial mussel takers licensed in Arkansas can still harvest mussels in the Arkansas portion of the river. The agreement still allows anglers and commercial fishermen with Missouri or Arkansas licenses to fish in either state’s waters. The change in the regulation goes into effect immediately.

• Approved a grant in the amount of $625,624.15 for fines collected from game law convictions. The money goes back to the county where the fine was collected. The grant is used to fund educational programs focused on fish, wildlife and conservation in the counties where the offenses occurred.

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