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Commission closes 2009 fall turkey hunting in Arkansas

From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

-- After voicing concerns about declining spring turkey harvests, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted last week to close all 2009 fall turkey hunting seasons in the state. The archery turkey season was scheduled to open on Oct. 1, followed by opening of the firearm turkey season on Oct. 26. The vote to close the season was 4-3 in favor of closing.

Commissioners Emon Mahony, Ron Pierce, Rick Watkins and Commission Vice Chairman Craig Campbell voted in favor of the closure. Commissioners George Dunklin, Ron Duncan and Commission Chairman Brett Morgan voted against the closure.

Campbell said that he’s certain there is a problem with the state’s turkey population and one way to stop its continued decline is to close the entire fall season. “I’m convinced we have a heck of a problem, but I’m convinced we’re moving in the right direction. We’re going to mess around and not have a spring turkey season if we don’t do something,” Campbell said.

Dunklin said that he felt like a decision to close the season would polarize the Commission and Arkansas’s hunters. “What concerns me is we’re dividing our user groups. We’re saying the hunter is the problem. Hunters are our partners. Without hunters, the resource goes away,” Dunklin said.

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