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Commission considers revised deer zone boundaries

From the Alabama Game and Fish Commission

-- Commissioners for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were presented with proposals for the 2009-2010 hunting seasons Feb. 19, and will make a final decision at its March meeting.

One major proposed change is to revise several of the current deer zones. The proposal calls for modifying the existing boundaries for deer zones 1, 2, 3, 14 and 15; dividing deer zone 6 into three zones and splitting deer zone 8 into two zones. The proposals were introduced to address goals of the Strategic Deer Management Plant. The new zones will be 1A, 6A and 8A.

Another major proposal for deer season is to remove the zone doe quota permit requirements for zones 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 11 in order to manage the doe harvest utilizing doe days. The zone doe quota permits would be replaced with doe days to manage the doe deer herd in Arkansas.

A proposal also was introduced to change the antler restrictions from a 3-point rule to a 4-point rule in deer zones 16, 16A and 17. The proposal also allows for a buck with at least one main beam 18 inches or more in length, regardless of the number of antler points, to be harvested.

A proposal to add telephone checking was presented to the commission. The proposed change would eliminate all county check stations as well as check sheet programs. Deer Management Assistance Program camps will continue to receive check sheets so biological data can be collected. If approved, the new checking option would begin with the October archery season. Along with the phone checking, on-line checking will still be available as will the check sheets at DMAP camps. The change will allow more real-time, accurate data for the AGFC biologists.

Proposed season dates for the 2009-2010 deer hunting season:

Archery – All zones:  Oct. 1 to Feb. 28.

Modern Gun - Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10 and 11:  Nov. 14-Dec. 6. 

Zone 4:  Nov. 14-15. 

Zone 5:  Nov. 14-15 and Nov. 21-22.

Zone 4A, 5A, 13, 14 and 15:  Nov. 14-Dec. 13.

Zones 4B and 5B:  Nov. 14-22.

Zones 9 and 12:  Nov. 14-Dec. 20.

Zone 16, 16A and 17:  Nov. 14-Dec. 25. 

Muzzleloader  -  Zones 1, 1A, 2, 3, 4A, 5A, 6, 6A, 7, 8, 8A, 10, 11, 13, 14 and 15:  Oct.17-25 and Dec. 19-21. 

Zones 9, 12, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 17-25 and Dec. 29-31.

Zones 4, 4B, 5 and 5B:  Closed. 

The statewide Christmas holiday modern gun deer hunt is proposed for Dec. 26-28 with two special youth modern gun deer hunts proposed. The first would be Nov. 7-8 with the second Jan. 2-3, 2010.The January hunt will be either-sex in deer zones 9, 12, 16, 16A and 17. The other deer zones will be buck only. Unlike the November youth hunt, Hunters 65+ years old would not be allowed to participate in the January hunt.

The Commission also

*Approved a memorandum of agreement with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to use just over $1 million from AGFC oil and gas lease money. The money is earmarked for use in providing frequent inspection and monitoring of drilling in the Fayetteville Shale Play area as a way to protect fish and wildlife habitat.

 *Approved the purchase of a 40-acre tract located in the Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area.

*Approved $350,000 to purchase a conservation easement on Buck Island. The island is located on the Mississippi River near Helena-West Helena.

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