LITTLE ROCK — Hunters looking for excellent opportunities to limited-access public hunting land can apply for special permit waterfowl hunts on three wildlife management areas and 11 private fields leased by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission beginning Nov. 14.
More than 60,000 acres of wetland habitat are available for waterfowl hunters through Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wildlife management areas, nearly all of which is open on a first-come, first-served basis. However, a few select locations are reserved through drawn permit hunts to increase hunter satisfaction and prevent conflicts from hunters setting up too close to one another.
Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA reserves special opportunities through online drawings for all waterfowl hunters. Additional opportunities have become available this year on private fields leased through the AGFC’s Waterfowl Rice Incentive Conservation Enhancement Program.
Permit hunts are nothing new for Raft Creek WMA near Georgetown. It has been managed through lottery-style drawings on weekends for years to reduce crowding and provide a higher quality hunting experience. In addition to dozens of hunting locations available to the public via on-site drawings on Saturdays and Sundays during duck season, some locations are reserved for online drawings conducted a week before each hunting period the area is open. A special mobility-impaired blind and youth blind also are available only through these online drawings. The first application period for these hunts is Nov. 14-17 for hunts on Nov. 23 and 24. Only certain locations are drawn online, and only for Saturdays and Sundays. If permit holders do not claim their location before that day’s on-site draw is conducted (2 hours before shooting light), the locations are offered in the on-site draw. Hunting on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is open on a first-come, first-served basis and hunters may set up throughout the WMA.
For this year, 11 locations enrolled in the WRICE program will be open to hunting through a public draw. Fields are located in seven different counties near the communities of Humnoke, Knobel, Brinkley, Childers, Sand Hill, Gregory and Jerome. Each location will be available every Saturday and Sunday of regular duck season including the Youth/Veteran waterfowl hunts. Successful applicants will get the field for both Saturday and Sunday. Applications for each hunt will be accepted on Thursday through Sunday of the preceding weekend. The first application period for WRICE fields is Nov. 14-17 to draw for opening weekend of duck season (Nov. 23-24).
Hunters can visit www.agfc.com and click the green “Buy License|Check Game” button to go to the AGFC’s licensing site. All waterfowl permit hunts are listed under “WMA Applications.” Each application costs $5. Successful applicants will be notified by email.