JONESBORO — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission presided over a light agenda at its meeting Thursday at the Forrest L. Wood / Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center.
The main item was a proposal from Doyle Shook, the AGFC’s chief of wildlife, to allow holders of an Arkansas concealed handgun license to possess concealed handguns on wildlife management areas at any time. It also would allow hunters with a concealed handgun license to possess handguns on private land at times when they are presently prohibited, such as during archery deer season and muzzleloader deer season. As part of the proposal, the Arkansas State Police would revoke a concealed handgun license if a hunter accumulated 18 points for fish and wildlife violations.
“Our division will notify the state police when somebody has accumulated enough points for revocation of their concealed handgun license,” Shook said.
In other wildlife-related business, the commission approved waterfowl hunting regulations for the Lake DeGray WMA. The commission also approved a budget increase of $ 25, 000, which it will donate to Ducks Unlimited for habitat improvement and purchasing conservation easements in the Prairie Pothole Region of Saskatchewan. Earlier in the day, the commission heard a presentation from commissioner Brett Morgan about the importance of this area for wild duck production. Morgan recently toured a DU project in the Allan Hills Region of Saskatchewan with commissioners George Dunklin and Rick Watkins.
In addition, the commission approved a $ 25, 000 budget increase to replace a water flow structure at Dave Donaldson / Black River WMA. Jerry King, regional maintenance supervisor for the AGFC, said the structure is badly corroded and in danger of failing.
“We decided to replace it prior to flooding in mid-October,” King said.
In fisheries-related business, the commission approved a budget increase of $ 200, 000 to purchase an excavating machine, which will be used for three streambank stabilization projects in the White River basin. An Environmental Protection Agency grant will reimburse the AGFC for the cost of the equipment.
In his monthly financial report, Ray Sebren, chief of the AGFC’s fiscal division, said the agency sold about 4, 600 fewer resident hunting licenses in October than it did in October 2006. He also said that conservation sales tax receipts in October were down about $ 109, 000 compared with October 2006, a 2. 5 percent decrease.