Duck Hunters Take Legal Shot at Game & Fish Commission

by George Waldon  on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012 12:00 am  

Northeast Arkansas duck hunters won an injunction last week against the G&FC's plan to dismantle privately maintained blinds on public lands. (Photo by AGFC)

"Only blinds which have been assigned an identification number by the commission on or before June 30, 2006, are allowed to remain on the area.

Currently there are approximately 165 inventoried blinds on Big Lake WMA, 120 inventoried blinds on St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA and 200 maintained holes on Dave Donaldson Black River WMA.*

"Construction of new blinds is currently prohibited, but annual maintenance of inventoried blinds is permitted.

"Duck hunting blinds are not permitted on Dave Donaldson Black River WMA. However, hunters are allowed to maintain duck hunting holes and leave their decoys in place overnight during duck season.

"The blinds and holes have historically been maintained and used by local hunting parties. Anecdotal reports suggested some of the hunting parties maintaining the blinds and holes have attempted to control access and prevent other hunters from using these areas.

"Numerous reports and complaints have been made by hunters who have attempted to use the blinds and holes but were turned away by local hunting parties known to have maintained and regularly used the blinds and holes.

"Over the past three or four years, the reports from hunters have become more tangible.

There were seven reported hunter harassment-related incidents on these three areas during the 2011-2012 waterfowl hunting season.

"Dave Donaldson Black River had two complaints with one citation issued for hunter harassment ...

"Big Lake had two complaints, with one case still pending in court due to a hunter being shot.

"St. Francis Sunken Lands had three complaints with one citation issued for hunter harassment ..."

*The Arkansas Game & Fish Commission doesn't allow anyone to maintain permanent duck blinds or duck holes or leave decoys in place overnight on any other public WMAs.



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