Arkansas Game and Fish Commission sets waterfowl season dates

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today unanimously approved a package of regulations changes that included the adoption of a new waterfowl season structure, beginning with the 2023-24 seasons.

The upcoming waterfowl season will follow the same format as last season, with the following dates:

2022-23 Arkansas Waterfowl Seasons
Duck, Coot and Merganser — Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
White-Fronted Goose — Oct. 29-Nov. 11; Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
Canada Goose — Sept. 1-Oct. 15; Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose — Oct. 29-Nov. 11; Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Conservation Order — Feb. 1-3, 2023; Feb. 5-April 25, 2023
Youth, Military and Veteran Waterfowl Hunt — Dec. 3, 2022, and Feb. 4, 2023

Beginning with the 2023-24 waterfowl season, the opening day of the first segment of duck season will begin on the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving. This change was preferred by public comment respondents from surveys conducted in 2008, 2010 and 2012. During this year’s public comments period, 2,964 people provided input on the duck season proposal, with 68 percent giving a favorable response to the opening day being moved to the later date. To accommodate the plans of hunters and businesses impacted by the different dates, the AGFC will delay implementation until the 2023-24 waterfowl season. Those season dates will be as follows:

2023-24 Arkansas Waterfowl Seasons
Duck, Coot and Merganser — Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
White-Fronted Goose — Oct. 28-Nov. 10; Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
Canada Goose — Sept. 1-Oct. 15; Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose — Oct. 28-Nov. 10; Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Conservation Order — Feb. 1-2, 2024; Feb. 5-April 25, 2024
Youth Only Waterfowl Hunt — Feb. 3, 2024
Youth, Military and Veteran Waterfowl Hunt — Feb. 4, 2024

In addition to the date changes, the new regulations package increases the daily bag limit on white-fronted geese from two to three birds per hunter per day.

Today’s regulations package also saw some changes on some AGFC-owned WMAs. Beginning with the 2023-24 duck season, waterfowl hunting will now be limited to Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday on Bell Slough, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Frog Bayou and Galla Creek WMAs and on the Dyer Lake Unit of Ozark Lake WMA. Additionally, boat access on all WMAs with current boating time restrictions will be expanded to preclude any boats on the WMAs for seven days preceding the first day of the first segment of regular duck season.

Another regulation that passed in today’s waterfowl package includes the requirement for nontoxic shot for all migratory bird hunting on AGFC WMAs that have waterfowl access restrictions. This primarily concerns dove hunting and early migratory bird hunting, as lead shot will still be allowed for other small game hunting, such as rabbit and squirrel, on these areas.

An additional regulation will require all boats on these WMAs to operate only with a stock, factory exhaust system. Implementation of this regulation also will be delayed until the 2023-24 waterfowl season.