LITTLE ROCK — Arkansans wanting to reduce the number of furbearers on their property now have additional opportunities through a free online permit developed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Commissioners voted unanimously during their June 24 meeting to relax season dates and limits regarding some furbearing predator species. The changes were made to promote the removal of these animals where landowners felt they were too abundant and causing declines in species such as wild turkeys, ground-nesting songbirds and quail.
As part of the regulations, a special Predator Control Permit was established. The permit is valid only on private property where the permit holder has permission to remove bobcats, coyotes, gray foxes, opossums, raccoons, red foxes and striped skunks. Holders of this permit may trap these species year-round in accordance with all furbearing trap regulations and may remove these animals using a firearm day or night, year-round. Anyone, including youths, participating in predator control activities will need to obtain their own permit.
This permit is not valid for use inside any incorporated city or town, and is only valid on the private property indicated on the permit application. Applications can be submitted for permits that would be used on multiple properties, but if someone desires to add more properties to their permit in the future they will need to fill out another application. It is not valid on any public land.
Visit www.agfc.com/en/hunting/furbearers/predator-control to apply for the Predator Control Permit. A hunting license is not required to apply, but individuals who have had their hunting license suspended will not be eligible for the permit. Permits expire June 30.
Coyote, raccoon, opossum and striped skunk may be shot year-round on private land during daylight hours without the permit if they are causing damage to crops, livestock, pets, or other personal property. Although AGFC biologists do not believe the relaxing of these regulations will cause a significant decline in predator populations on a statewide level, the Commission feels the added opportunity for landowners to remove heavy concentrations of these species in some areas may help other species on a local level.
Commission Chair Ken Reeves of Harrison said, “I think everyone knows that the reason we’re doing this is we simply don’t have people trapping and hunting raccoons and opossums like we did many years ago because the pelts aren’t worth much. We’re trying to fill that gap by letting private landowners reduce these predators on their property to try to boost their quail and turkey numbers.”