Public Comment on Proposed 2019-2020 Waterfowl Hunting Season Dates
New federal frameworks recommended by the Mississippi Flyway Council and approved by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have offered the opportunity for regular duck season to extend to the last day of January. Previously, these federal regulations required duck seasons to end on the last Sunday of January (ranges from Jan. 25-31). Due to this new framework and some waterfowl hunters preferring later seasons, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission considered duck season structure options at their March 2019 meeting and has proposed to extend next year's duck season to run through Jan. 31. However, to extend the season through Jan. 31, there must also be some shifts to other portions of duck season to keep the season structure within federal frameworks.

The current U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service framework has four major criteria concerning season dates:
1) Total regular duck season hunting days cannot exceed 60;
2) The regular duck season cannot open before the Saturday closest to Sept. 24;
3) The regular duck season must close by Jan. 31, and
4) Only two splits are allowed in the season, creating three season segments.

The proposed 2019-2020 season also includes new combination youth/veteran days, in which veterans and active members of the nation’s armed forces may participate in the hunt. This also is a reflection of federal frameworks recently passed in regard to waterfowl seasons which state that veteran/youth days:

a) may be held up to 14 days before or after any regular duck-season frameworks or within any split of a regular duck season, or within any other open season on migratory birds, and
b) must be held outside any regular duck season on weekends, holidays, or other non-school days when youth hunters would have the maximum opportunity to participate.

This year’s youth/veteran hunts are proposed to be December 7 and February 8, similar to last year’s youth-only hunts.

In addition to the overall season dates, nonresidents will be allowed to hunt Arkansas wildlife management areas with a Nonresident WMA Waterfowl Hunting Permit from Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019; Dec. 27, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020; and Jan. 22-31, 2020. These dates are set in blocks of 10 to align with permits sold in 5-day increments.

Other migratory bird seasons are proposed to align as best as possible with the proposed duck season structure.

Proposed 2019-2020 Duck Hunting Season Dates:
-First Segment Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019
-Second Segment Dec. 11-Dec. 23, 2019
-Third Segment Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020

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Proposed 2019-2020 Duck Hunting Season Dates
First Segment Nov. 23-Dec. 2, 2019
Second Segment Dec. 11-Dec. 23, 2019
Third Segment Dec. 26, 2019-Jan. 31, 2020
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