New permit available to nonresident waterfowlers

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission panel of commissioners unanimously approved a new 30-day permit for nonresident duck hunters who wish to hunt on Game and Fish wildlife management areas.

According to the Arkansas Code of Regulations, nonresidents may only duck hunt on wildlife management areas during the first nine days of regular duck season, as well as Dec. 27-Jan. 5 and Jan. 21-31. To hunt, they must have a valid 5-day nonresident wildlife management area waterfowl hunting permit or the new 30-day nonresident wildlife management area waterfowl hunting permit.

The creation of the new permit satisfied an issue with the reduced number of days a nonresident could hunt on wildlife management areas. Without it, a nonresident hunter would have had to purchase seven of the 5-day permits at $40 each to be able to hunt the full allotment of 30 days allowed each season, with two of those permits not being able to be used to their full extent.

The new 30-day nonresident wildlife management area waterfowl hunting permit costs $200 and is valid for all dates nonresidents may hunt waterfowl on state wildlife management areas.

Another change to the Game and Fish Code of Regulations was an increase to the yearly limit of the agency's new Resident Natural State Lifetime Combination License and Permit available to Arkansas residents age 10 and under. Initially, 500 of these licenses were to be sold per fiscal year, but that cap has now been raised to 1,000 licenses available for purchase each fiscal year. The license, which gives its recipients the privileges associated with a resident combination sportsman's license, Arkansas state duck stamp and Arkansas trout stamp for life, is available for $500. That's a $500 savings from the standard lifetime hunting and fishing sportsman's permit that offers the same privileges.

Spencer Griffith, a Game and Fish deputy director, said the eligibility of a youth to qualify for this license is backdated to Aug. 1, 2023.

"Anyone who was under 10 as of Aug. 1 can get this license this year," Griffith said. "We already have more than 350 of these licenses sold, and we expect to see many more purchased as Christmas presents for youths this year."