Waterfowl Season Reopens for Third Split; Fowl Reports Low

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LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas’s third and final split of the 60-day waterfowl season began Wednesday, Dec. 26, and the season will continue uninterrupted through its close at sunset Sunday, Jan. 27. Waterfowl hunters hope that soon enough, frigid conditions arrive in the northern midwest to move a large concentration of birds down through the migratory pathways into The Natural State. From anecdotal reports over the past week, that has yet to happen.

The early December aerial survey by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission waterfowl biologists estimated that 1.2 million total mallards were in the Delta region, with more than half of those being mallards. But with the wettest fall in several years in the state, ducks habitat has been spread far and wide, and reports from various sources say that hunting has suffered in many areas. Hunters in areas east of the Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge reported few ducks or geese seen flying over last weekend. Saturday, a decent number of snow geese were observed in the Prairie-Arkansas county region between Humnoke and Stuttgart, but well below what was observed a year ago. Guides reported that greater white-fronted geese (specklebellies) were not as prominent in their prairie fields as what they had seen earlier in the season, and milder weather than usual for the period around Christmas was one of the reasons they cited.

Duck totals in the Arkansas River Valley and the southwest part of the state were below the long-term December average in the most recent survey.

Arkansas was expecting colder conditions and a little more rainfall as the third split opened. Most eyes of waterfowlers, however, were on weather conditions in Iowa and Missouri. Northern Missouri had an estimated count earlier this year of 900,000 mallards in that region, and those birds did not appear to be interested in leaving for a trek south with milder temps and accessible habitat (re: food) available there. AGFC biologists reported that Big Lake NWR in northeast Arkansas is holding an average number of ducks for this time of year, and at times there have been good numbers of ducks seen on Lake Ashbaugh in the northeast. But for the Arkansas River Valley, Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA was typical: complete coverage of the WMA with water, but duck use varied and mostly poor to moderate.

The AGFC will conduct its third state aerial survey of the year the week of Jan. 7.

Northwest Arkansas
Dardanelle WMA
Map | Weather Report
McKennon Bottoms (half-day hunting)
Habitat: Good stand of native moist-soil vegetation.
Water Level: 100%.
Potter’s Pothole Hartman Waterfowl Unit (half-day hunting)
Habitat: Excellent stand of millet.
Water Level: 100%

Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA
Map | Weather Report
All waterfowl impoundments on Ed Gordon Point Remove WMA are at full pool at this time. Duck use on the WMA has been varied, but have been generally poor to moderate.
Little Hole (Unit 1)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Willow Island (Unit 2)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Red Gate (Unit 3)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Pig Trough (Units 4 and 5)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Cedar Ridge (Unit 6)
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 7a
Habitat: Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level:100%
Unit 7b
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Duck Trap (Units 8a, 8b and 8c)
8a
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
8b
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
8c
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 9
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa Millet.
Water Level: 100%
Controversy Corner (Unit 10)
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
Remmel Marsh
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
Mud Pond (Unit 12)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Turkey Pond (Units 13a, 13b and 13c)
13a
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
13b
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
13c
Habitat: Natural vegetation and Japanese and Chiwappa millet.
Water Level: 100%
Teeny Pond (Unit 14)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Salt Lick (Unit 15)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Bobby’s Pond (Unit 16)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Race Track (Unit 17)
Habitat: Natural vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

Frog Bayou WMA (half-day hunting)
Map | Weather Report
Unit 1
Habitat: Sprangle top crabgrass, wild millet and smartweed.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 2
Habitat: Poor moist-soil response due to August flood.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 3
Habitat: Smartweed, toothcup, wild millet and sprangle top.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 4
Habitat: Wild millet, sprangle top, smartweed, nut sedge and crabgrass.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 5
Habitat: Sprangle top, wild millet and smartweed.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 6
Habitat: Wild millet, smartweed and crabgrass.
Water Level: 100%
Unit 7
Habitat: Smartweed, wild millet and sprangle top.
Water Level: 100%

Galla Creek WMA
Map | Weather Report
Galla Creek GTR
Habitat: Excellent stand of natural vegetation, including a mixture of barnyard and smartweed.
Water Level: 100%, staged flooding of the impoundment began on Nov. 15. Duck use and hunter success on the WMA have been generally poor.

Nimrod Lloyd Millwood WMA
Map | Weather Report
Nimrod GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%.

Ozark Lake WMA/Dyer Lake Water Unit
Weather Report
Dyer Lake Cells (half-day hunting)
Habitat: Soy been stubble and native vegetation.
Water Level: Units 1 and 2, 100%. Units 3 and 4 are rainfall dependent.

Petit Jean River WMA
Map | Water Gauge | Weather Report
Santa Fe GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Olin Cain/Sore Head Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Black Lands Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Good stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Slaty Crossing Moist-Soil Unit
Habitat: Fair stand of native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%
Pullen Pond
Habitat: Half of area has a fair stand of native vegetation, other half of area has 100 acres of Japanese millet.
Water Level: 100%.
Pond Creek GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%.
Slaty Pond GTR
Habitat: Fair mast crop mixed in with native vegetation.
Water Level: 40%
Black Lands Duck Area
Habitat: Millet mixed in with good native vegetation.
Water Level: 100%

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian. Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; 20+ years experience in the news.

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