This Saturday will present another opportunity this season for adults to help mentor young hunters in the fields or the flooded timber areas in pursuit of waterfowl.
The second of two youth and veteran waterfowl hunts will give a few hunters one more shot at Arkansas’s premier game species before the waterfowl season finally wraps for 2020-21. The Special Active Duty Military and Veteran Waterfowl Hunt will again take place alongside Arkansas’s Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt on Feb. 6 from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset statewide.
The state’s wildlife management areas are open all day (see the Waterfowl Report by clicking the green button below), while hunters will also be enjoying private land hunting. A handful of Arkansas Waterfowl Rice Incentive Conservation.
Enhancement fields were obtained for permits as well; all permits were assigned by Jan. 24 for this weekend and must be in hand to use on any of the AGFC’s permitted locations.
Duck and goose hunters 15 and younger may hunt during this special season, which was created nearly 20 years ago by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission after this option was offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was modified last year to allow active-duty military personnel and veterans to hunt as well in a show of gratitude for their service.
Youths and veterans may have additional people with them during their hunt as a mentor or observer. Those people may call, video the hunt, or work a dog to retrieve ducks, but they may not carry a firearm or assist with shooting. Shooting hours and bag limits are the same as regular duck and goose seasons.
Also, shell restrictions on WMAs for the regular 60-day hunting season are lifted during these special hunts.
“This is an excellent opportunity for mentors to instill those unwritten rules of waterfowling to new hunters,” Luke Naylor, AGFC waterfowl program coordinator, said “It’s a great way to show them that waterfowl hunting isn’t about racing in the woods for a YouTube video or seeing who can take a picture of the biggest pile of birds; it’s about sharing the experience.”
While the spirit of the special hunt is to allow for more time between a mentor and youth hunter, youths who have completed a hunter education course may hunt on their own if their parent or legal guardian feels comfortable allowing them to do so. Youths who have not completed a hunter education course must be accompanied by a mentor who is 21 years or older.