Dove hunting season postponed


By Joe Mosby

Arkansas News Correspondent

STUTTGART — Dove hunting season would open Sept. 1, under a proposal presented Thursday to the state Game and Fish Commission.

Action on dove and other early migratory bird hunting will be taken by the commissioners at their July meeting. Duck and goose seasons will be proposed by the wildlife staff in July for the commissioners to decide at their August meeting after federal guidelines are released.

No significant changes from last year are proposed except calendar dates for dove, teal, rail, woodcock, snipe, purple gallinule, common moorhen and the early Canada goose hunt. The seasons open on Saturdays.

The proposed dove hunting dates are Sept. 1-Oct. 25 and Dec. 26-Jan. 9. As in the past, the daily limit would be 15 mourning doves with no limit for Eurasian doves, an invasive species.

Teal dates suggested are Sept. 8-23 with a daily limit of four.

Rail dates, Sept. 8-Nov. 16

Woodcock, Nov. 3-Dec. 17

Common snipe, Nov. 1-Feb. 15

Purple gallinule, Sept. 1-Nov. 9.

Common moorhen, Sept. 1-Nov. 9.

Early Canada goose, statewide, Sept. 1-15. Northwest Canada Goose Zone, Sept. 22-Oct. 1. Late Canada goose, Nov. 19-Jan. 29.

In another matter Thursday, the commissioners approved formal rules for establishing state fish records. These followed the informal procedures that had been used for many years.

A problem developed earlier this year when a fisherman caught a striped bass on Bull Shoals Lake that may have broken the existing state record. But the angler could not locate certified scales to weigh the fish, a requirement under both the informal and the new formal rules.

The angler was upset because setting the record would have meant a prize of $100,000 from a fishing tackle company.

The formal rules require a staff member of the Game and Fish Commission or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to witness the weighing of the fish and for a fisheries professional with either agency to identify the species.

It is up to the fisherman to find certified scales as used at most food stores and post offices, and to notify Game and Fish personnel.