Fall 2009/Spring 2010 turkey season update

Arkansas sportsmen were dealt a blow on September 24th when the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Commissioners voted 4 to 3 to close the 2009 Fall turkey season. The vote, which happened only 6 days prior to the opening of archery season, stirred debate and confusion among hunters across the state. The Arkansas NWTF State Chapter president, Gary Watts, along with other NWTF employees and volunteers attended the commissioner’s meeting and were allowed to read a letter that had been previously sent with the stance of the NWTF. To read the letter, please click here. According to president Watts, “The Arkansas NWTF Board recognizes the delicate balance between conservation and opportunity. We feel the decision made by the AGFC Commissioners was not properly thought through. No biological data suggested we had an emergency situation on our hands that would justify closing the 2009 Fall season in Arkansas. The NWTF mission statement, ‘Dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage’, made us take a close look at the AGFC suggestion and we felt that in order to more closely follow our mission statement, we had to take a stance for the hunters of Arkansas and suggest that season not be closed. We feel the taking away of the opportunity was much more severe than the number of birds that would be harvested in a normal Fall season”.  In a second letter from the board, which can be read here, the board suggests the commission research equality in setting opening dates, season lengths, and bag limits across the state. President Watts says, “A number of turkey hunters across the state were already disgusted with the closing of the Fall season. The actions of the commissioners in the October 2009 meeting, which gave certain areas of the state a liberal Spring 2010 season contradicts the actions taken in September to close the Fall 2009 season. The Arkansas NWTF Board of Directors felt to be fair to all, there should be some equality on hunting opportunities and bag limits, regardless of the region of the state you are hunting. We feel the commission should examine these decisions prior to the 2010 Spring season and re-evaluate the options to benefit all hunters statewide”. 
As fellow turkey hunters, we want you to know your state board is working diligently to represent what’s best for the hunter and the turkey.  The Arkansas NWTF and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have a long history of partnership in management and conservation of the wild turkey.  We have the utmost respect for the decisions of the Commission in regards to managing our resources, and we realize their job is not an easy one and can sometimes be extremely difficult.  Please know we take our role as a state board very seriously and hope to help in decision making that results in the best options for the hunter and the turkey.