Flooded timbers and bottomland define waterfowl hunting in Arkansas.
Arkansas has been known for a long time as a great place for waterfowl hunting. The reason why was maybe more true 100 years ago than it is right now. River floodplains, like the Arkansas Delta, used to encompass over 5 million acres of the state. Today this habitat of flooded timbers, which is so important for migrating waterfowl on two flyways, is threatened. State programs like Greentree Reservoir management seek to protect these habitats for the sake of waterfowl and hunters alike.
White River National Wildlife Refuge, just one example of these bottomland floodplains, is located in the Mississippi Delta and covers 90 miles of flooded forests. Bayou Meto, Big Lake and Black River Wildlife Management Areas are some of the more popular locations for waterfowl hunting in the state.
In addition to either a $10.50 wildlife conservation license or $25 sportsman’s license, residents must purchase a waterfowl stamp for $7. Nonresidents pay $35 for a waterfowl stamp. They may choose between a 5-day small game hunting license for $70, an annual small game hunting license for $110, or a 1-day all game license for $55. Nonresidents must hold a 5-day Wildlife Management Area waterfowl hunting permit before hunting in certain areas. It costs $30.50.
Federal migratory bird hunting stamps cost $25 and all licensed hunters must be registered with the Harvest Information Program.
Teal hunting in Arkansas
You can find blue-winged teal near rivers and the bayous of eastern Arkansas in early September. As December rolls around, most blue-winged teal have already left Arkansas on their northern migration.
Green-winged teal are harder to find than blue-winged teal while waterfowl hunting in Arkansas. There are better chances for finding green-winged teal in places like the southern Gulf coastal plain.
The season begins September 15 and ends September 30. The daily bag limit of 6 includes cinnamon teal, green-winged, and blue-winged teal.
Canada Geese Hunting
The Canada geese season for waterfowl hunting in Arkansas is split in three segments, beginning from October 27 to 29. It picks up again November 17 to 30 and December 2 to January 27. There is a daily bag limit of 2.
Duck, Coot, and Merganser
The flooded timber areas of Arkansas are good places to look for these species. Black River Wildlife Management Area, for example, is quite a hotspot—especially for wood ducks. The season dates are November 17 to 25, December 6 to 23, and December 26 to January 27. The daily bag limit is 6 and can include 3 scaup, 3 wood ducks, 2 pintail, 2 redheads, 1 black duck, 1 mottled duck and 1 canvasback. You may take no more than 4 mallards, including 2 hens. The daily bag limit for mergansers is 5, 2 of which can be hooded mergansers.
White-fronted Geese Hunting
The season dates for white-fronted geese are October 27 to 29, November 17 to 30, and December 2 to January 27. There is a daily bag limit of 3.
Light Geese (Lesser Snow Goose, Blue Goose, and Ross’ Goose)
Light geese, including lesser snow, blue, and Ross’s, are a nuisance in Arkansas. As such, there is a conservation order in place to reduce the populations of light geese through high harvests. During the order dates, you may take as many as you want. There are no daily bag or possession limits. You can use electronic calls and unplugged shotguns. All you need to hunt light geese during the order is a valid license and a free registration permit number.
Conservation order regulations apply on October 6 to 26, October 30 to November 16, January 28 to February 1, and February 3 to April 25.
The regular season dates are October 27 to 29, November 17 to 30, and December 2 to January 27. There is a daily bag limit of 20.
Related Conservation and Non-Profit Organizations for Arkansas Waterfowl Hunting
“Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowling in North America. Headquartered in Bismarck, N.D., and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Delta delivers on this mission for you, the duck hunter…”
“Ducks Unlimited conserves, restores, and manages wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people. Waterfowl conservation is facing important challenges as wetlands and other habitats are being degraded and destroyed across the continent.”
“Lone Star members can be found in all corners of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The Lone Star Chapter strives to maintain the goals as set out by the international North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association. The Chapter is very interested in bringing together ‘versatile’ dog owners from all over, not only Texas but also the Southwest. Lone Star members cover many classifications ranging from those who simply love dogs to the serious hunter and breeder. One thing that all the members have in common is the desire to maintain and improve the ‘versatile’ breeds. Members often get together throughout the year to train and/or hunt.”
Further Regulations and the Arkansas Hunter Safety Course
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1969, must take a hunter education course before purchasing a license. It costs $19.95 and you can take it online (https://www.hunter-ed.com/arkansas/).
Shotguns needs to be 10-gauge or smaller and plugged with a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling. A non-toxic shot of a .2 inch diameter size is allowed.
The hunting season dates, species available, and other information is subject to change. The article may not reflect this. Please visit the website for the (https://www.agfc.com/en/) for the most up to date information on waterfowl hunting in Arkansas.
Last modified: May 2, 2020