The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has unanimously approved a change to the 2023-24 duck season dates, moving back to the traditional opener the weekend before Thanksgiving. Commission Chairman Bobby Martin spoke about the change back to the traditional opening season dates being a response from public input from many members of the waterfowling community to commissioners and staff during the last year.
“We did get overwhelming (feedback),” Martin said of the proposal to change the dates to include the week of Thanksgiving. “The thing that I see as encouragingly interesting, one of the big reasons that I think the public, particularly waterfowlers, fought to try to hold it before Thanksgiving was the emphasis and priority around family and young hunters. The fact that so many people hang on to that is a signal that (the traditional opening day) is a legacy of a generation that we do not want to let go of in any way at all.”
Specklebelly, Canada and light-goose seasons also will change with this modification, as will the Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt and Special Active Duty Military and Veteran Hunt.
The 2023-24 waterfowl season dates are as follows:
- Duck, Coot and Merganser — Nov. 18-26, Dec. 9-23, Dec. 27-Jan. 31
- White-fronted Goose — Oct. 28-Nov. 10, Nov. 18-26, Dec. 9-23, Dec. 27-Jan. 31
- Canada Goose — Sept. 1-Oct. 15, Nov. 18-26, Dec. 9-23, Dec. 27-Jan. 31
- Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Season — Oct. 28-Nov. 10, Nov. 18-26, Dec. 9-23, Dec. 27-Jan. 31
- Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt — Dec. 2 and Feb. 3
- Veteran and Active Duty Military Waterfowl Hunt — Feb. 3
AGFC Director Austin Booth said today’s decision was a prime example of how the new AGFC Advisory Council, announced last month and officially approved today, will be able to help the agency in the future.
The advisory council was a major part of Booth’s report to the Commission, as he nominated a list of members, including chairpersons, for the new council’s three subpanels.