Arkansas waterfowl hunting season dates have been set for the next two years, with changes coming in 2023.
Arkansas is a must-hunt bucket list destination for many waterfowl hunters. Whether you’re leaning against a tree in flooded timber or peering through a hole in a blind, Arkansas never fails to deliver some memories. After the season ends in January, too, hunters chase light geese — snow geese — for quite a while thanks to the special spring conservation order.
One cool thing about planning a trip to Arkansas is it’s near the end of the Mississippi Valley Flyway. You could start up north in Michigan or Minnesota and chase birds for months, all the way to Arkansas and Louisiana. Each state has some cool things to see and places to hunt.
A new season structure will begin with the 2023-24 seasons. Season dates and changes were approved by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission during its May meeting. The 2022 waterfowl season will follow the same format as previous seasons, with the following dates:
— Duck, Coot and Merganser — Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
— White-Fronted Goose — Oct. 29-Nov. 11; Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
— Canada Goose — Sept. 1-Oct. 15; Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
— Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose — Oct. 29-Nov. 11; Nov. 19-27; Dec. 10-23; and Dec. 26, 2022-Jan. 31, 2023
— Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Conservation Order — Feb. 1-3, 2023; Feb. 5-April 25, 2023
— Youth, Military and Veteran Waterfowl Hunt — Dec. 3, 2022, and Feb. 4, 2023
Season Structure Changes
Beginning with the 2023-24 waterfowl season, the opening day of the first segment of duck season will begin on the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving.
This change was preferred by public comment respondents from surveys conducted between 2008 and 2022. During this year’s public comments period, 2,964 people provided input on the duck season proposal, with 68 percent giving a favorable response to the opening day being moved to the later date.
To accommodate the plans of hunters and businesses impacted by the different dates, the AGFC will delay implementation until the 2023-24 waterfowl season. Those season dates will be as follows:
2023-24 Arkansas Waterfowl Hunting Season Dates
— Duck, Coot and Merganser — Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
— White-Fronted Goose — Oct. 28-Nov. 10; Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
— Canada Goose — Sept. 1-Oct. 15; Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
— Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose — Oct. 28-Nov. 10; Nov. 25-Dec. 3; Dec. 9-23; and Dec. 27, 2023-Jan. 31, 2024
— Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose Conservation Order — Feb. 1-2, 2024; Feb. 5-April 25, 2024
— Youth Only Waterfowl Hunt — Feb. 3, 2024
— Youth, Military and Veteran Waterfowl Hunt — Feb. 4, 2024
Other Changes Coming, Too
In addition to the date changes, the new regulations package increases the daily bag limit on white-fronted geese from two to three birds per hunter per day.
Changes are coming on some AGFC-owned WMAs, too. Beginning with the 2023-24 duck season, waterfowl hunting will be limited to Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday on Bell Slough, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Frog Bayou and Galla Creek WMAs and on the Dyer Lake Unit of Ozark Lake WMA. Additionally, boat access on all WMAs with current boating time restrictions will be expanded to preclude any boats on the WMAs for seven days preceding the first day of the first segment of regular duck season.
Another new regulation includes the requirement for nontoxic shot for all migratory bird hunting on AGFC WMAs that have waterfowl access restrictions. This primarily concerns dove hunting and early migratory bird hunting. Lead shot still will be allowed for other small game hunting, such as rabbits and squirrels, on these areas.
Also, all boats on these WMAs will be required to operate only with a stock, factory exhaust system. Implementation of this regulation will be delayed until the 2023-24 waterfowl season.
(Photo: Arkansas Game & Fish Commission)