Ark. to consider permit system for deer dogs

LITTLE ROCK — A proposal to require permits for using dogs
while hunting deer in some areas is being considered by the state
Game and Fish Commission.

The agency said in a news release Monday that the final proposal
is likely to come to the commission for a vote at its meeting on
May 26.

In January, the state House of Representatives endorsed allowing
hunting deer with dogs by approving a resolution offered by Rep.
Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock.

"This simply asks the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission that,
while they are needing to regulate the practice, that they simply
do not do away with it entirely," Hutchinson said at the time.

Over the past 20 years, the Game and Fish Commission has
prohibited the practice during the modern-gun deer season in some,
but not all, of the state's designated deer-management zones and in
the majority of state wildlife-management areas.

According to the G&FC release, the proposal would require a
permit to use dogs to hunt deer on private land within deer zones 6
and 8 during modern-gun deer season. A permit also would be
required to hunt deer with dogs on parts of the Ozark National
Forest Wildlife Management Area in zones 1 and 6.

As the proposal stands now, the agency said, deer hunters who
wish to use dogs in zones 6 and 8 would be required to have
permission from landowners before a private-lands permit would be
issued. Hunters would have to submit an application for hunting
with dogs on a minimum amount of contiguous acreage. A range of 500
to 1,000 acres is under consideration.

"They would be allowed to hunt only on property where
permission had been granted," the release said.

Two areas are being considered for deer dog hunters on the Ozark
National Forest WMA. Under both options, hunters would be required
to hold a public-lands deer-dog permit. The permit would allow
hunters to use dogs to hunt deer on portions of wildlife management
area during two periods, Nov. 15-20 and Nov. 24-Dec. 4.

The proposed penalty for hunting deer with dogs without a permit
in the designated areas is $500 to $2,500, and could include
revocation of hunting and fishing licenses for up to two years.