Duck Hunters May Access Public Areas to Repair Blinds

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Duck Hunters May Access Public Areas to Repair BlindsPOCAHONTAS – Waterfowl hunters who make use of public duck blinds on several northeast Arkansas public hunting areas will soon get their chance to perform maintenance work on these public blinds. Sportsmen may access Big Lake, St. Francis Sunken Lands and Dave Donaldson Black River WMAs from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31,  to maintain public duck blinds, waterfowl hunting holes and boat lanes.

There are no blinds on Dave Donaldson Black River WMA, but public hunting holes may be maintained on that WMA. Access is scheduled for an earlier period than past years after comments from local residents. The later dates conflicted with a peak in farming activities. Maintenance will only be allowed into the areas during daylight hours. Permits will not be required.

Maintenance may be done under the following guidelines:

  • All blinds located on Commission owned or controlled property are public property and are available for use by the public on a first come first served basis. Blinds may not be locked at any time and may not be reserved in advance for future use regardless of previous use, maintenance or construction history.
  • Maintenance and use of public duck blinds is at the users own risk. The Commission assumes no liability for personal injuries, damages or loss of property by anyone entering or hunting from public blinds.
  • Only blinds that are in good condition may be maintained. Blinds that have been destroyed or are no longer safe or serviceable may not be rebuilt.
  • Maintenance is limited to repairs necessary to keep the structure in a safe and serviceable condition. Construction of new blinds is not permitted and existing blinds cannot be enlarged or replaced or moved. 
  • Blinds determined by the AGFC to be unsafe, unserviceable, or to have been illegally built, moved or altered will be permanently removed.
  • Certain levees and roads usually open to vehicular traffic may be closed because of construction or logging operations on Big Lake and Dave Donaldson/Black River. Only ATVs will be permitted beyond signs, locked gates or barricades for maintenance purposes.
  • Identification numbers that have been placed on or near blinds are not to be removed or painted over.
  • Boats; three wheeled, four wheeled, six wheeled or eight-wheeled all terrain vehicles may be used on existing roads or trails to access blinds or hunting areas.  Trailers may be used with ATVs to transport repair materials and/or equipment to blind locations.
  • No trucks or other passenger vehicles, farm tractors or implements, including implements for use with four-wheelers, riding mowers or power mowers may be used.
  • No chemicals, herbicides or defoliants may be used.
  • Chainsaws will be permitted only for the cutting of fallen logs from boat lanes, trails and hunting spots.
  • No trees are to be cut, regardless of size.
  • No new holes or clearings are to be created.
  • Soil may not be plowed, cultivated or disturbed in any manner and no seeds of any kind are to be planted.
  • Cutting of trees, application of chemicals or defoliants, or the enlargement or creation of new openings will result in the permanent closure of that location to hunting.
  • No maintenance may be done in areas that have been closed to hunting by painted boundaries or signs, and any blind that is in a location that has been permanently closed to waterfowl hunting because of illegal activity will be permanently removed.
  • Blinds may not be relocated or moved from GPS coordinates established by the AGFC. This includes floating structures. All other wildlife management area rules and regulations established by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are applicable. Hunters should refer to the 2007-2008 waterfowl regulations guidebook prior to hunting.

The use of all-terrain vehicles for off road travel is restricted to persons actively participating in blind or hunting hole maintenance, and mobility impaired access permit holders as permitted by area regulations. Joy riding is prohibited and violators will be prosecuted.