Free per­mit re­quired for WMAs

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NWA OUTDOORS -

The Arkansas Game and Fish Com­mis­sion wants to get to know more about vis­i­tors to one of the many wildlife man­age­ment ar­eas in the state. Peo­ple who hunt, trap, fish or boat in the ar­eas are re­quired to get a free Gen­eral Use WMA Per­mit through the com­mis­sion’s li­cense sys­tem. The per­mit may be ob­tained on­line at https://ar-web.s3li­cens­ing.com, at any li­cense ven­dor or by call­ing 800-364-4263. It can be added as a code to your ex­ist­ing li­cense or ob­tained on its own. Brad Carner, chief of wildlife man­age­ment for the com­mis­sion, the pur­pose of the li­cense is to find out ex­actly how many peo­ple are us­ing the pub­lic lands and what out­door pur­suits they en­joy while on the ar­eas. The com­mis­sion has done ve­hi­cle counts in the past. The per­mit is an ex­pan­sion of the Sweet 16 Per­mits in­tro­duced in 2012. The per­mits gath­ered in­for­ma­tion about hunter use and sat­is­fac­tion. Other por­tions of that pro­gram in­cluded mod­i­fi­ca­tions to antler-point re­stric­tions, in­creased data col­lec­tion to mon­i­tor herd health and habi­tat us­age in deer and dis­ease mon­i­tor­ing. “One of the great­est ben­e­fits we saw from the per­mits was the abil­ity reach out and ask our hunters and an­glers about pro­posed reg­u­la­tions and in­for­ma­tion they needed to know be­fore go­ing to the WMA,” Carner said. “The free per­mit re­quired an email ad­dress, so we could let hunters who fre­quented some WMAs know if roads were closed or if deer sea­son on the area had been shut down be­cause of flood­ing. We also were able to sur­vey hunters on many pro­posed reg­u­la­tions.”

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