Young duck hunters who typically go with dad, other relatives or their friends don’t always realize that when the AGFC’s Youth Special Waterfowl Hunt comes around, they have the same options that every hunter every regular weekend has: the chance at a WRICE field permit hunt.
For the weekend of Dec. 3-4, there is no regular waterfowl hunting in Arkansas. But Saturday, Dec. 3, is the first of two Youth Waterfowl Hunt days as part of the 2022-23 season, and youths 16 and under may apply for an Arkansas WRICE field for that day. But note: The application must be by the youth (using their own customer identification number, which if they are under 16 is still available simply by registering under the “Buy License” portion of the website; it is FREE) and the application must be submitted before Sunday at midnight for the drawing. The application fee is $5, a youth may take three additional hunters to the field, and the winners will be contacted on Monday for directions to their field and other instructions. They can even take a mentor over 16, but that mentor can only call or help retreive the ducks this weekend.
For Dec. 3, the WRICE permit signup page indicates 31 fields are available around the state. Some fields still do not have water for duck use and are not available.
Youths may also apply for permit hunts at Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA (including the permanent Youth Blind in the WMA), Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA (with three Youth Blinds in the WMA in the Conway George Tract), Freddie Black Choctaw Island West Unit WMA, and any fields that are open for application to Red Cut Slough, part of the Cypress Bayou WMA near Beebe. This week, Unit 6 at Red Cut Slough had 80 percent water coverage and was available for hunting; all other units had no water.
Saturday, Dec. 3, will also be a special hunt day for Veterans and Active Duty military personnel throughout the state, including the AGFC’s WMAs that are managed for waterfowl hunting. Participants (including youths and a mentor who cannot hunt but can call and retreive ducks or geese) may hunt in the AGFC’s WMAs until sunset.