LITTLE ROCK – It is difficult to think of September as waterfowl hunting time, but it’s a reality.
With the statewide early Canada goose season and the teal season, most of September offers opportunities for waterfowl enthusiasts to do some hunting. The Canada goose hunt is Sept. 1-15. Teal season dates are Sept. 8-23.
The early September special hunt is an opportunity readily available to anyone wanting to get out and do some hunting, hot and dry weather or not. Since dove hunting season will also open Sept. 1, it is a chance for a doubleheader – geese in the morning, doves in the afternoon or vice versa.
A word of caution: Get all of those dove loads, lead shot shells, off your person before going after geese.
The year-round resident Canada geese, the non-migrating subspecies called giant Canada geese, have become too numerous in some places of Arkansas and many other parts of the U.S. Hunting is the tool that’s being used by the AGFC to try to keep numbers of geese from growing any higher.
This hunt will be a 16-day season running through Saturday, Sept. 15. Bag limit is five a day, much more than the regular season two a day. The usual waterfowl hunting rules apply to this special hunt. Only steel shot can be used. Shotguns must be plugged so a firearm can hold no more than three rounds. A current Arkansas hunting license is needed. Federal and state waterfowl hunting stamps must be carried by the hunter, and Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration is required. The latter is free and can be done in person or online. Electronic callers cannot be used.
Canada goose hunting in Arkansas doesn’t approach duck hunting in popularity, but developed a core of enthusiasts, according to Luke Naylor, the AGFC’s waterfowl program coordinator.
The Arkansas River valley is a prime Canada goose region, and this is from Fort Smith all the way to the Mississippi River. Some of the major lakes have large numbers of Canada geese. The upper portion of Bull Shoals Lake is one example, and the federally owned lands away from campgrounds and public access areas are hunt possibilities.
Make some phone calls to find a likely hunting spot. Take along a sizeable cooler with ice, too. Cold drinks will be welcome, and you’ll have a place to put the geese you bring down.