b'Old Decoys Spark NewDale Bumpers White River NWRInterest In OutdoorsRandy Zellers, AGFC Assistant Chief of CommunicationsPINEBLUFFIthappenseverySeptember.DuckhuntersAnother great haul for Maynard came from a couple just outside across the country begin to feel the need to dig through theirof Stuttgart who saw a post from the Gov. Mike Huckabee Delta gear and make plans for opening day. Sporting goods storesRivers Nature Center requesting decoys.Donated decoys offer begin moving waterfowl-hunting equipment from storage to theirnew life as conservation art piecesshelves,andhuntersarebombardedwiththelatestrealistic decoyspromisedtomaketheirnextseasonasuccess.ButBeth and Jerry Earlywine saw our post and got in touch with us, what happens to the old decoys left behind in the garage? EricMaynard said. They owned property that was leased for hunting Maynard, assistant chief of education for the Arkansas Gameand over the years, many hunters had left decoys behind when andFishCommission,hasasolutiontothesituationthetheir lease expired. They had hundreds of decoys in their barn AGFC decoy adoption center.that they were needing to get rid of. It took three truckloads to get it done, but they have their space cleared out and we have Its not really a center unless you count the bed of a pickup asdecoys to use for future programs.a dropoff location, but thanks to volunteers who have donated their used decoys, Maynard and other members of the AGFCsIn-person classes at nature centers have been suspended or Education Division have been able to rehome these outdatedrestrictedtosmallgroupsinoutdoorsettingsinthewakeof dekesinthehandsofaspiringduckhuntersandbirdersCOVID-19, but Maynard hopes classes can resume again on a participating in educational programs. small scale soon. In the meantime, the AGFC has focused on videos through its Virtual Nature Center at www.agfcnaturecenter.Weve done programs involving decoys for years, from duckcom and on virtual instruction through Zoom and Google Meets. identification to conservation and hunting techniques, and decoy painting always is a hit with new hunters and conservationists,Weve worked hard to keep promoting the conservation message Maynard said. We are always on the lookout for used decoysthroughout the pandemic and we are seeing a resurgence of our participants can paint and take home with them. people looking to the outdoors as a recreational option again, Maynard said. We want to help them learn about hunting, fishing Maynard said hes received many decoys during the last fewand conservation, and decoy-painting classes are just one way years from Carlos Carter of Lost Island Hunting Club. Each year,to help them become more comfortable with the outdoors. Carter rounds up decoys that are shot or otherwise unwanted from the club and hands them off to Maynard for the program. Anyone interested in donating their old decoys to the AGFC for educational purposes is encouraged to contact Maynard at eric.People are always wanting to buy fancy, new decoys as partmaynard@agfc.ar.gov, and he can make arrangements to have of their waterfowling fun, so we can patch up their old ones andthem picked up. have them ready for the next time we conduct a class, Maynard said. Im always on the lookout for old decoys near the end ofVirtualandin-personclasseswillbeaddedtonatureand duck season and right about now when people start looking toeducation centers schedules on their Facebook pages as they buy new ones for the next year. become available.Visit www.agfc.com/naturecenters for a list of locations and contact information.Reprint with Permission. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission32 Stuttgart, Arkansas 2020 Official Sportsmans Guide'