b'REPRINT WITH PERMISSION. ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION WATERFOWL HUNTING GUIDEBOOK 2020-21Hail Calls: News You Can Use in 2020-21WRICE Provides More Huntingimprove the quality of data being submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and improve estimates of migratory bird Opportunities hunter activity and harvest.The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will offer more thanTheres much more to the program than a simple question 3,800 additional acres of waterfowl hunting opportunity duringat a cash register. The questions asked at registration only the 2020-21 waterfowl season, thanks to the expansion of thecategorize hunters by how many birds they normally harvest. Waterfowl Rice Incentive Conservation Easement programThe real surveys used in HIP are hunter diaries, submitted through the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Nowfrom a handful of hunters, and wing surveys, where certain in its third year, the program allows rice producers to enrollhunters are asked to mail in a wing of each bird they harvest fieldstoincreasewaterfowlhabitatandofferweekendduring a season for verification of species, age and sex. A hunting opportunities through an online drawing. few thousand hunters are chosen each year for those two More than 40 hunting locations will be available duringsurveys,andwhoparticipatesinthosesurveysisbased the 2020-21 season. The fields offer valuable untilled riceon categories developed from responses to the registration fields throughout the fall migration and are hunted only onquestions.weekends during the season. Hunters can apply one weekThe drawback to the previous usage of HIP is, because in advance for the following weekends hunting opportunitiesHIPregistrationisfree,manyhunterswhodonothunt at www.agfc.com. Click on the Buy Licenses/Check Gamemigratorybirdshavestilltakenthetimetofillouta tab, and select the WRICE program area you want to huntregistration just in case. Additionally, license clerks at some fromtheWMAPermitssection.Generallocationsandoutside vendors may not have much experience processing conditionsofeachfieldcanbefoundatwww.agfc.com/ theregistration,leadingtoincompleteorinaccuratedata. WRICE to help decide which fields to apply for. The move to manage HIP registrations within AGFC offices Successful applicants can bring three additional huntersand AGFC-owned resources is a good first step to ensuring to the awarded hunt. Each location is good for all-day huntingany known hiccups are removed from the HIP system. fortheentireweekend.DrawingswillbeconductedandWintering Duck Populations in successful applicants notified the following Monday after the application period, with the hunt areas exact location andArkansasinstructions for their hunt provided. All applications require aThe AGFC conducts aerial waterfowl surveys each winter $5 processing fee. Check www.agfc.com/WRICE for updatedin three regions: the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (Delta), the information. Arkansas River Valley and southwest Arkansas. During the HIP Has Changes for 2020-21 annualmidwinterwaterfowlsurveyobserversestimated 1.4 million ducks in the Delta, half of which were mallards Beginning this year Arkansas Harvest Information Program(729,960). Duck population estimates in the Arkansas River registrationwillnolongerbeofferedatlicensevendorsValleytotaledjustover34,000,includingslightlyunder outside of the AGFC. All hunters 16 years of age pursuing21,000mallards,whileonlyabout2,000mallardswere doves, ducks, geese and other migratory birds in Arkansascountedamongslightlylessthan27,000totalducksin mustregisterfortheHarvestInformationProgrameithersouthwest Arkansas. The Delta mallard population estimate onlineatwww.agfc.com,throughtheAGFCsmartphonewasslightlylessthanthe2010-2020long-termmidwinter app, by phone at1-800-364-4263, or at an AGFC regionalsurvey average of about 859,000. However, the total duck office, nature center or shooting range. This was done topopulationestimatewasabovethelong-termaverageof Stuttgart, Arkansas 2020 Official Sportsmans Guide 3'