b'Hail Calls: News You Can Use in 2020-2021over 1.2 million. The big departure from long-term patternsHunter Participation and Harvestwasthespeciescompositionofducks.Mallardstypically accountfornearly70percentofallducksduringtheArkansas Waterfowl Stamp sales during the 2019-20 season midwinter survey; last years mallard percentage was only 50decreased slightly from 2018-19, with 100,904 stamps sold percent. Population estimates for northern pintails, northerncompared to 103,931 the previous year. The single-season shovelers and gadwalls were noticeably higher than usual,record for stamp sales was set in 2014-15 at 104,629, and and many of these ducks occurred in the Delta south of thesaleshaveaveraged102,431overthelastfiveseasons. Arkansas River and east of Crowleys Ridge. Similar to theResident duck stamp sales were unchanged at 53,477 (the Delta, these species accounted for nearly all the non-mallardsame number as in 2018-19) while nonresident stamp sales ducksinboththeArkansasRiverValleyandsouthwestdippedslightlyto47,427(50,656weresoldin2018-19). Arkansas.Slightlyover5,000WMAnonresidentwaterfowlhunting Observers in the Delta estimated more than 1.3 millionpermits were sold, below the three-year average of 6,184.light geese and about 320,000 greater white-fronted geeseDuck harvest increased slightly from the previous season. Total estimated duck harvest last seasonwas1,091,000,aslight increase from 1,006,200 in 2018-19.Arkansasduckhunters harvestedanestimated509,879 mallardslastseason,upfrom 477,817 during the 2018-19 duck season.Nootherstatehada harvest of over 200,000 mallards. Arkansashuntersharvested35 percent of all mallards harvested duringthissurvey.SummariesforotheraerialsurveysintheMississippiFlywayand17percentofallmallards during the 2020-21 season are available atwww.agfc.com/ harvested in the U.S. waterfowl. Arkansasgoosehuntersranknearthetopofthe nationinarcticgooseharvest,taking34,420light(snow, Statewide Habitat Availability GenerallyblueandRosss)geeseand83,986white-frontedgeese Was Low During the 2019-20 Wintering(specklebellies) during the regular 2019-20 seasons.Period Habitat BenefitsOverbank flooding along a few river corridors early in duckTheAGFCmanagesabout70,000acresofwetland-season was short-lived, and the rainfall necessary to producemanagement units on state-owned or cooperatively managed additional flooding was mostly absent. December was drywildlife management areas in Arkansas. These wetlands are throughoutmuchofArkansas,withmonthlyprecipitationpredominantlygreentreereservoirs(GTRs)managedto totals2to4inchesbelowaverageinmanylocations.provide sustainable bottomland hardwood forests and moist-Temperaturesbrokerecordhighsseveraltimesduringsoil units (MSUs) intensively managed for the production of December,especiallylateinthemonth.Theseweatherseed-producing grasses and plants preferred by waterfowl. patterns typically do not lead to high mallard counts, but earlyTheagencycontinuallyworksonwaterfowl-habitat watercapturedinbothmanagedandlimitedunmanagedprojectsincluding:acquiringnewlands;establishingnew habitats appears to have supported mallard numbers at leastmoist-soilmanagementunits;improvingwetlandunit close to average. In contrast, warm conditions combined withhydrology; and repairing, replacing or installing new water-increasing day lengths in January clearly provided conditionsdelivery infrastructure. During the last few years, AGFC staff suitable for some early migrating species (northern pintailsand partners worked to determine a path forward focused on and northern shovelers) to jump back north into Arkansas assustainable management of the more than 50,000 acres of they began spring migration. Certainly ducks were presentthe AGFCs GTRs. While previous objectives of GTRs were on traditional managed habitats, and these habitats remaintoprovidemorereliable,consistenthabitatformigrating critically important for sustaining waterfowl populations andwaterfowl and waterfowl hunting opportunities, deteriorating huntingopportunities.However,mallardsseemedtobeconditions in many GTRs from this short-term goal require a seeking out unmanaged habitats as they became availableshift in management. Improving and maintaining the quality last year, likely to avoid hunting pressure while capitalizingof waterfowl habitat on AGFC land, including GTRs, must on new resources. include focus on conservation of the hardwood forests that 4 Stuttgart, Arkansas 2020 Official Sportsmans Guide'