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Deer hunting contributes to our economy

Hunting activities add close to $100 million to our state and local tax revenue. It also helps to support over 17,000 jobs.

That statistic may not sound surprising to many Arkansas families who enjoy spending this time of year in the woods searching for deer.

But what many may not know is just how much of our economy related to hunting has to do with something other than deer season.

Arkansas is known throughout the country for its fantastic duck hunting. In fact, more mallards are taken in Arkansas than any other state.

When commercial production of rice began in the Arkansas Grand Prairie in 1904, irrigation reservoirs enticed the annual migration of ducks and geese on the Mississippi Flyway to linger, making the area nationally renowned among waterfowl hunters.

Of those 17,000 jobs supported by hunting, over 4,500 of them are supported by waterfowl hunters alone. And nearly a third of all state and local tax revenue collected from hunting sales are directly related to the hunting of waterfowl.

Today, Stuttgart is considered the duck capital of the world. The Executive Director of the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Bell, estimates that during duck season $1 million a day is spent on food, lodging, and supplies in his town.

Although, deer hunting as a whole contributes more to our economy, statistics show the average duck hunter will spend twice as much per day on trip expenditures. The bottom line is that duck hunting is serious business for our state.

That is just one reason why the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission closely monitor the population and adjust rules and regulations as needed. This year the commission reports that

Habitat conditions in 2013 were better or similar to 2012 due to average or above-average annual precipitation. The estimated total duck population of 45.6 million ducks was the second highest since the annual survey began in 1955, and was a 6 percent decrease from 2012’s all-time high duck count. As a result, there are three separate time periods this winter where duck hunting is allowed. Duck season opens November 23. Specific dates and times are listed on the Arkansas Game and Fish Website www.agfc.com

The site also has helpful maps and tips for first time hunters.

We hope everyone enjoys the wildlife recreation our state has to offer, but as always we hope every Arkansan takes the necessary precautions. Hunting safety classes are offered all across our state throughout the season. Those can also been found on the Game and Fish website.

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