The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was recognized by the QDMA for their excellent whitetail management work.
The Quality Deer Management Association honored the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) with Agency of the Year at its 2016 National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The Convention was held Jan. 28-31.
According to a AGFC press release, criteria for the award include progressive deer management techniques, hunter education and recruitment, and the impact the agency has hunters’ attitudes towards deer management and the deer population as a whole.
One of the AGFC’s most impressive achievements is its work to protect the harvest of yearling bucks. Through the 2014-15 season, only eight percent of bucks harvest were yearlings, according to the release. This was the lowest in the country.
Cory Grey, deer program director, said in the press release, “Antler restrictions such as the three-point rule have helped us protect that yearling buck component of the herd.”
Arkansas hunters also harvested a low percentage of yearling does. Just 12 percent of the antlerless harvest consisted of yearlings. This is also important, as a high harvest of yearling does suggests a shrinking population, noted the press release.
This isn’t the first time the AGFC’s deer program has been awarded, though. Both the Boone & Crockett Club and Field & Stream recently recognized the AGFC for their deer management and their entries into the Boone & Crockett Club records.
“Not every state is equal when it comes to potential for high-quality deer management, so we really focus on making what we have the best it can be. But as a professional biologist, you really appreciate it when some of these outside agencies and organizations start recognizing your achievements,” Gray added in the press release.