Here’s a look at the Arkansas Outdoors Weekly Newsletter for Oct. 26, 2016.
CWD focus of Arkansas Wildlife Television
LITTLE ROCK -(Ammoland.com)- After five years of record-pace deer harvests, Arkansas deer management is facing its toughest challenge, chronic wasting disease.
This fatal neurological disease affects members of the deer and elk family and has finally made its way to The Natural State.
Click here to watch an episode of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Arkansas Wildlife Television show centered around discovery and management of this new threat to Arkansas’s deer herd – click here.
Wildlife Fine Money Fuels Conservation Education
LITTLE ROCK -(Ammoland.com)- Turning in a poacher may lead to better outdoor education opportunities for youth in your county, thanks to a partnership with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Division of Rural Services.
Fines paid by violators of state laws and regulations protecting fish and wildlife always were sent back to the counties in which they were collected.
Now, though, an application process through the Division of Rural Services, in consultation with the AGFC, directs that money to education programs focused on fish and wildlife conservation in the county where it was collected.
“Last year was the first year Division of Rural Services directed the money to the programs.,” said Doug Newcomb, an AGFC assistant chief in the Education Division, during his presentation on the program at the Commission’s monthly meeting at Springdale. “We don’t use any of that [fine] money, it’s all earmarked for programs in the county where it was collected.”
Before the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 317 in 2015, the fine money was collected and went through the Arkansas Department of Education, and then back to the counties to be allocated by county quorum courts.
The Division of Rural Services, created by the legislature in 1991, was merged with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission under Act 8 of the 2015 First Extraordinary Session.
DRS’s charge was to assist local agencies in rural areas (towns with less than 20,000 people) with information and technical assistance. More than 80 percent of Arkansans live in rural areas.
Through the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Education Grant Program, the AGFC, the Arkansas Rural Development Commission and the Division of Rural services strive to enhance the level of conservation education in the state by providing incentive grants to fund local fish and wildlife conservation education programs such Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports programs, National Archery in the Schools programs, Project WILD, field trips to nature centers by schools, and other endeavors.
The process works like this: Fines from tickets written by AGFC wildlife officers are collected by the counties and forwarded to the AGFC at the end of the fiscal year.
Newcomb goes before the Commission for approval to send that money to the Division of Rural Services. The AGFC and the Division of Rural Services then sort through applications from each county.
“That takes about a day to go through, at least the first time last year it took almost a day,” Newcomb said. “Some fine money was left at the end of the year because not enough educators applied in those counties to collect all of it. We extended the deadline three times. The goal was to get the money back out to the schools or the soil conservation districts. Hopefully, we learned a few things from the first year and more people know about it this time.”
According to Newcomb, any fine money left at the end to the application period will roll over to the next year for that county.
An application can be found on the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Division of Rural Services website, and a link is available at http://www.agfc.com/education/Pages/EducationFineRevenue.aspx.
This year’s deadline to apply for a grant through the Division of Rural Services was Oct. 20.
However, Newcomb said, “We’ll look and see what we have in terms of funds allocated for each county. If schools submitted on time and their application is good, they stand a good chance of getting money the first time around. If there are counties where nobody submitted, we’ll leave the deadline open to submit.”
Memorialize Their First Deer with Certificate from AGFC
LITTLE ROCK -(Ammoland.com)- Memorialize that unforgettable first Arkansas deer hunting moment with an official certificate from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Whenever a family member or friend tackles the challenge of harvesting their first deer, visit www.agfc.com/resources/Pages/default.aspx and choose your certificate from the bottom of the page.
Fill out the online form and print the certificate on your color printer. You can personalize the certificate after printing with a photo from the hunt or use the standard certificate if you forgot to take pictures in all the excitement of the day.
Certificates for first dove, duck, fish, rabbit, squirrel and turkey also are available to mark those milestones as well.
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