Point Values Will Be Assessed as Follows:
In Arkansas, individuals found violating AGFC hunting, fishing, or boating laws, or federal wildlife regulations, may receive violation points in addition to fines and penalties. The AGFC assigns points for each class of offense, which are crucial in determining the extent of additional consequences, such as license suspension. Here are the details of the points assessed for each offense class:
- Class 1 Offense: 6 Points
- Class 2 Offense: 12 Points
- Class 3 Offense: 18 Points
- Class 4 Offense: 30 Points
- Class 5 Offense: 99 Points
- Unclassified Offense: 0 Points
For a comprehensive understanding of what each class entails, individuals are encouraged to visit www.agfc.com/code.
Upon accumulating 18 or more violation points within a 5-year period, an individual faces suspension of hunting and fishing rights, privileges, and any related licenses. The suspension period is contingent on the total points accumulated and ranges from 1 to 7 years. Specific activities, such as the illegal use of someone else's license or the fraudulent use of one's own license, directly affect the suspension length. Additionally, any person under suspension is barred from applying for Commission permit hunts, with specific exceptions for private inholding owners.
It is also noteworthy that the mere possession of hunting or fishing devices in typical game areas, like fields, forests, or along streams, may be considered indicative of hunting or fishing activity, particularly when combined with other evidence. This regulation underscores the importance of understanding and complying with AGFC rules to avoid severe repercussions, including lengthy suspensions and loss of hunting and fishing privileges.
Arkansas's conservation laws are stringent in maintaining the integrity of wildlife and habitats. Violating these rules can lead to serious legal consequences, including fines, points on licenses, or even more severe penalties. It is vital for all hunters, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts to be aware of and comply with these regulations to ensure the sustainable use and enjoyment of natural resources. The following are specific activities deemed illegal under the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) regulations:
It is Illegal to:
- Flee or Interfere with Officers: Evading or obstructing an officer during the performance of their duties.
- Aid Violators: Assisting, accompanying, or abetting someone in committing a violation.
- Endangered Species: Importing, transporting, possessing, or taking endangered species.
- Transport Illegally Taken Wildlife: Moving illegally captured fish or wildlife across state lines.
- Waste Edible Wildlife: Discarding the edible portions of fish or wildlife, except for certain rough fish.
- Conduct Unauthorized Studies: Taking wildlife for scientific studies without an AGFC permit.
- Improper Use of Bait: Using game fish or their parts for bait or lures, with specific exceptions for certain sizes of bream.
- Trade in Wildlife: Buying or selling game fish, except as permitted for licensed fish farmers or certain sizes of bream.
- Litter or Neglect Fires: Littering or failing to extinguish fires on public property.
- Possess Invasive Species: Holding live invasive carp.
- Harm Protected Species: Taking or possessing the Ouachita streambed salamander.
- Illegal Bait Sale or Use: Taking and selling bait from public waters without appropriate licensing or not adhering to regulations on live baitfish.
- Unauthorized Release: Releasing any fish, baitfish, or crayfish into public waters without AGFC written permission.
- Overstep Bag Limits: A guide giving away fish that causes the recipient to exceed their daily limit.
- Hold Another's Catch: Possessing fish or wildlife taken by someone else without proper documentation.
- Improper Handling of Catch: Having fish that are filleted or altered while fishing or transporting in certain areas.
- Restricted Fishing Areas: Fishing too close to designated dams and hydroelectric plants, with specific exceptions.
- Trout Culling Prohibition: Retaining and then releasing trout after placing them on a stringer or in a container.
- Chumming in Restricted Waters: Dislodging or depositing substances to attract fish in areas where it's prohibited.
- Import Without Certification: Bringing in trout or trout eggs without disease-free certification.
- Sell Wild-Caught Fish Illegally: Selling wild-caught fish without the appropriate commercial license.
Don't Put That in Your Mouth...
To prevent lead poisoning, individuals should avoid placing lead sinkers in their mouths or handling them without washing their hands. Lead is highly toxic, and ingestion or prolonged exposure can lead to serious health complications. Alternatives to lead include steel, bismuth, tungsten, resin, and glass. Zinc sinkers should also be avoided due to their toxicity to waterfowl. If you suspect lead poisoning, immediately contact the Arkansas Department of Health. Remember, safety first when handling any materials while fishing.
On AGFC lakes, accesses and wildlife management areas, unless otherwise noted, you may not legally:
- Place Non-Woody Materials: Rebar or other materials cannot be inserted into the substrate of AGFC-owned lakes without approval.
- Hunt or Trap Off-Season: Possession of hunting equipment or engaging in hunting or trapping is prohibited out of season.
- Firearm Regulations: Loaded firearms are not allowed in camping, fishing, or boating access areas without a concealed weapon permit.
- Remove Objects: Taking anything other than personal possessions from Commission land without permission is prohibited.
- Camping Restrictions: Camping outside designated areas, for more than 14 consecutive days, or leaving a camp unoccupied for over 48 hours is not allowed.
- Disregard Signs: Official signs must be obeyed at all times.
- Damage Property: It's illegal to harm AGFC property, cut trees, or burn timber, brush, or grass.
- Littering and Fire Safety: Leaving fires unattended, littering, or burning materials with metal objects is prohibited.
- Commercial Activities: Engaging in any commercial activities requires prior approval from AGFC.
- Use of Cutting Devices: Chainsaws, handsaws, and other cutting devices are not permitted, along with chemical defoliants.
- Vehicle Restrictions: Motorized vehicles are restricted on certain roads, trails, and areas.
- Noise and Disturbance: Creating disturbances after 10 p.m. or engaging in water skiing or using personal watercraft is not allowed.
- Permanent Structures: Building or occupying permanent stands or structures is regulated.
- Firearm and Firework Regulations: Specific rules apply to the possession and discharge of firearms and fireworks.
- Firewood Importation: Bringing firewood into Commission-owned areas is restricted.
How to Measure a Fish
When measuring a fish, accuracy is critical for ensuring compliance with local fishing regulations regarding size. Here's how to measure a fish correctly:
- Position the Fish: Place the fish flat on its side.
- Align the Ruler: Lay a ruler or measuring tape beside the fish.
- Close the Mouth: Ensure the fish's mouth is closed.
- Measure: Extend the ruler from the front end of the lower jaw to the tip of the tail.
- Tail Position: Press the tail lobes together while measuring.
- Minimum Length Limit: The shortest permissible length for a fish of a designated species to be kept.
- Maximum Length Limit: The longest permissible length for a fish of a designated species to be kept.
- Slot Limit: A range of lengths where fish must be released. Anglers cannot keep fish within this designated size group.
Always measure from the front of the lower jaw (mouth closed) to the tip of the tail (lobes pressed together) when the fish is laid flat on a ruler. All fish not meeting the specific water or species length limit must be immediately released back into the water where caught.
To stay informed about fish stocking activities by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission:
- Call for Information: Dial the toll-free Family and Community Fish Stocking Hotline at 413-540-FISH (3474).
- Online Resources: Visit the AGFC website at www.agfc.com/familyfishing for comprehensive details about the Family and Community Fishing Program.
Stocking schedules and species vary by location and season. Some common stocking instances include catfish in the summer and trout in the winter. Specific regulations like daily limits and license requirements apply to different locations and fish types. Always verify the latest rules and regulations from AGFC before heading out to fish. For designated family fishing locations, special rules may apply, catering to youth, seniors, or disabled individuals.
Arkansas has established various boating laws and requirements to ensure the safety of all individuals on the water. Understanding and adhering to these laws is crucial for all boat operators and passengers.
In Arkansas, specific requirements govern the registration, insurance, and operation of boats:
- Registration and Insurance: Boats propelled by sail or motor must be registered for operation on public waters. Proof of $50,000 liability insurance is required for personal watercraft and motorboats powered by engines over 50 horsepower.
- Out-of-State Boats: Validly registered out-of-state boats may operate in Arkansas for up to 90 days without local registration.
- No-Wake Zones and Obstructions: Operating a boat above 5 mph in no-wake zones or near certain areas such as docks or recreation spots is illegal.
Proper lighting is mandatory for boat operation during times of darkness:
- State-Controlled Waters: Boats must have adequate lighting to reveal their presence and location to others.
- Federally Controlled Waters: Nonpowered boats need a light source ready to prevent collisions. Motorboats must have a red-and-green light on the bow and a white light aft.
Certain boats are required to have fire extinguishers on board, including inboard boats and those with specific fuel configurations.
Arkansas sets forth age-related stipulations for boat operation:
- Motorboats: Persons under 12 require boating education and supervision. Those 12 and older, born after 1985, must satisfy the boating education requirement.
- Personal Watercraft (PWC): Varying rules apply for operators under 16, with specific age brackets detailing supervision and education requirements.
- Diver's Flag: Boats must operate at idle speed within 100 feet of a diver's flag, indicating nearby scuba divers.
- Overloading Prohibition: It's illegal to load a vessel beyond its stated capacity, posing risks to safety.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Restricted Areas: Boats are prohibited from entering areas near Corps dams and must adhere to specific operational rules.
- Lanyard-Type Engine Cutoff: Operators of motorboats with a lanyard-type engine cutoff switch must attach the lanyard to themselves while the engine is running, with certain exceptions.
- Removal Requirements: Boat plugs must be removed before leaving the loading area and during transport.
- Immediate Actions: Operators involved in accidents must render assistance, exchange information, and report the incident to authorities.
Drinking and Boating
- Intoxication Laws: Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater is illegal and subject to arrest.
Mandatory Boating Education
In Arkansas, individuals born after 1985 who wish to operate a motorboat are required to complete an approved Boating Education Course provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. This mandate ensures that all boaters have the necessary knowledge and skills for safe and responsible operation on Arkansas waters. The definition of a motorboat includes any vessel propelled by sail or machinery, with machinery as the principal or secondary source of propulsion.
The Boating Education Course is designed to be accessible, targeting a sixth-grade reading level, and covers all the essential aspects of boating safety and regulations. The Commission offers multiple formats for the course to accommodate different learning preferences:
- Classroom Course: This traditional format includes a minimum of six hours of instruction followed by an examination. It's offered free of charge.
- Internet Course: For those who prefer self-paced learning, the course is available online 24/7. Participants study the material at their convenience and complete the online examination. A minimal fee is associated with the online course.
Upon successful completion of either course, participants receive a Boating Education Card, which they must carry as proof of completion when operating a motorboat on Arkansas waters. For more information, scheduling, or to register for a course, individuals can contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission or visit their website for details.
Canoes, Kayaks, and Inner Tubes
Glass Containers Are Prohibited
Arkansas law prohibits the use or possession of glass containers on state waters within vessels prone to swamping, tipping, or rolling. This includes canoes, kayaks, and inner tubes, but notably excludes larger, more stable craft such as houseboats and ski boats. Exceptions are made for glass containers holding medication prescribed by a licensed physician.
Fasten Cooler Lids
To prevent the spilling of contents into the water, all coolers, iceboxes, or containers holding food or beverages must be securely sealed or locked while aboard any vessel that is easily susceptible to swamping, tipping, or rolling. This rule is particularly pertinent to smaller, less stable vessels such as canoes, kayaks, and inner tubes traversing Arkansas waters.
Attach and Use a Litter Container
It is mandatory for canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, and similar vessels transporting foodstuffs or beverages on Arkansas waters to be equipped with a litter container. This container must be capable of being securely closed to contain all litter until it can be disposed of safely and lawfully. Ensuring that litter does not escape into the environment is a key component of preserving Arkansas's waterways.
Use a Floating Holder for Beverages
Any beverage not contained in a sealed or locked container or litter bag must be attached to or held within a floating holder while on board a canoe, kayak, inner tube, or other vessel that is easily susceptible to swamping, tipping, or rolling. The floating holder is required to prevent beverages from sinking beneath the water’s surface, thus mitigating the risk of pollution and ensuring a cleaner and safer environment for all.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
For safety on Arkansas waters, personal flotation devices (PFDs) are an essential requirement, with specific mandates depending on the type of vessel and the age of the occupants.
- Boats Under 16 Feet: Must have one USCG-approved wearable PFD for each person on board, used according to its approved conditions.
- Boats 16 Feet or Longer: Required to have one wearable PFD per person and one throwable PFD on board.
- Children Under 13: Must wear a well-fitting PFD at all times while aboard, except in specific enclosed areas of larger boats when stationary.
- Personal Watercraft Occupants: Required to wear PFDs at all times.
- Water Skiers: Must wear a USCG-approved wearable PFD.
Understanding the different types of PFDs can help you choose the right one for your boating activities:
- Offshore Life Jacket: Best for open or rough waters, designed to turn unconscious wearers face-up. Adult size provides at least 22 pounds of buoyancy, while the child size provides 11 pounds.
- Near-Shore Buoyant Vest: Suitable for calm, inland waters with a high chance of quick rescue. It turns some unconscious wearers face-up, with varying buoyancy levels depending on the size.
- Flotation Aid: Ideal for calm, inland waters. It allows conscious wearers to position themselves face-up. Varieties include jackets, float coats, and vests for different water sports.
- Throwable Device: Used in calm, inland waters with heavy boat traffic, designed to be thrown to a person in the water but not to be worn.
- Special-Use Device: Designed for specific activities and may offer additional protection like hypothermia resistance. Includes deck suits, work vests, and inflatable PFDs.
Each type of PFD has specific designs and intended use scenarios. It's crucial to select and properly use the PFD that aligns with the boating activity, water conditions, and individual needs for optimal safety. Always ensure that PFDs are US Coast Guard-approved and used in accordance with their approved conditions.