CROSSETT – Hunters in south Arkansas soon will have more than 3,600 new acres of public land to pursue their passion, thanks to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s approval to purchase a large block of land bordering Beryl Anthony Lower Ouachita Wildlife Management Area at its March 22 meeting.

The land currently belongs to The Nature Conservancy, and will be purchased at a price of $4 million. It was appraised at $5.3 million, but TNC has agreed to the discounted price to be used as a match toward federal funds in the purchase. The entire cost of the purchase will be reimbursed by federal funds, so no state dollars will be required to secure this property for public hunting use.

Brad Carner, chief of wildlife management for the AGFC, says the property was previously leased to hunting clubs, and the purchase has not been completed, but the area should be open to the public within the next two years after the purchase is complete and staff have had a chance to set seasons for the property. The purchase will be completed in two phases, with roughly 1,000 acres being acquired by June, and the remainder being purchased in the next fiscal year.

“We plan to add it to Beryl Anthony, but we need to see how the expansion will impact drawn permit numbers for turkey and season dates for other species,” Carner said. “This is an exciting purchase because hunters have relatively little public land in this part of the state.”

Carner says 2,600 acres of the property are currently being managed for the endangered red cockaded woodpecker, but hunters shouldn’t worry that this would impact their hunting now or in the future.

“Other WMAs in our system have

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