Heads Up Arkansas Duck Hunters; Ratoon Rice Crop Might Land You In Trouble
Due to many Arkansas rice fields being cut earlier than normal plus some late summer rains and warm fall temps, an abnormally high number of fields regenerated an unintentional second crop known as ratoon rice. The USFWS is alerting hunters your field may be illegal to hunt over if its been manipulated outside of routine farming practices.
Waterfowlers are allowed to hunt over a rice field that was rolled prior to the generation of heads via the second crop. Conversely, if the rice heads emerged from a ratoon crop, hunters must leave it standing and untouched in order to hunt waterfowl in that field. If your field had ratoon rice heads and was rolled, you cannot hunt over the field until it is no longer considered baited according to USFWS guidelines.
By definition, manipulation includes ATV traffic, rolling, discing, etc. and could be considered a baited field by wildlife enforcement officers.
Word to the wise...be careful where you drive your ATV to and from the blind and if there is any question your farmer knocked down food when prepping your hunting area, you might want to have it checked out by a wildlife officer before getting a ticket for hunting over a baited field.