NO BLINDS: Rule upheld for Big Lake WMA, which includes Mallard Lake here.

  • NO BLINDS: Rule upheld for Big Lake WMA, which includes Mallard Lake here.

This is special for duck hunters. And maybe history buffs.


The state Game and Fish Commission has won, on what sounds like a venue technicality, a lawsuit challenging its move to end use of private duck blinds in wildlife management areas.

This means a rule against leaving decoys overnight and hunting from permanent blinds applies in four areas.


Hunters who use the blinds had raised the “takings” argument against efforts to restrict the practice. A wildlife expert of my acquaintance says the dispute goes back to just after the Civil War and the “Big Lake War” that ended in 1915 when Woodrow Wilson sent in troops. Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge was created and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commisison was formed then. Some history here:

When railroads developed extensively after the Civil War, with the invention of ice making following, market hunting of ducks, geese, deer and other game was a major activity in the Big Lake area. Meat went to St. Louis, Chicago and other northern cities.

Wealthy sportsmen, most of them from out of state, bought and leased land for hunting clubs and conflict with the market hunters arose. The “Big Lake War” lasted off and on for about 40 years, with shootings, some fatal, along with beatings, burnings and threats. Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson, and gradually the violence subsided.

More history here.


The Game and Fish release follows.