Arkansas HOF Taps Three Who Helped Deer, Hunters

Three former commissioners with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, who were closely involved with major outdoor-related advancements in the late 1990s, will be honored as the 2012 inductees into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame

Witt Stephens Jr.

Witt Stephens Jr., a Little Rock businessman, worked to improve deer management, starting with a 3-point rule on bucks. Bill Bridgforth, a Pine Bluff attorney, helped the Commission steer a sensible course from its days of severe financial constraints to the opportunities provided by the 1/8th-Cent Conservation Sales Tax when it began in July of 1997. Rick Evans of Calion, a timber and lumber businessman, used his background in south Arkansas deer and turkey pursuits to make statewide improvements with these popular game animals and with wildlife in general.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation will hold its Hall of Fame banquet Sept. 7 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock.

Martin brings his genuine enthusiasm for promoting youth education to the Foundation. “From all parts of Arkansas, as individuals and as groups, our message can be heard and our actions do make a difference,” said Foundation chairman Bobby Martin. “We can solve problems. We can encourage Arkansans to pursue hunting, fishing and watchable wildlife activities.

“Also, and most importantly, we can ensure that young Arkansans have the chance to be exposed to the great outdoors and enjoy the heritage we all value. One way the Foundation will help accomplish this is by bringing youth-focused initiatives to the forefront of our efforts, strengthening the Foundation’s leadership and relevance statewide.”

The Foundation, created in 1982, is the independently operated foundation supporting the goals of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Proceeds from the Sept. 7 banquet and silent auction will help finance the Foundation’s continuing mission to support youth education initiatives that focus on the outdoors, including the archery and youth shooting sports programs that currently serve more than 7,000 Arkansas youths. The Foundation provides resources for education centers around the state that incorporate biology initiatives used by the Arkansas Department of Education.

Tickets for the Sept. 7 event are $100 each. The reception and silent auction will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. Auction items will include a youth elk hunting permit, a bear den trip for four, several premium duck hunting opportunities, the Ducks Unlimited Gun of the Year and much more. There also will be a raffle for one lifetime hunting and fishing license.

To purchase tickets or for more information, contact Wendy Henderson of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation at (501) 223-6468.