Arkansas Deer Hunters Top 200,000 in Harvest


LITTLE ROCK – For the fourth straight season, Arkansas deer hunters have passed the 200,000-deer mark in harvest. With seven weeks of archery hunting remaining, hunters have taken 208,951 deer. The high mark was set in the 2012-13 season with 213,487 deer logged.

Cory Gray, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission deer program coordinator, says the total harvest likely will fall just shy of the record now that modern gun and muzzleloader seasons have concluded.

“Typically we’ll harvest around 3,500 deer statewide during January and February,” Gray said. So we’re going to end up with a very consistent harvest compared to the last few seasons.”

Gray says the consistent harvest numbers indicate a solid deer population and season structure.

“As a deer manager, sometimes you wonder if a high number is just a one-time deal because of a change in checking or regulations,” Gray said. “But when you’re consistently stacking your bullets on top of each other like this, you know you’re shooting true.”

This year’s high harvest also came in spite of extremely poor weather conditions, according to Gray. “We started off really well,” Gray said.

“We were sitting about 3,000 deer ahead of the record pace until Thanksgiving, which is usually one of our big weekends. But really bad rain and wind kept many hunters out of the woods during Thanksgiving weekend, which hurt the pace.”

Gray says the same situation happened during the Christmas holiday modern gun hunt to stymie harvest numbers.

“We normally see 3,000 deer checked per day of the Christmas hunt, but thunderstorms, rain and tornadoes prevented a large harvest these days as well. Many flood prone regions were also closed during the Christmas hunt and second youth hunt, but we’re still seeing a near record harvest.” Archery deer season hunt runs through Feb. 29 statewide on private land and on most wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges. Some public areas close earlier. Check the 2015-16 Arkansas Hunting Guidebook for closing dates.

The AGFC encourages hunters to pay special attention to their target before taking that shot during late season. Bucks are beginning to shed their antlers, which makes identifying the animal’s sex difficult. In addition, button bucks continue to grow and may appear to be the same size as some does.

Arkansas Deer Seasons

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