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  Arkansas Deer Hunting

State DNR Office   - Hunting Regs -  Federal Information

Beyond the Horizon
by Scott Henderson, Director
Excerpts of an article on the future of deer management in Arkansas from the director of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

The one million white-tailed deer in the state are viewed from many different perspectives by Arkansans.  Outdoor enthusiasts are thrilled by the opportunity to see, photograph or hunt a deer.  Others, however-farmers, landowners and motorists-often encounter deer under more troublesome circumstances.  As a result, the management challenge is immense.  Appropriate population levels, harvest methods and season and bag limit considerations, control mechanisms and the types of recreational uses we may promote are all subject to considerable debate. 

Our job at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission is conserving and protecting our treasures natural resources and inspiring people to enjoy and live in harmony with the natural environment.  That responsibility requires that we seek ways to ensure that deer are conserved at levels compatible with the health of other natural resources, and in a manner consistent with the health, safety and well-being of Arkansans.  At the same time, we want to provide opportunities for individuals to enjoy the many diverse recreational benefits associated with deer. 

In the future, as we seek to meet these objectives, our deer management strategies will continue evolving.  Our plans will always retain a strong commitment to hunting as the most cost-effective control mechanism available in much of the state, and as a valuable recreational experience for many Arkansans.  We also recognize, however, the new challenges we face as the deer population expands. 

Priority one will always be ensuring the well-being of white-tailed deer and their habitat.  Long-term objectives will focus on maintaining deer populations at levels necessary to ensure compatibility with human land uses and natural communities; encouraging and promoting recreational use and enjoyment of the deer resource; and informing and educating Arkansas citizens about deer biology, management options and the impacts deer have on landscapes and people.  We will provide continued emphasis on vital hunter education efforts and maintain deer management assistance for private landowners through formalized programs.  Our field staff will carry on deer research and survey work to help managers solve deer problems.  Our commissioners and biologists will stay abreast of such problems as chronic wasting disease that could adversely affect our deer herd.  And your Game & Fish Commission will further its efforts to teach young people, nonhunters and other segments of the public about the importance of hunting as a management tool.

2006-07 Deer Season

Modern gun deer season will open November 11 across Arkansas this fall.The 2006-07 hunting seasons for 2006-07 were approved at the March 2006 monthly meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

The statewide bag limit was raised from three to four deer (lower in certain zones) The increase allows two legal bucks and two does to be taken by modern gun or muzzleloader in zones 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17. Up to four does may be taken by archery or crossbow in those zones.

WMA and Zone Quota Doe Permit

The Wildlife Management Area permit hunt applications will be accepted from June 1 through June 30, 2006. These permits can only be obtained by applying on the official forms or online using the hyperlink.

Application forms may be obtained at license dealers statewide, by calling the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 501-223-6300 or 1-800-364-4263 or by visiting one of our offices.

Applications for permit hunts must be postmarked by June 30, 2006.

Legal Buck

Determining whether a buck may be legally taken by a hunter requires careful observation. When counting the number of points, the end of the main beam constitutes one point. Additional points must be at least one inch long to count.

Three-point rule: To be legal, a buck must have both antlers shorter than two inches or have three or more points on one side of his rack before being taken. The three-point rule is a strategy to increase the age of bucks by reducing pressure on younger bucks. This rule applies statewide unless mentioned below.

4x4 slot: To be legal, a buck must have at least four points on both sides of his rack before being taken.

Harvest Information

Click on the hyperlinks below to view the harvest data for past years.

Arkansas Game & Fish Deer Harvest Reports Available Online.  Use the hyperlink below to learn more about the online program available for browsing through online deer harvest data.  The 2004-05 season results are available here.

Learn more about the new
AGFC Deer Harvest Data Program



Statewide Harvest      



1998-99 Statewide

2004-05 Harvest
by Zone

2003-04 Harvest
by County

Harvest by Zone      
    2001-02 by Zone 2000-01 by Zone
Bag Limit
The statewide bag limit for the 2006-07 season was raised from three to four deer (lower in certain zones). The increase allows two legal bucks and two does to be taken by modern gun or muzzleloader in zones 12, 13, 14, 15 and 17. Up to four does may be taken by archery or crossbow in those zones.
Deer Zones
Click on the deer zone map at left for a printable version of this map.

This map has been digitized and is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.  If you do not have this free software, click on the hyperlink at the bottom of this page.

2006-07 Deer Zone Map

  Deer Management Plan   A team of professional wildlife biologists employed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission developed this plan. Initially, the nine-member Deer Committee, operating under the direction of the Wildlife Management Division, developed the plan. Prior to completion, the plan received a thorough review by additional agency staff and comments were incorporated prior to approval by the Commission.

The major purpose of the plan is to provide strategic, long-term guidance and direction for the Commission?s white-tailed deer program. Operational planning based on priorities in this strategic plan will occur annually in conjunction with the AG&FC budget process, and biennially in conjunction with biennial personnel requests. This strategic plan will be evaluated and updated on a five-year cycle.

Strategic Deer Management Plan

    Hunting Ethics and Fair Chase

"Fair Chase" is the original code of conduct first used by Boone and Crockett Club members in the early 1890s at a time when sportsmen emerged as the guardians over our game animals and birds. It was defined as the ethical, sportsmanlike, lawful pursuit, and taking of any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals.

To learn more about hunting ethics and the Fair Chase doctrine, click on the hyperlink below.

This site was created through a cooperative effort between individuals, companies, and organizations that care deeply about our hunting heritage, our wildlife, and wildlife habitat. Its purpose is to support the most successful wildlife management and conservation system in history by providing information, as well as thoughts and opinions, about the origins and importance of sportsmanship, hunting, conservation ethics, and land stewardship.

  Triple Trophy Award Program

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission started the program in 1984 to recognize outstanding hunting skills and to encourage harvest of does. Triple Trophy recipients receive a certificate and patch. Award packets are mailed during the early summer each year. Hunters must apply each year to receive the award.