By Wayne Hahne
Deer season for the state of Arkansas is just around the corner and many folks across the region are raring to go to bag a champion buck or put some venison on the table.
Hunting as a sport particularly has several rules a hunter must follow to be within the law. Each state has its own hunting laws and it’s important to know the changes in the law that might happen each year.
Let’s review some of the important considerations for deer season in Arkansas.
The hunting license
The hunting license is the temporary permit given to those wanting to hunt any animal that is listed as requiring a license to hunt, including deer. Limitations remain on hunting licenses that one needs to keep in mind including:
- A hunting license lasts only one year
- Those 16 years of age or older need to attend a hunter safety course to hunt alone
- Those wanting to hunt without taking the course may purchase the hunting license once and only once
- A resident hunting license runs $25.00 for deer but prices may change for different animals or occasions
- Out of state license run for much higher, above $100
- The hunters safety course is taught in various locations, both online and in person
Deer season dates
These questions apply specifically to deer in Arkansas, other states have laws individual to their own zones or counties. The seasons are listed below.
- Archery season (September 24- February 28)
- Muzzle loader (October 15- October 23 for first session; December 10-December 19 for second session)
- Modern gun (November 12-December 25)
This list does not include Arkansas’s elk season, to find that and more information about deer season visit the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission here.
Hunting any animal outside of its season and/or without proper licensing is against the law and brings stiff penalties. Arkansas is divided into separate zones like 1 and 1A to 17. Each hunting zone tends to have different rules, which means it’s important to know the rules for the zone where you are hunting. Here are the questions to consider when hunting in Arkansas that could have a different answer based on the zone.
- What is the bag limit? (Bag limit refers to how many animals successfully hunted)
- Is baiting, feeding, using food plots legal?
- Are hunting dogs legal? (This includes knowing what category of hunting dog is allowed)
- Are there antler-point restrictions? (Length of brow tine, point, and main beam; and broken antlers)
- Are there any weapon restrictions? (Bows, muzzle loader, or modern gun? Restrictions on barrels, cartridge, lead, hollow point or caliber?)
- Will the zone be a CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) zone? (If so, there would be several more restrictions)
Illegal hunting techniques
Most of what we’ve covered so far includes what is allowed. Hunting laws in Arkansas also expressly forbid certain techniques and methods.
- Use of any additive on projectiles or otherwise is prohibited. This includes poison, drugs, chemicals, explosives, or traps
- Hunting from a moving vehicle is prohibited, including not being allowed to hunt from an aircraft
- Hunting wildlife fleeing from natural disasters or fires is prohibited
- Unless hunting alligators, hunting hours apply (30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset)
- Wasting edible meat and marketable fur or antlers is prohibited
- Hunting with electronic assistance such as tracking, telemetry, or a computer is prohibited
- Firing a weapon within 100 feet of city limit is illegal
- Interfering or messing with an officer or official is prohibited
- Concealed weapons are allowed unless specifically prohibited
- On public land, wearing bright orange colors is generally a requirement.
Other Seasonal Animals
Deer are not the only animals that have a season for hunting, in fact there are several. Refer to the AGFC website for information about other hunting other animals including bear, alligator, dove, crow, duck, frog, and small game.
Laws on Nuisance Animals
Most of what we’ve discussed so far is animals that are commonly hunted. Arkansas has its share of nuisance animals, which are detrimental to either the environment or human establishments. Trapping these animals generally requires a permit. A few examples are listed include rats and mice, muskrat, coyote, beaver, and feral hogs.
- Feral hogs
Arkansas is home to a wealth of animals. When hunting them, always practice caution and safety.
About Wayne Hahne
Wayne’s major is creative writing with a minor in history. He loves to write; in fact, he has been told he writes better than he speaks. Besides working out, hiking, hunting, and gaming, he generally tries to experience everything he can in every culture.