The end of summer is drawing near, bringing with it not only the beginning of autumn, but new hunting seasons and events with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. This is a brief overview of what you can expect to see in the coming months.
For deer, archery season begins on Sept. 24, and will continue until the end of February. Muzzleloaders are permitted Oct. 12 – Oct. 23 for most Deer Zones, while others will not be allowing them at all or will allow them from Dec. 10- Dec. 12. A special youth modern gun hunt occurs Nov. 5 – Nov. 6, set approximately a week before modern gun season properly starts on Nov. 12. For full details of each zone, including bagging limits and other restrictions – such as hunting dog allowance – click here.
Bear season varies significantly based on hunting zone, with zones 1 and 2 open Sept. 17 – Nov. 30 for archery, Oct. 15 – Oct. 23 for muzzleloaders, and Nov. 12 – Nov. 30 for modern guns. No other zones are open to archery or muzzleloaders this year, and modern gun season varies. In all cases, the bag limit is one bear, and hunters must call the AGFC wildlife hotline (1-800-440-1477) the evening before to check the harvest number, as the hunting season will end once a zone’s quota has been met.
Elk and alligator seasons also begin soon, though the window for obtaining a hunting permit for either has closed. Elk season, whether on public or private lands, will be Oct. 1- Oct. 2 and Oct. 29 – Oct. 30 for youth hunts, and Oct. 3 – Oct. 6 and Oct. 31 – Nov. 4 for regular hunts. The season limit is one elk. Alligator season will occur from Sept. 16 – Sept. 19 and Sept. 23 – Spet. 26, with a season limit of one alligator of 4 feet or longer. For both elk and alligators, hunters must call the AGFC wildlife hotline the evening before to determine whether the quota has been reached.
For small game, rabbit season begins Sept. 1 and lasts until the end of February. Quail season happens from Nov. 1 to Feb. 5. Some migratory bird seasons begin in the coming months, including duck, coot, and merganser, geese, doves and crows, as well as furbearer hunting seasons, including beaver and nutria, bobcat, gray fox, red fox, muskrat, mink and river otters.
National Hunting & Fishing day is Sept. 24, which the AGFC will be celebrating with Fishing 101 events and fishing derbies across the state. Several public meetings over the next month will convene to discuss conservation issues, including black bass management and chronic wasting disease. And for anglers, an anonymous donor has recently backed AGFC’s stocking fisheries with more than 10,000 pounds of blue catfish, with most weighing more than 7 pounds and some coming in at 30. These catfish will be stocked in ponds associated with the AGFC’s family fishing program.