LITTLE ROCK – If you didn’t draw a wildlife management area turkey hunt permit during the regular drawing, there’s still a chance to get a spot to hunt some of Arkansas’s most popular WMAs. All leftover permits will be available at www.agfc.com on a first-come, first-served online sale beginning 8 a.m., March 12.
In years past, many unclaimed permits would be left for sale after the deadline had passed for successful applicants to pay the processing fee for their permit. However, with the new permitting system, applicants must pay an up-front application fee at half the price of the old processing fee, and all applicants who draw automatically get their permit without any additional fees. The change was made to streamline the permit process and to increase the likelihood that people who drew were actually serious about using the opportunity to hunt.
“We felt that many people who really didn’t have any intentions of hunting would apply, lowering the chances of those who would,” said Brad Carner, chief of wildlife management for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “When they had to make even a small investment in the draw, many of these applicants dropped out.”
The only WMA turkey hunting permits left for sale are for hunts where more permits were available than the number of people applying, but that doesn’t mean the areas are not good hunting locations. Some wildlife management areas that have excellent success rates often fly under the radar because all the attention is placed on one or two standout areas. In some cases, very good WMAs are left as a fallback option, in case hunters don’t draw the more popular hunts.
Additionally, many of the WMAs that annually have the highest turkey harvest numbers do not require drawn permits because they are large enough to accommodate many hunters at a time. The Ozark National Forest WMA, Mount Magazine WMA and Winona WMA typically rank in the top 5 WMAs for harvest, and all are open to hunting without a specially drawn permit.
Each leftover permit will require a $5 processing fee. Each hunter may purchase one permit for each of the remaining WMA permit hunts. There is no limit to the amount of permits a person may buy, but many of the hunts are on the same days, so hunters should pay attention to the hunt dates as well as the location before purchasing.
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications