Thursday, June 13, 2019

Arkansas urban archery hunts offer head start to deer hunting season

LITTLE ROCK - The application period for Arkansas’ special urban bowhunts for the 2019-20 deer hunting season is now open. These hunts, which begin Sept. 1, offer bowhunters in Arkansas an early opportunity to get into the woods in order to help maintain white-tailed deer populations at levels which reduce conflicts with homeowners and drivers.

Hunters interested in participating in the Cherokee Village, Russellville, Fairfield Bay, Horseshoe Bend, Heber Springs and Hot Springs Village hunts should visit www.arkansasbowhunters.org/UrbanHunt to register online or contact J.D. Crawford at jd@arkansasbowhunters.org.

Hunters wishing to participate in the Bull Shoals or Lakeview hunts should contact Larry Hodge at 832-514-9663.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission works with these two bowhunting groups in order to help administer needed hunts in urban areas.

“We’re fortunate to have these two partners help administer these hunts, ensure the hunters are proficient and discreet and coordinate with the cities to prevent any conflicts,” said Ralph Meeker, statewide deer program coordinator. “Hunting is the most efficient means we have to control deer populations. These hunts allow hunters to enjoy their sport while offering an important service to the public and contribute to needy Arkansans throughout the state.”

As a stipulation of the hunt, all hunters must donate their first adult deer harvested to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. Additionally, hunters who participate in the hunts must attend an orientation where they must pass a proficiency test with the archery equipment they intend to use during the hunt. An orientation fee is collected by the bowhunting organizations, which covers the city, its citizens, and the qualified hunters under an insurance policy.

All urban hunts follow stringent guidelines to ensure the safety of hunters and local landowners is maintained. In addition to the orientations and shooting proficiency tests, all hunters must have passed the International Bowhunters Education Program course to participate.

Deer harvested during urban hunts do not count toward a hunter’s seasonal limit. There are no limits to the number of deer that can be harvested in urban hunts and all antler restrictions are lifted. All deer harvested must still be checked to the appropriate urban deer zone.