The first step in a unique but demanding form of Arkansas hunting – urban deer hunts – is now open through July 1. Potential hunters can register online at www.agfc.com.
The hunts will be held from Sept. 7 through Jan. 31 in seven communities – Fairfield Bay, Bull Shoals, Russellville, Fort Smith-Barling, Horseshoe Bend, Lakeview and Cherokee Village. Hunting is with archery equipment only – longbows, recurve bows or compound bows. Crossbows are not allowed.
The hunts are cooperative events with the communities, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Bowhunters Association.
Hunters also must meet a list of requirements:
- Attend an urban hunt orientation and pay the $50 annual confirmation fee, which includes membership in the ABA for liability insurance purposes. A portion of the registration fee also goes to support Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
- Pass the International Bowhunter Education Course. A list of scheduled IBEC classes and orientations can be found at www.agfc.com.
- Pass a shooting proficiency test.
- Possess a valid Arkansas (resident or nonresident) big game license. Hunters must be at least 16 years of age.
- Possess a valid Urban Bowhunting Permit issued by AGFC. The permit will be valid for all the urban deer hunts for the year.
The urban hunts themselves have more requirements, such as hunters must hunt on public land or have written permission from landowners. They must shoot from stands that are at least 10 feet above the ground. No walking, stalking or use of ground blinds is allowed. Hunting must be at least 50 yards from designated trails or parks. Without written permission, hunting must be at least 50 yards from any occupied dwelling. The first deer taken must be a doe, and must be donated to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. All other deer harvested may be either-sex.
There are some unique perks to participating in one of the seven urban deer hunts. There is no bag limit or antler restriction. Deer harvested in urban deer hunts are considered bonus deer and do not count towards the hunter’s seasonal bag limit. All deer harvested must still be checked online at www.agfc.com or by telephone at 866-305-0808.
For a complete list of urban deer hunt rules and scheduled IBEC classes and orientations, visit www.agfc.com.
Image courtesy Arkansas Game and Fish Commission