Arkansas wildlife officials said on Wednesday the number of deer harvested in the 2013-2014 season is quickly approaching a new state record. According to the Baxter Bulletin, hunters took 210,457 deer in what is already the state’s second-best season ever. However, there is still some ground to cover before officials can crown the season as the state’s best. The 2012-2013 season saw hunters bagging 213,487 deer.
Arkansas has been seeing more and more successful seasons in recent years, and the latest numbers are only another indication that the state is great for deer hunters. With more than a month of hunting left in the state for bowhunters, officials say they are not sure if the 2013-2014 season can overtake last year’s record.
“We’re right on track. We still have the rest of January and Feburary, and expect at least another 2,000 deer statewide to be taken by Feb. 28,” said Cory Gary, a biologist with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). “That puts us right at the mark from last year — that’s two years, back-to-back, with a real nice harvest. We’re very pleased.”
According to retired AGFC news editor Joe Mosby, Arkansas deer harvest counts passed 100,000 only 26 years ago. Since then hunters have been enjoying increasing success thanks to more deer and more liberal regulations. One of the bigger problems during this span was hunters often targeted bucks more than does, leading to an unbalanced breeding population. These days however, conservation-minded hunters aim to take does in equal measure, and currently the harvest is just about split between both deer genders. According to Gary, 105,277 bucks were taken compared to 105,180 does so far this season.
As a whole, biologists are satisfied with the health of the state’s deer and their future, as well as the future of hunters who come to Arkansas.
“On that mythical scale of 1 to 10, Arkansas deer hunting ought to rate somewhere close to the maximum,” Mosby wrote.
Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service