Deer seasons and bag limits for Arkansas

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2022-2023 Deer Season dates

Archery: Sept. 24, 2022 – Feb. 28, 2023

Muzzleloader: Oct. 15 – 23

Private Land Antlerless-only Modern Gun Hunt: Dec. 29 – 31

Special Youth Modern Gun Hunt: Nov. 5 – 6 and Jan. 7 – 8, 2023

Modern Gun: Nov. 12 – Dec. 18 and Dec. 26 – 28

Zone 12 Bag Limit

Outside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties

Five deer, no more than two bucks, which may include:

• Two bucks with archery, muzzleloader or modern gun, OR

• Five does with archery, OR

• Five does with muzzleloader and modern gun combined.

Inside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties (CWD Management Zone)

Five deer, no more than two antlered bucks, which may include:

• Two antlered bucks with archery, muzzleloader or modern gun, OR

• Five anterless with archery, OR

• Five antlerless with muzzleloader and modern gun combined.

To note:

• Dogs allowed for deer hunting Nov. 12 – Dec. 18.

• Outside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties, legal bucks must be button bucks or have at least three points on one side of their rack. Inside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties (CWD Management Zone), there are no antler restrictions.

• Button bucks DO count toward a hunter’s buck limit outside of Union, Bradley and Ashley counties (CWD Management Zone) and DO NOT count toward a hunter’s buck bag limit inside of Union, Bradley and Ashley counties.

• Inside of Union, Bradley and Ashley counties, CWD regulations apply

Deer hunting regulations

Antler-point restrictions: The end of the main beam and all points 1 inch long count as points in regard to antler-point restrictions.

Three-point rule: A legal buck must have both antlers shorter than 2 inches (button buck) or have three or more points on one side of his rack. The rule applies statewide, except in places where the 12-inch inside spread or 15-inch main beam; or 15-inch inside spread or 18-inch main beam rule apply.

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12-inch inside spread or 15-inch main beam rule: On Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc, Harold E. Alexander Spring River, Hope Upland, Lafayette County, Mike Freeze Wattensaw and Moro Big Pine Natural Area, Scott Henderson Gulf Mountain, Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMAs a buck must have:

• Both antlers under 2 inches (button buck included); or

• An inside spread of 12 inches or more in width; or

• At least one main beam 15 inches or more in length.

15-inch inside spread or 18-inch main beam rule: A legal buck in deer zones 16, 16A and 17 (Chicot, Desha and Lincoln counties and portions of Arkansas, Jefferson, Phillips, Lee and Crittenden counties) and on Buck Island, Cut-Off Creek, Dave Donaldson Black River, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMA Deer Research Area East Unit, George H. Dunklin Jr. Bayou Meto, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake, Rick Evans Grandview Prairie, St. Francis National Forest, Sheffield Nelson Dagmar, and Trusten Holder WMAs a buck must have:

• Both antlers under 2 inches (button buck included); or

• An inside spread of 15 inches or more in width; or

• At least one main beam 18 inches or more in length.

Other areas: On Bald Knob, Big Lake, Cache River, Felsenthal, Holla Bend, Overflow, Pond Creek, Wapanocca and White River NWRs; Rex Hancock Black Swamp and U of A Pine Tree Experimental Station WMAs, any buck deer may be legally harvested during all deer hunts. On Greers Ferry Lake WMA, any buck may be legally harvested during the deer muzzleloader Mobility Impaired permit hunt. On Hobbs State Park Conservation Area, Nimrod Lloyd Millwood WMA and Johnson County WRA on Dardanelle WMA, any buck may be legally harvested during the deer modern gun mobility impaired hunt.

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Hunter orange requirements: Hunters and those accompanying hunters in areas where modern gun or muzzleloader deer, bear or elk seasons are open must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange, chartreuse or blaze camouflage above the waist and a head garment of those same safety colors. Safety colors are not required for migratory bird hunters in these areas.

Baiting deer: Baiting is the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of salt, grain or other feed that could serve to lure or attract wildlife to, on or over an area where hunters are attempting to take them. An area is considered baited for 10 days following complete removal of bait.

• Hunters may bait and feed deer on private land outside of the CWD Management Zone year-round.

• Food plots may be used year-round.

• Baiting is not allowed on wildlife management areas.

It is unlawful to feed wildlife within the CWD Management Zone, which includes Union, Bradley and Ashley counties except:

• Bait may be used to hunt deer and elk on private land from Sept. 1-Dec. 31.

• Baiting bears.

• Hunting or trapping furbearers with the use of bait during open furbearer trapping seasons on private land.

• Incidental feeding of wildlife from livestock operations.

• Normal agricultural, gardening or soil stabilization practices are allowed.

• Attracting or feeding birds and squirrels with birdfeeders, bird baths.

Deer hunting near water:

• Swimming deer may not be hunted.

• Deer may not be driven or captured from a boat.

• Deer may not be hunted from a watercraft on public water.

Legal hunting equipment

Archery

Long, recurve and compound bows: Must have at least a 35-pound pull. Scopes, string locks and mechanical string releases may be used. Big-game hunters must use arrowheads at least 7/8-inches wide (mechanicals OK). Arrows and arrowheads containing firearm ammunition or poison may not be used.

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Crossbow: Crossbows must have at least a 125-pound pull and a mechanical safety. Scopes may be used. Big-game hunters must use arrowheads at least 7/8-inches wide (including mechanicals). Arrows and arrowheads containing firearm ammunition or poison may not be used.

Propelled Arrows: Arrows propelled from a compressed air system or by the action of an explosive or combustible propellant may not be used.

Muzzleloader

To be used for deer hunting, muzzleloading rifles must have a barrel 18 inches or longer and be .40 caliber or larger. Magnifying sights may be used. The use of shot is not legal. Legal muzzleloaders use flint, percussion cap, primer or electronic pulse, must have the bullet loaded through the muzzle and are not capable of firing a cartridge.

Hunters may use muzzleloading handguns with:

• barrels 9 inches or longer

• 45 caliber or larger if they shoot conical bullets (200 grains or heavier), or

• 530 caliber or larger if they shoot round balls.

A hunter may carry a muzzleloading handgun of any caliber as backup to a muzzleloading rifle.

Modern gun

Modern guns may be used for deer EXCEPT:

• buckshot in a .410 shotgun.

• shot smaller than No. 4 buckshot in any shotgun.

• rimfire cartridges, military or full metal jacketed ammunition.

• centerfire rifles or handguns smaller than .22 caliber.

• handguns with barrels shorter than 4 inches.

The AGFC has approved for modern gun deer season the use of large-bore air rifles that meet certain standards. The large-bore air rifle must be at least .40-caliber, shoot a single, expandable slug, produce at least 400 feet/pounds of energy at the muzzle, and be charged from an external tank. Large-bore air rifles are not legal for harvesting bear or elk.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>