A deer hunting record was set last season. By far, it produced the most deer every taken by Arkansas hunters.
This is good, biologist Cory Gray told the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at its Thursday meeting in Little Rock. It is also a strong indication that the buck-doe ratio across the state, once badly out of kilter, is moving closer to the desired status.
Another shift is away from the south Arkansas dominance in the deer numbers. That part of the state still has the most deer, but other areas have closed the gap considerably.
Arkansas deer hunters can look forward to a similar structure for the 2013 hunt.
Gray provided another interesting statistic. Success is many times higher now than several decades back for deer hunters.
He said, "In 1945, just 3 percent of deer hunters got a deer. Last season, the success rate was 70 percent." He went out to explain this does not take into account that some hunters took more than one deer. But, of an estimated 300,000 deer hunters in 2012, they checked 213,487 deer.
Taking deer to check stations was discarded several years back, and today checking is done electronically — telephone, Smartphone or Internet. Gray said that last season 51 percent of hunters checked their deer with toll-free phone calls. Another 30 percent used Smartphones, and 19 percent used computers and the Internet.
The Game and Fish Commission set hunting dates and rules for most game species on Thursday. Migratory bird seasons will be set in July and August.
Modern gun deer season, "the big one" for most Arkansans, will open Saturday, Nov. 9. Length of the season will depend on what zone a hunter is in.
Season bag limit will again be six deer of which no more than two can be bucks. Most zones have limits of fewer than six, but hunters can take deer in more than one zone up to that statewide limit of six. Wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges are each individual zones.
Other deer hunting dates will be Sept. 28 through Feb. 28 for archery, Oct. 19-27 for muzzle-loaders over most of the state plus. Dec. 29-31 for several zones, Oct. 12-16 for the antlerless hunt on private land in many zones, Nov. 2-3 and Jan. 4-5 for statewide youth hunts and Dec. 26-28 for the Christmas Holiday Modern Gun Hunt statewide.
Turkey season in the spring of 2014 will open on April 19. It will end April 27 for a few turkey zones and May 4 for much of the state.
Quail season will be Nov. 1-Feb. 2 statewide.
Rabbit season will be Sept. 1-Feb. 28 statewide.
Furbearer season will be Sept. 1-Feb. 28 for fox, mink, bobcat and skunk, July 1-Feb. 28 for coyotes, July 1–March 31 for raccoon, and Sept. 1-March 31 for beaver, muskrat and nutria.
Squirrel season will be May 15-Feb. 28 statewide.
Crow season will be Sept. 1-Feb. 21 statewide.
Bear season will be Oct. 1-Nov. 30 for archery, Oct. 19-27 for muzzle-loaders, Nov. 4-30 for modern gun in Bear Zones 1 and 2, Nov. 30-Dec. 8 for Bear Zone 5 and Nov. 23-Dec. 8 for Bear Zone 5A. A youth bear hunt will be Nov. 2-3 in Bear Zones 1 and 2.
Elk season will be Oct. 7-11 and Oct. 28-Nov. 3.
Alligator season will be Sept. 20-23 and Sept. 27-30.