LITTLE ROCK – Get near real-time updates on Arkansas’s turkey season beginning with the special youth turkey hunt this Saturday, April 8. With the new online licensing system, you can buy your license, check your turkey and keep tabs on the statewide harvest, all through the same site. Thanks to the switch to online and telephone checking, results are posted as soon as they are verified. Anyone can view up-to-date information by going to agfc.com and clicking on the "Check Your Success" button underneath the main banner. You also can go directly to the new licensing and checking site by visiting https://ar-web.s3licensing.com. Checking your turkey also may be done via phone at 844-5AR-HUNT (844-527-4868).
Jason Honey, turkey program coordinator for the AGFC, said Arkansas youth hunters typically harvest between 1,000 and 1,300 turkeys during the special two-day youth turkey hunt, and last year’s harvest fell in line with that trend.
"We give kids the first shot at the birds, before they get wise to hunter pressure," Honey said. "Last year, youths took 1,336 birds during the two-day hunt."
In years past, the season was set to allow a week between the youth hunt and opening day of the regular season, but this year will be different.
"We heard a lot of comments from hunters who wanted an earlier opening date," said Honey. "The Commission listened and moved it up, but we still need to be careful that we don’t overharvest our gobblers before they have time to breed hens. We’re hoping the Monday opener will help spread out some of that pressure while enabling hunters to chase birds that are a bit more vocal."
The AGFC has restricted the harvest of immature gobblers, allowing only a youth hunter to take one as part of their bag limit. Reducing the harvest of these birds should aid in the amount of mature birds available to breed the following year and offer mature birds to hunt.
"We’re currently conducting a research project to determine how much impact the recent ‘no jakes’ rule is having on letting more mature birds be available for breeding and harvest the next year."
Arkansas’s special youth turkey season is April 8-9 and is open to hunters 6 to 15 years old. Youth hunters may take one jake as part of their seasonal bag limit.
Arkansas’s regular turkey season opens April 10, 2017. Visit www.agfc.com for more details.