If you are a deer hunter, and roughly 15 percent of the residents of Arkansas are, you probably want to do better at the game. You want to move up the ladder of deer hunting competency.
All right, let’s concede there are some people around the state who believe they know it all about deer hunting, that there is nothing new to learn. Let’s skip over them.
Brad Miller, PhD, came on board with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission nearly a year ago, and he is leading a project for five deer seminars around the state in the coming weeks – in time for this year’s deer season.
Whether attending one of these seminars will make you a better deer hunter depends on you, of course. For anyone, it should be another tool in the box. The seminars are free. No registration is needed. There is a variety of topics, and participants will have opportunities to go one-on-one with the AGFC biologists with questions.
The seminars are not an occasion for griping about regulations, season dates and limits. That event comes in January each year.
The deer seminars:
• Monday, Aug. 24, Little Rock, AGFC Headquarters, 2 Natural Resources Drive, 6:30-9 p.m.
• Thursday, Aug. 27, Jonesboro. Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, 6:30-9 p.m.
• Tuesday, Sept. 1, Fort Smith, Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, 6:30-9 p.m.
• Thursday, Sept. 3, Pine Bluff, Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center, 6:30-9 p.m.
• Tuesday, Sept. 8, Hope, Fair Park Community Center, 6:30-9 p.m.
Miller outlined topics that will be covered at each of the five seminars, including the 2009-2010 deer season forecast, best places in Arkansas to go deer hunting, how to age deer, deer antler scoring, food plots, deer management, regulation changes for the upcoming season and the history of deer in Arkansas.
That last topic could be enlightening for hunters and others in Arkansas who believe deer just happened upon us in the numbers we have today.
The restoration of deer is a major success story for Arkansas. In the late 1930s, it was estimated there were only 500 deer left in the state. Today we have something like 750,000, maybe more.
Many people and many organizations, including public agencies, were involved in restoring Arkansas’ deer. They deserve credit all right, but the hunters themselves are largely responsible for deer like we have today.
Hunters’ license money, tax money and input to the various agencies pushed the deer work. Hunters, most of them, also realized what deer needed and helped protect them.
If you have a youngster in your household, take him or her with you to one of these seminars. Get a friend or hunting-minded relative to go with you. You’ll have some interesting topics for discussion on the way back home.
(Log Cabin outdoor writer Joe Mosby can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.)