Close, But No Cigar, on Deer Season Record

Despite some unfavorable weather, the 2013-14 deer hunt in Arkansas came close to equaling the record set the previous year.

Hunters checked 213,199 deer during the season, just under the record of 213,487, according to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission statistics.

The season just ended had one distinction, however. It was the first time more does (female deer) than bucks were taken by hunters. The difference was small – 107,247 does to 105,952 bucks. The buck totals include both antlered bucks and button or nubbin bucks.

In the previous record-setting year, 110,448 bucks and 103,039 does were checked by hunters.

“This is huge in regards to where we have come from in the recent past when 70 percent of our harvest was comprised of bucks,” said Cory Gray, manager of the AGFC’s deer program. “We are making progress on the management of our female segment, which in turn will result in a healthier, more productive, balanced, deer herd. We call this a Total Herd Management Concept — we place as much emphasis on managing the females as we do the males.”

The numbers of deer checked in the past two hunting seasons are a reflection on the state’s deer population and expanded seasons and limits. The statewide season limit is six deer, although most zones have lower limits.

Hunters can take deer in more than one zone to reach that limit of six, although Zone 12, which is much of south Arkansas, and Zone 17, inside the main Mississippi River levees, have six-deer season limits. Union County repeated as the top deer hunting county in the state with 8,482 checked by hunters.

Second was Drew County with 6,325. Cleveland County was third at 6,249, Bradley County fourth at 6,117, and Ashley County fifth with 5,918. Others in the top 10 were Grant County, sixth, 5,786; Columbia County, seventh, 5,742; Washington County, eighth, 5,588; Clark County, ninth, 5,559; and Arkansas County, 10th, 5,511.

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