Arkansas youth hunters take in huge haul
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – Youth hunters across the Natural State saw great success while out hunting big game.
According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s online harvest totals, hunters aged 6 to 15 checked 9,153 deer during the annual youth modern gun deer hunt from Saturday, Nov. 5 to Sunday, Nov. 6.
AGFC Deer Program Coordinator Ralph Meeker said the first youth weekend typically results in a harvest of between 8,000 and 11,000 deer statewide.
“This year’s harvest falls right in line with those historical numbers,” Meeker said. “It’s right on par with the 2020-21 season. There may be a few more deer showing up in the system as some of the remaining data points are cleaned up, but I wouldn’t expect it to change by more than 100 deer.”
Meeker said the success of the youth hunt is largely influenced by weather conditions because it is only two days.
“We had significant storms roll through on Friday night, right before the hunt,” Meeker said. “I’m sure a few hunters who had set up pop-up blinds may have had to go find them in the dark that first morning from the wind having blown them away, but overall, it was great weather during the hunt,” Meeker said.
A news release sent Friday, Nov. 11 explained acorns and other hard masts also can impact success on private land, as heavy acorn crops can entice deer away from feeders and make them harder to pattern.
“The acorn crop really is highly variable around the state. Some areas have acorns and other areas are spotty at best,” Meeker said.
Even though the first youth hunt has concluded, Meeker reminds hunters that there are still plenty of opportunities to take a youth hunter along.
“Traditionally about 12% of our annual harvest comes from hunters younger than 16,” Meeker said. “That includes the special youth hunts, as well as all of the other hunting seasons. The second youth hunt, which is at the end of the year, will only account for a few hundred deer, but we’ll see plenty of youth hunters checking deer this weekend during the regular modern gun deer season opener, too.”
The second youth hunt is set to occur from Saturday, Jan. 7 to Sunday, Jan. 8.
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