Deer Hunting on Arkansas Public Hunting Lands

Question: “I’m an archery hunter from Utah interested in deer hunting in Arkansas. I’ve hunted mule deer but love chasing elk, now I am looking to get into whitetail deer hunting. My wife is also just getting into the sport. She’s small and can’t pull a whole lot of bow. I was thinking a whitetail hunt might be the thing for her too. I’ve heard Arkansas has lots of whitetail. We are both college students and don’t have a ton of money to pay for a private hunt. We are going to start saving up for travel and permits for next season. We are just interested in a fun deer hunt, not after huge trophy bucks.

Does anyone have any suggestions being that I have never been to Arkansas? How can I plan a good fun deer hunting trip in Arkansas? What do I need? Also, is there any kind of private land hunting that would not cost me as much as the car I drive? Even cull or “management bucks” would work. Any help is greatly appreciated. I work summers here for the forest service and would be thankful for and Arkansas deer hunting ideas.”

Deer Hunting in Arkansas - Arkansas Publc Hunting Lands

Response: Deer hunting in Arkansas is very doable. Arkansas has a lot of public land to hunt. Here is some good news for you – none of the wildlife management areas (WMAs) in my area require a hunting permit. We have Mount Magazine WMA, Petit Jean WMA, and Muddy Creek WMA. This probably will provide you and your wife with all the public land you could ever want to hunt. Bow hunting season opens in mid-September of each year.

A five day deer hunting license will include whitetail, bear and small game. Turkey hunting will be closed due to lower numbers in recent years. Arkansas public lands hold good deer numbers and even a few nice bucks. As with deer hunting elsewhere, food sources will be key during late September and early October. My recommendation for stand locations would be to find white oak acorns on a north facing ridge. Find deer sign and hunt it hard.

The best bow hunting time for deer in my opinion would be the week prior to our ML season open, which is mid-October. Deer movement, and especially buck movement, during this time of the season will be high. Rattling for whitetail bucks will work too, but you will need patience. Some of the areas will also have feral hogs, just make sure to shoot them all if you can.

Arkansas really is a friendly place to out of state bow hunters. If you plan on deer hunting in Arkansas on public land make sure you go to the state web site and look around. Hunters can find the harvest numbers for the different WMAs under the deer hunting section. Good luck to you and your wife.

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