Hunting in Arkansas

Published on 11th April 2023

Is hunting in Arkansas playing in your mind while planning another hunting venture? Or do you want to explore what’s there to hunt in Arkansas?

You’re in a treat! This article curated everything to know. All are from official sources and the experience of Arkansas hunters.   

It’s a no-brainer that the Natural State is a frontrunner for the best waterfowl and deer hunting in the US. It even stands out from its surrounding states for its diversity of habitats. 

Want to know more? Well, let’s keep going! 

Arkansas Hunting Seasons 

Wondering when’s the best time to hunt in Arkansas? Check this for the general overview of popular hunting season dates in the state. 

These hunting seasons go through Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). They are responsible for keeping the wildlife population alive.

Deer SeasonArchery: Late September to late February.
Muzzleloader: October and December.
Modern Gun: November to December. 
Modern Gun (Youth): Early November and Early January
Black Bear Season Archery: Late September to November
Muzzleloader: Late October
Modern Gun: Late November
Modern Gun (Youth): Early November
Elk SeasonPublic Land: Early October and late October to Early November *Permit drawing system
Private Land: Early October and late October to Early November
Alligator Season
*Permit drawing system
Public and Private Land: September 16-29 and September 23-26
Wild TurkeySpring 2023 Turkey: Mid-April to Early and Late May
Youth Hunt: April 8-9 
Small GameSquirrel: May 15 to February 28 
Rabbit: September 1 to February 28 
Quail: November 1 to February 5
WaterfowlDuck: November 19 to January 31
Canada Goose: September 1 to January 31
White-Fronted Goose: October 29 to January 31
Light Goose: February 1 to April 25
FurbearersBeaver, Nutria: September 1 to March 31
Raccoon, Opossum, Coyote: Open year-round
Bobcat, Fox, Muskrat, Mink: September 1 to February 28

Note: These seasons have specific dates depending on the zone. Check the AGFC website for more specific dates for each species. 

Deer Hunting

Deer hunting in Arkansas is a widespread and time-honored tradition. And that attracts both deer hunters to the state. 

In fact, the state boasts a healthy and diverse white-tailed deer population. Find acorns, water, and thick wood; you’ll spot one. 

But due to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), several zones regulated extra rules to help reduce the spread of the disease.

Black Bear Hunting

Ancient Arkansas hunters would laugh if told that the black bear population’s growing. 

Well, it’s understandable. They witness a decline its population due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss.

But joke on them, the black bear population has a remarkable comeback. All thanks to the efforts of wildlife managers!

Now, Arkansas hunters can hunt one black bear per season in any permitted and open zone.

Geese and Duck Hunting

One thing’s for sure, the state is on the bucket list of every Waterfowler. Well, it’s not called Duck Capital for nothing!

The state situates along the known migration route for many waterfowl species. All are legal to shoot and feast over with!

Hunters in Arkansas enjoy a time-honed duck hunting tradition. Because of that, the state has become a prime location for geese and duck hunting. 

Best Places to Hunt in Arkansas

We all know that public lands are hunters’ land, right?

Lucky you, the natural state has a pre-dominant public land. Hunters enjoy diverse hunting opportunities by accessing public hunting areas in Arkansas. 

Here are some best public hunting places to hunt specific game species in Arkansas:

White River Refuge

White River in southeastern Arkansas is an excellent destination for duck hunting. This area provides crucial habitats for migrating waterfowl species along the Mississippi Flyway. 

Hunters can find a variety of duck species in the area in its bottomland hardwood forests, swamps, and oxbow lakes. 

Ozark and Ouachita National Forest

Want to hunt in a place with almost no soul to bother aside from species you can hunt? Then you should go to Arkansas’ national forests. 

Ozardk and Ouachita national forests are home to popular big game species in the state. Search further in the zone and it will reward you with trophy-quality game species. 

Lose yourself in the forest’s rugged beauty while searching for your next trophy.

Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area

Want to pursue good-quality ducks with generous bag limits? Bayou Meto is waiting for you!

This WMA is yet another paradise for duck hunters. Hunters can enjoy exciting waterfowl hunting in its flooded timber. 

With its prime waterfowl habitat, you’ll have a blast hunting ducks in this southeastern Arkansas gem!

Hunting Regulations in Arkansas

Hunting regulations in Arkansas promotes several key aspects to maintain wildlife’s sustainability. 

Here’s an overview of some key hunting regulations in Arkansas:

Hunting License 

Before heading out to the state wilderness, you’ll need the proper license, depending on your residency status and the game type you’re after.

Here’s a quick overview of the types of licenses you’ll need based on your situation:

Resident Licenses

Combination Sportsman’s License$35.50
Resident Sportsman’s License$25.00
Resident Wildlife Conservation License$10.50

Non-Resident Licenses

All Game Hunting License1-year: $350.00
5-day: $180.00
3-day: $125.00
1-day: $55.00
Small Game Hunting License1-year: $110.00
5-day: $70.00

Senior and Disability Licenses

Resident 65-Plus Lifetime Combination HuntingCombination: $35.50
Hunting: $25.00
Resident 3-Year Disability Hunting LicenseCombination: $35.50
Hunting: $25.00

Shooting hours for most game species are 30 minutes before sunrise and after sunset. But, there are exceptions for certain species (migratory game birds). 

Always check the regulations for the game species you plan to hunt.

Elk and Alligator hunting permit

Elk Hunting Permits

Arkansas has a limited number of elk hunting permits available each year. AGFC allocates these permits through a random draw system. 

Hunters must apply for the lottery online through the AGFC website. The application period runs from May to June. 

The drawing takes place in June, and AGFC notifies successful applicants.

Alligator Hunting Permits

The distribution of alligator hunting permits is also through a draw system. Hunters must apply online during the designated application period, typically in June. 

The drawing takes place in July, and successful applicants receive their permits and tags.


Hunting in Arkansas is not only about waterfowl experiences. With the state’s public lands and its rich wildlife habitats, hunters would enjoy a diverse and memorable hunting venture. 


Is Arkansas good for hunting?

Yes, hunting in Arkansas opens you to diverse hunting opportunities.

The state is not only for waterfowlers. Hunters are also subject to fantastic big and small game hunting. 

What is Arkansas known for in hunting?

Arkansas is famous for its world-class duck hunting. 

The state attracts many migratory waterfowl due to its flooded timber and rice fields. That makes the state a dream destination for duck hunters.

Is Arkansas good for deer hunting?

Yes, Arkansas has a grade of B for deer hunting. The state has a healthy whitetail deer population and a decent deer hunting season.