Area hunters drawn for elk permits
Four hunters from Northwest Arkansas are among 29 Arkansans who have the opportunity to hunt elk during the public land elk hunts this October and November.
Their names were drawn during the annual Buffalo River Elk Festival. The four area hunters are Jason Dodson of Bella Vista, Bradley Stratton of Fayetteville, Randall James of Garfield and Richard Holquist of Farmington.
More than 3,000 applications from online registrations taken in May filled the squirrel cage on center stage at the festival in Jasper on June 24. Twenty-six winners were chosen between the festival’s events to fill the available slots for this year’s hunt.
An additional three permits were reserved for onsite applicants only. This year three female hunters had their names pulled from the batch of 594 on-site applications.
The number of applications dropped slightly this year. Last year, 4,894 applications were received online, compared to this year’s total of 3,019. Wes Wright, elk program coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the drop was expected with the recent change to the Game and Fish online permit system. All drawn permit applications now require a nonrefundable $5 application processing fee.
“We had instances where applicants were drawn who did not have any hunting experience or experience handling a firearm,” Wright said. “And we’ve had people draw and not show up for the hunt or only hunt the first day and quit. We wanted to make sure people were serious about entering.”
Private land elk permit applications will still be accepted through July 15. Landowners enrolled in the Game and Fish Elk Management Assistance Program may apply and are issued a number of permits based on the acreage of their property. Landowners may transfer permits to eligible hunters. Hunters participating in the private land elk hunt must follow a quota system, with 12 bulls and 40 antlerless elk being available in this year’s quota hunt.
In addition to drawn hunts and private land quota hunts, any elk outside of Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties may be legally taken by a hunter who is hunting for deer with a limit of one, either sex elk per year.