Area hunters drawn for elk per­mits

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NWA OUTDOORS -

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.

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