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Apply now for state urban bowhunts

by Flip Putthoff | June 9, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

The application period for Arkansas's special urban bowhunts for the 2021-22 deer hunting season is now open.

The hunts, which begin Sept. 1, offer Arkansas bowhunters an early opportunity to get into the woods. It's also the most effective method available for wildlife managers to assist cities in maintaining white-tailed deer populations at levels that reduce conflicts with homeowners and drivers.

Urban hunts for the 2020-21 season will be held in the areas and cities of Bull Shoals, Cherokee Village, Fairfield Bay, Heber Springs, Helena-West Helena, Horseshoe Bend, Hot Springs Village, Lakeview and Russellville.

Bowhunters must qualify at an orientation before participating in a hunt.

"All hunters must pass a proficiency test, pass the International Bowhunters Education Program course and attend an orientation before receiving their urban hunt tags," said Ralph Meeker, deer program coordinator for Game and Fish. "The training is not difficult, but it does ensure that participants are capable of making ethical choices and a clean harvest.

"The orientation teaches hunters about some of the ground rules to follow while hunting and some suggestions to prevent any conflicts with landowners who live nearby," Meeker said.

Urban hunts also provide food for needy families in Arkansas. All hunters must donate their first deer harvested to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

Meeker and Assistant Deer Program Coordinator Jeremy Brown have worked with Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry and schools throughout Arkansas to provide snack sticks made from donated deer meat to needy children throughout the state.

Deer harvested in urban hunts go to needy children through school backpack programs. Deer taken during urban hunts do not count toward a hunter's seasonal limit. There are no limits to the number of deer that can be harvested in urban hunts and all antler restrictions are lifted. All deer harvested must still be checked to the appropriate urban deer zone.

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