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Arkansas Hunting Guide

arkansas hunting

Arkansas has a notably diverse range of habitats which support over a dozen wildlife species. For this reason, Arkansas has become a popular state amongst hunters and outdoors enthusiasts.

What to Hunt

Arkansas offers a variety of game species, including big game, furbearers, turkey, and much smaller game.

whitetail deer


Arkansas supports a large, healthy population of deer. Deer can be found all across the state, and Arkansas’s wildlife management strategy has made for a large population of trophy bucks. Seasons and bag limits vary by zone in Arkansas. The statewide bag limit is six deer, with a maximum of two bucks. These can be taken in any zone or combination of zones, as long as the bag limit of the specific zone is not exceeded.



To combat diminished elk population, Arkansas selects a limited number of hunters (at random) to receive elk permits each year. The elk population in Arkansas continues to grow, but is not as healthy as some other game species in the state. Most frequently, elk can be found near the mouth of the Buffalo River.



Arkansas offers a moderate population of turkey, which are predominantly of the Eastern subspecies. The turkey hunting seasons in Arkansas are short, but the state has a healthy enough distribution that chances of success are high. Turkey season is typically in April and May, depending on the hunting zone. The statewide bag limit is two legal turkeys, no jakes, with no more than one turkey taken per day. It is not legal to harvest a bearded hen.



Hunters in Arkansas can pursue mourning dove, white-winged dove, and Eurasian collared-dove. Doves may only be taken with shotguns, and shotguns must not be able to hold more than three shells total between the magazine and chamber. It is illegal to hunt doves with the aid of any bait, but it is permitted to manipulate natural vegetation to attract birds. Hunters may prepare dove fields by planting, harvesting, manipulating, or hogging down the fields, or by planting food plots.



Arkansas is one of the most popular waterfowl and duck hunting states in the nation. About 50% of the waterfowl taken in Arkansas are mallards. Black ducks, Mottled ducks, and pintails are also available. Waterfowl seasons are often in the fall and winter, depending on the species and zone.

feral hogs

Feral Hogs

Feral hogs are not native to Arkansas -- they are an invasive, destructive species. Feral hogs can carry many different types of disease. Although feral hog populations are declining, they could come back if they are not continuously removed. Hunting is one way that Arkansas manages hog populations. Feral hogs have no closed season and no bag limits. Anyone may hunt feral hogs on private land with the landowner’s permission, unless their hunting license has been revoked.



The cottontail and the swamp rabbit are most popular in Arkansas. Cottontails are more common and can be found in any heavily wooded area. The larger swamp rabbit is usually found in low-lying areas and wetlands. Arkansas has a daily bag limit of 8, and a possession limit of 16. Hunters may use up to eight box traps.



Arkansas provides an ample opportunity for hunting bobwhite quail. These birds can usually be found in open woods, thickets, and native grasses around the state. Quail season is typically from November-February. Arkansas has a daily limit of 6, and a possession limit of 12.

Other Arkansas game species include: Bear, Squirrel, Crow, Furbearing Mammals (other than coyote, beaver, nutria), Coyote, Beaver, Gray Fox, Mink, Muskrat, Red Fox, Raccoon, Opossum, Striped Skunk, Bobcat, River Otter, Nutria, Badger, Spotted Skunk, Weasel, Duck, Coot, and Merganser, Light Goose, etc. found in the "Hunting Seasons" section at bottom of the page

Where to Hunt

Arkansas offers a vast expanse of Wildlife Management Areas that are open to the public. Each WMA is an independent zone and subject to its own set of regulations. There are more than 100 wildlife management areas that make up thousands of acres of hunter-friendly land.

Licensing Fees

For anyone 16 years of age or older, an Arkansas hunting license is required to hunt any animals. This does not apply if you are hunting on a licensed shooting resort. A WMA General Use permit is also required to hunt on any public land.

License Fee
​Combination Sportsman’s License ​$35.50
​Resident Sportsman’s License (RS) ​$25.00
​Resident Wildlife Conservation License ​$10.50
​WMA General Use Permit ​Free
​Resident Trapper’s Permit ​Free
​Nonresident 5-Day All Game Hunting License ​$180.00
​Nonresident 3-Day All Game Hunting License ​$125.00
​Nonresident 1-Day All Game Hunting License ​$55.00
​Nonresident Annual Small Game Hunting License ​$110.00
​Nonresident 5-Day Small Game Hunting License ​$70.00
​Nonresident Trapper’s Permit ​$125.00
​​Lifetime Resident Hunting and Fishing License (non-expiring) ​$1,000.00

Hunter Education

Anyone potential hunter born after 1968 must complete a hunter education course to hunt in Arkansas.

Anyone under 16 may hunt without hunter education as long as they are under the supervision of an adult who is 21 years old. There is no age restriction for obtaining hunter’s education in Arkansas.

Youth Hunting

Arkansas designates various days throughout the year as ‘youth hunt’ days. Anyone under 16 may hunt without a license, if they are supervised by an adult over the age of 21.


To trap furbearing mammals, a person must have a valid Arkansas hunting license and a resident trapping license. A fur dealer permit is required to sell any pelts in Arkansas.

Hunting Seasons

Game Season
Deer* Sep 23 2023 - Feb 29 2024
Bear* Sep 13 2023 - Dec 15 2023
Elk Oct 1 2023 - Nov 2 2023
Quail Nov 1 2023 - Feb 5 2024
Rabbit Sep 1 2023 - Feb 29 2024
Squirrel May 15 2023 - Feb 29 2024
Crow Sep 1 2023 - Feb 19 2023
Coyote No closed season
Beaver Nov 11 2023 - Mar 31 2024
Gray fox, mink, muskrat, red fox Sep 1 2023 - Feb 29 2024
Raccoon, Opossum, Striped Skunk* No closed season
Bobcat Sep 1 2023 - Feb 29 2024
River Otter Nov 11 2023 - Feb 29 2024
Nutria Sep 1 2023 - Mar 31 2024
Badger, Spotted Skunk, Weasel Season Closed
Turkey Apr 15 2023 - May 5 2024
Duck, Coot, and Merganser* Nov 18 2023 - Jan 31 2024
Light Goose* Oct 29 2022 - Jan 31 2023
Alligator Sep 15 2023 - Sep 25 2023

*Hunting dates for this species may vary by zone, method of take, or subspecies of animal. Visit the state’s website here to find out more.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information.