JASPER – Twenty-nine lucky hunters will find out if their application for an Arkansas elk permit was successful at the Buffalo River Elk Festival, June 23. Biologists are trying to make it easier for the rest of us wanting to take an Arkansas elk who are willing to put in a little legwork and handshaking to make it happen. Beginning May 15, Private Land Elk Permits will be available on www.agfc.com.
Private land elk hunts always have been a bit of a challenge to participate. A certain number of tags were given to landowners who met specific acreage requirements based on survey data and information submitted to the AGFC Elk Program. Landowners then had to choose which person would get each tag.
“We’re routing all permit applications through the online license system,” said Wes Wright, elk program coordinator. “The application fee will be reduced from $35 to $5, any hunter will be able to purchase a private land elk tag from May 15 until the day of their hunt. It will be up to them to acquire the landowner’s permission.”
Wright says the switch also helps eliminate some of the paper permits a hunter had to carry. The private land elk hunt permit will simply appear as a code on their license.
While the formal quota for the hunt will be set at the Commission’s May 17 meeting, Wright expects no change in the quota from last year.
“The quota typically is 12 bulls and 40 antlerless elk,” Wright said. “Hunters must call the Wildlife Hotline (1-800-440-1477) each morning to find out if the quota has been reached. Once it has, the season is closed.”
Wright hopes the changes to the process will encourage more hunters to talk to landowners about accessing their property to hunt elk, particularly antlerless elk.
“We have had issues filling the antlerless side of the private land quota in the past,” Wright said. “This change may help get permits in the hands of hunters who will take a cow elk, provided they still get landowner permission.”
As with any type of hunting, hunters on private property must have a signed copy of the landowner’s permission to hunt, unless that person is an immediate family member. An example Permission to Hunt Card is available in each year’s Arkansas Hunting Guidebook.