LITTLE ROCK, Ar (AGFC) - It was a very good year for deer hunting in Arkansas. Hunters recorded the second highest harvest total on record. Preliminary harvest figures show that almost 183,700 total deer were checked during the 2008-09 season.
During last week's monthly meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, commissioners were briefed on the state's recent deer season harvest. Brad Miller, AGFC deer program coordinator, told the commission the harvest was up over 13,800 deer from the 2007-08 season.
Hunters checked 194,687 deer in 1999, the most in a year since the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began keeping records in 1938.
The largest increase came in the doe harvest where hunters took almost 74,400 female deer. That number was over 24 percent higher than last year. The buck harvest was down about 2 percent.
In other business, the commission:
*Agreed to the purchase of two boating access sites on the South Fork Spring River in Fulton County. Presently, there is only one public access on the South Fork. The river meanders about 53 miles and is a popular wade-fishing and float-fishing stream in north Arkansas. Cost of the two tracts is $32,800.
*Accepted the donation of two vacant tracts in the Sneed's Creek Subdivision. The land will be used to develop a public access to the White River in Baxter County.
*Agreed to a budget increase of just over $6.2 million for clean-up and repair work in areas that received extensive damage during the winter's ice storm. The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be reimbursing the agency 75 percent of the cost and the remainder will come from Arkansas emergency funds and insurance.
*Approved a proclamation by Gov. Mike Beebe to start free fishing days at noon, June 5 to end at midnight, June 7 and June 12-14. Licenses will not be required for fishing in Arkansas during that period.