Elk permit drawings

Now's the time to sign up for elk permit drawings LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – If you want to hunt elk in Arkansas, now's the time to sign up for the opportunity. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's permit process for a free chance to hunt Arkansas's largest game animal is available now.

May is application time for a chance to win one of 24 permits to hunt elk in the Buffalo River country of Arkansas. The hunt dates this year in elk compartments 1, 2, 3 and 4 are Sept. 26-30 and Dec. 5-9. The season for the private land elk management Zone (Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties; excluding Boxley Valley) is Dec. 5-9.

The applications are available only on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's website, http://www.agfc.com/licenses/Pages/PermitsSpecialElk.aspx. Applying doesn't cost anything, nor does winning one of the available permits. One additional permit for the September hunt in compartment 4 is issued to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for fundraising purposes. Eighty five percent of the proceeds from this granted permit is returned to Arkansas for wildlife habitat work. In addition, a youth permit for the December hunt in compartment 3 is granted to the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation for fundraising activities.

The drawing for the public land permits will be June 25 on the Newton County Courthouse Square during the Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper. Winners don't have to be present.

One permit will be issued to an Arkansas resident who completes an application during the festival. For this one, the winner must be present.

Applications for Arkansas's 2011 public land elk hunt permits may be submitted May 1-June 1.

Permits for elk compartments 1, 2, 3 and 4 are available to Arkansas residents and Lifetime Sportsmen Permit holders only. Two permits will be reserved for a youth under 16 years of age to hunt in compartment 3. Youths under 16 (as of Sept. 26, 2011) applying for an elk hunt automatically will be entered into this drawing. Youths not selected for the special youth permit may be drawn for one of the other permits. There is no application fee. Applicants must be 6 years old by Sept. 26 to apply for public land permits.

Individuals hunting in elk compartments 1, 2, 3 or 4 are restricted to one elk permit per year. Permitees will be notified by phone or mail and will receive an information packet via mail. Hunters will be required to attend an elk hunting orientation and training session held the day before the opening of the September and the December hunts.

Private land elk permit applications may be submitted only by mail June 1-July 15. Complete applications must be postmarked on or before July 15. Call 501-223-6440 to receive a paper application by mail.

For private land hunts, applicants may be resident or nonresident hunters. Applicants must provide either a driver's license number or a Social Security number. Hunters under 16 (as of Dec. 5, 2011) must supply a valid hunter education number to apply for a permit. Applications must include a landowner name, signature, address, phone number, county, range, township and section; and a $35 application fee. Only one application per hunter for a private land permit will be accepted. Applicants may not apply for more than one private land elk permit. Applicants must be 6 years old (as of Dec. 5, 2011) to apply for private land elk permit.

Landowners will be contacted to verify an applicant's eligibility. Hunters will receive an information packet with the permit. Completed applications must be received no later than July 15, 2011. There will be a quota of 23 elk on private lands.

Improving elk habitat in the Buffalo River country is another benefit of the permit process. Many Arkansans who apply for the permits send donations to the elk program, and this money is used for food plots, prescribed burning and other work in the elk area. A donation to the AGFC for the elk program is not a requirement for permit application, nor does a donation improve chances of being drawn for a permit.