LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is accepting applications May 1-June 1 for Arkansas's annual elk hunting season.
Brad Carner, AGFC chief of wildlife management, says he has received many calls about the future of elk and elk hunting since the discovery of chronic wasting disease in the state.
"We are still in the beginning stages of adjusting our management strategies for deer and elk," Carner said. "We still need to make adjustments on exact dates and numbers of permits available, but we do plan to move forward with this year's elk hunt."
Carner expects to have the exact number of elk permits, private land elk quota and elk season dates set at the June 16 Commission meeting in El Dorado. The AGFC also plans to continue drawing the permits at the Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper, June 24-25, with a small number of additional permits available to people who sign up on site.
Applying for an Arkansas elk permit is free, although applicants do need a valid hunting license to apply.
"That measure was put in place last year to improve the chance people who drew permits were actually going to hunt," Carner said. "Over the years, we've had people apply or have someone else apply for them with little interest in actually completing the hunt."
Carner says continuing the elk hunt will allow the AGFC to keep monitoring the disease in the state's herd without taking this rare opportunity away from Arkansas hunters who cannot afford big-game trips out West.
"Testing samples from last October's elk hunt made us aware of CWD being in the state," Carner said. "We plan to continue testing elk taken during this hunt for CWD as well as brain worms and other diseases that can impact the herd."