You spoke up and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission responded approving a series of regulatory changes for the 2024-25 hunting season and 2025 fishing year.

The changes were finalized during a meeting at the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce last week after gathering extensive public feedback from over 36,000 respondents, yielding more than 100,000 individual comments. Jessica Feltz, a social scientist in the AGFC’s Research Division, noted the significant effort in processing these responses.

Several changes aim to enhance opportunities for hunters and anglers. A new buck-only archery deer hunt will take place on the first full weekend of September, allowing hunters on private lands and AGFC-managed areas to target deer still in velvet. Additionally, an alternative firearms season will replace the traditional muzzleloader season, permitting hunters to use modern straight-walled centerfire rifle cartridges .30 caliber or larger from non-semiautomatic rifles. This change received strong support from hunters.

Commissioners passed the regulations to set the 2024-25 hunting seasons and 2025 fishing regulations at Thursday’s meeting in El Dorado.
Commissioners passed the regulations to set the 2024-25 hunting seasons and 2025 fishing regulations at Thursday’s meeting in El Dorado.
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Bear hunting opportunities in northwest Arkansas will also increase, with the archery quota in Bear Zone 1 rising from 400 to 450, reflecting a robust black bear population. Duck hunters on AGFC-owned Wildlife Management Areas will be allowed to use motorized decoys again, aligning regulations with those on private lands. Moreover, a standardized shell limit of 25 per hunter will be implemented across all waterfowl-focused WMAs to reduce the number of unrecovered birds and disturbance from excessive shooting.

The AGFC’s northern bobwhite program will introduce permit-based quail hunting opportunities at Stone Prairie, Little Bayou, Jack Mountain Leased Land, and Harold E. Alexander Spring River WMAs, thanks to successful habitat management efforts.

Conversely, the annual Private Land Antlerless Only Modern Gun Deer Hunt will be discontinued due to decreased participation and a slight reduction in fawn recruitment. This move aims to ease pressure on antlerless deer without altering bag limits or regular seasons.

A proposal requiring GPS and remote correction collars for hunting dogs was tabled following substantial public opposition. This regulation was intended to address trespassing complaints but will be reconsidered in collaboration with hunting dog groups. Additionally, a proposal to reduce the daily bag limit on mallard hens to one was deferred until the results of the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey are available.

AGFC Deputy Director Brad Carner explains how many agencies came together to create Moro Big Pine Natural Area WMA for hunters and wildlife.
AGFC Deputy Director Brad Carner explains how many agencies came together to create Moro Big Pine Natural Area WMA for hunters and wildlife.
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These regulatory updates reflect AGFC's commitment to balancing resource management with hunter and angler opportunities while considering public input and scientific data.

The regulations package included the dates for the 2024-25 hunting seasons below:

Deer

Early Buck Archery Hunt

Sept. 7-9

Archery Deer

Sept. 28-Feb. 28

Alternative Firearms (formerly muzzleloader season) 

Zones 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 — Oct. 19-27 and Dec. 14-16

Zones 4A, 5A, 14 and 15 — Oct. 19-27 and Dec. 21-23

Zones 9, 12, 13, 16, 16A and 17: Oct. 19-27

Modern Gun

Zones 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11: Nov. 9-Dec. 1 and Dec. 26-28

Zones 4A, 5A, 14 and 15: Nov. 9-Dec. 8 and Dec. 26-28

Zones 4 and 5: Nov. 9-17 and Dec. 26-28

Zones 9, 12 and 13: Nov. 9-Dec. 15 and Dec. 26-28

Zones 16, 16A and 17: Nov. 9-Dec. 28

Youth Modern Gun Deer

Nov. 2-3 and Jan. 4-5

Bear

Archery (Zones 1 and 2 only)

Sept. 18-Nov. 30

Alternative Firearms (formerly muzzleloader season) (Zones 1 and 2 only)

Oct. 19-27

Special Youth Modern Gun Bear Hunt (Zones 1 and 2 only)

Nov. 2-3

Modern Gun 

Bear Zones 1 and 2 — Nov. 9-30

Bear Zone 3, 4, 5, and 5A — Dec. 21-27

Waterfowl 

Special Early Teal Season — Sept. 15-30

Duck, Coot and Merganser — Nov. 23-Dec. 2, Dec. 10-23 and Dec. 27, 2024-Jan. 31, 2025

Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt — Feb. 8-9, 2025

Special Active Duty Military and Veteran Hunt — Feb. 9, 2025

White-fronted, Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose — Oct. 26-Nov. 3, Nov. 23-Dec. 2, Dec. 10-23 and Dec. 27-Jan. 31

Canada Goose — Sept. 1-Oct. 15, Nov. 23-Dec. 2, Dec. 10-23 and Dec. 27-Jan. 31

Light Goose Conservation Order (Snow, Blue and Ross’s Goose) — Feb. 1-7, Feb. 10-April 25

Early Migratory Birds

Dove (Mourning, White-winged and Eurasian collared-dove) — Sept. 7-Oct. 27 and Dec. 8-Jan. 15

Virginia Rail and Sora — Sept. 14-Nov. 22

Common and Purple Gallinule — Sept. 1-Nov. 9

Wilson’s Snipe — Nov. 1-Feb. 15

Woodcock — Nov. 2-Dec. 16

Small Game

Quail — Nov. 1-Feb. 1

Rabbit — Sept. 1-Feb. 28

Squirrel — May 15-Feb. 28

For more information, check out more on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission website.

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