The development of state and federal game refuges in the late 1920s was vital for re-establishing Arkansas’s deer population. Stocking efforts were initiated and continued for approximately 20 years on the refuges. In addition to restocking efforts, restrictions on season length and bag limits became an important facet of deer management.
The passage of Amendment 35 in 1944 placed the management responsibilities and regulation of all wildlife resources under the authority of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. By 1985, the deer population was estimated at 500,000 animals (most living in the city limits of Bull Shoals). Management emphasis shifted from herd growth to stabilization. As either-sex deer hunting opportunity continued to increase in the 1990s, the public grew more accepting of doe harvest.
The three-point rule was implemented in 1998 as an attempt to reduce yearling buck harvest and improve buck age structure. During the late 1990s the AGFC implemented additional deer hunting restrictions, increased research efforts, developed a new deer management plan and initiated the Deer Management Assistance Program.
The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) provides technical assistance to landowners and hunting clubs to improve deer populations. Biologists work with land managers to assess habitat quality and the potential to support a healthy, well-balanced deer herd. They evaluate historic, present and future deer management efforts and meet with clubs and land managers to explain options and expected results. They also train club members to correctly collect data on harvested and observed deer.
For more info, contact the AGFC regional office nearest the private land or club land to be managed.