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Deer Population in Arkansas


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  1. #1
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    Deer Population in Arkansas

    What's your opinion of the population of the deer heard in Arkansas. From what I have witnessed, the population has been on a steady decline. I have numerous private land spots that I could almost unfailingly expect to see approximately 30 does from on any given afternoon 15 years ago.Today, seeing 4 deer in a hunt from those same stands is considered to be pretty good. The public land close to my house has gone through an identical decline. It seems to me that the deer population really declined in the past 20 years, but for some reason we keep getting more and more tags to fill and more and more encouragement to "manage" does. What are your thoughts on this topic?


  2. #2
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    I agree 110%!!


  3. #3
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    My thoughts are that the agfc is under alot of pressure from insurance companies to thin the herd to cut down on deer car collisions. They believe since these collisions seem to be increasing that it must mean we have more deer now than 15 or 20 years ago. They don't consider that there are more cars on the highways and todays driver has way more distractions coming from inside the car than any tiime in history. They also fail to consider the lack of mowing highway rights of way due to the high fuel costs. SO.......The simple fix is to keep fooling the hunters into believing our deer population is "exploding" and allow us hunters to kill all the deer. Hunters love the long seasons and liberal bag limits as much as a fat kid loves gummy worms. Until they wake up and say enough is enough I don't look for our deer numbers to improve.

  4. #4
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    About 30 years ago we lived on 200 acres that is about 6 miles from my place now. We lived on that place for about 3 years and as I recall, seeing a deer was a very rare occasion. Today most of the surrounding that 200 is deer leases, and if you drive that road at night you better be watching for suicidel deer, and on my 14 acres, I have seen up to 16 does in one group.

    Maybe I just was'nt a decent hunter 30 years ago.

  5. #5
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    I'd have to disagree about my area, we see same or more deer and beter quality.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracytqrc View Post
    About 30 years ago we lived on 200 acres that is about 6 miles from my place now. We lived on that place for about 3 years and as I recall, seeing a deer was a very rare occasion. Today most of the surrounding that 200 is deer leases, and if you drive that road at night you better be watching for suicidel deer, and on my 14 acres, I have seen up to 16 does in one group.

    Maybe I just was'nt a decent hunter 30 years ago.
    I was pretty much in the same boat 30 to 35 years ago in my neck of the woods. Then the agfc closed all gun seasons in nea for several years and the deer numbers started to come back. They were really making a comeback in the mid ninties then the agfc started increasing the gun seasons and then opened doe firearms season and now our numbers are headind down again. I'm afraid we'll be back to those days from 30 to 35 years ago if they don't make some changes soon. I also believe much more of the state than just extreme nea will see that kind of hunting this go 'round. Our deer herd can't keep up with this pressure forever.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmeredith View Post
    My thoughts are that the agfc is under alot of pressure from insurance companies to thin the herd to cut down on deer car collisions. They believe since these collisions seem to be increasing that it must mean we have more deer now than 15 or 20 years ago. They don't consider that there are more cars on the highways and todays driver has way more distractions coming from inside the car than any tiime in history. They also fail to consider the lack of mowing highway rights of way due to the high fuel costs. SO.......The simple fix is to keep fooling the hunters into believing our deer population is "exploding" and allow us hunters to kill all the deer. Hunters love the long seasons and liberal bag limits as much as a fat kid loves gummy worms. Until they wake up and say enough is enough I don't look for our deer numbers to improve.
    Correct and the deer heard is getting smaller......the ice storms here reduced them allot.......

  8. #8
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    More deer, less quality because alot less hardwoods. Have to manage them better because bigger bucks aren't as plentiful.

  9. #9
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    Out at my grandfathers place we are just now starting to see deer use the area. My dad and them moved out there in around 1970 and rarely ever seen a deer and when the did it was at dark.

  10. #10
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    My Grandpaw farmed, logged and hunted and fished his whole life, 86 years, in this area. He died in 1977 and never saw a wild deer without traveling several hours from home until the early 1970's and it was still a rare thing. I could tag out every year shooting off the front porch, if I wanted to.

  11. #11
    I hunted from 6am till 12noon this morn. I saw 17 doe and 4 bucks. That is not a good buck to doe ratio. Big herd numbers does not always mean a healthy herd. I think across the board, the general deer herd in Arkansas is in good shape. I am 34 yrs old , and I have been hunting since I was 4. I think I have a better chance to harvest a trophy buck than ever before. From what ive seen in and around Prairie county there is no shortage of doe either.

  12. #12
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    Deer Population in Arkansas

    In the areas I grew up hunting in the seark delta u could go for a week or more and not see a deer during season. Now some 25 years later I have hunted the same spots and if u don't see 8 or 10 deer a day it's a bad day. This to me is far better population than 25 years ago. The way I understand there were good numbers in these areas during the early 60's the late seventies the numbers had taken drastic hits due to the amount of ground that was cleared for farming. Are the numbers as high as they were in the 50's or 60's I don't know but doubt it. Are the numbers here better than the mid 80's thru the early 90's. yes by far.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shotgun wg View Post
    In the areas I grew up hunting in the seark delta u could go for a week or more and not see a deer during season. Now some 25 years later I have hunted the same spots and if u don't see 8 or 10 deer a day it's a bad day. This to me is far better population than 25 years ago. The way I understand there were good numbers in these areas during the early 60's the late seventies the numbers had taken drastic hits due to the amount of ground that was cleared for farming. Are the numbers as high as they were in the 50's or 60's I don't know but doubt it. Are the numbers here better than the mid 80's thru the early 90's. yes by far.
    This is exactly how it is in my part of the state. Quality and numbers from even 10 years ago is astoundingly better

  14. #14
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    Our deer numbers in northern Cross county and southern Poinsett county are much better than ever in my lifetime. Adequate number of bucks, but doe to buck ratio is still extremely high.

  15. #15
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    Deer Population in Arkansas

    It depends on area. It's hard to tell just by county or zone. Hunting in Faulkner county on our farm 15 years ago was amazing now it literally sucks. To many poachers and too many deer being killed. I agree with bag limits in southarkansas and other areas, but in zone 8-8a they need to rethink. Our population is declining majorly. I used to see 15-30 deer 10 years ago everytime I went hunting now I can go weeks and might see 3. I used to be able to see 2-3 shooters in a day now I have to hunt 60+ days to shoot a decent buck. It's different for every part of state I guess.

  16. #16
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    I have to agree. You'll get a lot of different opinions across the state. Here in south AR, it's been on a big decline overall. We took a very hard hit last year for some reason in this area where I hunt and it seems to be a little better this year but not a lot. There again, with everyone having 6 tags what can you expect.. In my opinion, it comes down to do you want to keep deer to feed your family of horns on the wall. I'll take the first option myself.

  17. #17
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    Around here we see ten bucks for every doe and thats always at night, I'm begining to think we need some night hunters so we will start to see deer in the daytime.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richardlu View Post
    Around here we see ten bucks for every doe and thats always at night, I'm begining to think we need some night hunters so we will start to see deer in the daytime.
    Sounds like us trying to hunt one of our farms.... man those are some night loving deer. Plenty to eat and plenty of cover.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by thompson View Post
    I have to agree. You'll get a lot of different opinions across the state. Here in south AR, it's been on a big decline overall. We took a very hard hit last year for some reason in this area where I hunt and it seems to be a little better this year but not a lot. There again, with everyone having 6 tags what can you expect.. In my opinion, it comes down to do you want to keep deer to feed your family of horns on the wall. I'll take the first option myself.
    Why can't we have both? I don't buy this idea that you can't have quantity AND quality. It depends on carrying capacity, and I believe most of the state is far below carrying capacity and I know for sure nea is far, far below carrying capacity. We could easily increase our numbers and with some regs to protect our bucks such as a shorter gun season and a 1 buck firearm limit we'd have good numbers of big bucks as well. Too many folks think it has to be feast or famine when there's really a happy medium in between.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmeredith View Post
    Why can't we have both? I don't buy this idea that you can't have quantity AND quality. It depends on carrying capacity, and I believe most of the state is far below carrying capacity and I know for sure nea is far, far below carrying capacity. We could easily increase our numbers and with some regs to protect our bucks such as a shorter gun season and a 1 buck firearm limit we'd have good numbers of big bucks as well. Too many folks think it has to be feast or famine when there's really a happy medium in between.
    It is good to see you are referring to your area...NEA.....and I have been at the farm since modern gun started in my little part of zone 12. Today....maybe 4 shots this afternoon and a few more this morning. Very few shots and actually very little traffic.....almost none on the rural county road I am on. Seeing deer.......didn't hunt this morning but was outside. Took a guy that is 33 years old and never killed a deer this afternoon....saw 3 right at dark. He will have to get it tomorrow. Had 9 around me yesterday at dark...starting to feed on other things besides acorns. One member killed a doe this morning.....saw 5 before shooting that one. He was waiting on a very large 6 point He said but decided since He has been hunting with a firearm for two weeks and well....hasn't killed one yet with the long season.
    But not every gun hunter is shooting everything they see........and I am thinking and hoping the weekend warriors are done.......

  21. #21
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    I came home from Viet Nam in March 1969, and deer were hard to find in Scott County. In 1970 I moved to Logan County and started to see more deer and even killed a few. Moved to Stone County in 1976 and it was sort of hard to even see a deer track. Eventually started to find a few deer and killed a few bucks.
    Now I see deer almost ever trip to the forest and have killed some fairly nice ones.
    I would hate to see it again like it was in the early 1970's.

  22. #22
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    More deer than ever here in NE Arkansas.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buck-Ridge View Post
    More deer than ever here in NE Arkansas.

  24. #24
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    It just depends where you are - and one mile might make a difference. Where I hunt in the Ouachitas on public - more deer now than ever. More deer now than ever on my place. Other public I hunt - fewer deer. I dont think public - for the most part - can withstand a six deer limit - but what are you going to do. G&F cant have regulations for 1000 acre tracts of land here and there that differ from adjoining land. I really think best thing to do would be to lower overall limit and still allow private landowners to get extra doe permits. That way, if you need to reduce the doe population on your place - or you are intent on shooting them out - that is up to you.

  25. #25
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    ive been seeing a steady decline in doe #s for the last 4-5 yrs. there are still enuff but not as many as there were. i usually kill 1-2 bucks & 2-3 does. i think my prob with bux is that im rite on the lease boundry line, the neighborin lease kills everything. i c abunch of bucks but they are mostly scrubby older bucks.

  26. #26
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    Deer management is a lot like dieting. A lot of people try it for a little while - dont see results right away - and go back to what they were doing before. I know a lot of leases who have held off shooting some of the larger bucks and tried to shoot a few more does - expecting to see booners walking all over the place next year - and it does not happen. You have to be patient - and I am talking 3 to 5 years - to see positive results in managing your deer herds. And different people want different things - and look at things in different ways. The OP talks like seeing four deer per stand sitting is poor. I have probably sat a stand between 60 and 75 times this year - and seen at least four deer on five different occassions. I have probably seen no deer on 40 to 50 occassions - yet I would consider the deer population where I hunt to be pretty decent - a fair number of deer, decent buck doe ratios, and a fair chance at a decent buck. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - deer "number" are relative. If I was seeing 4 does about everytime I sat a stand - and not seeing many bucks - I would be shooting a few more does and a few less bucks. Day before yesterday - one stand location where we hunt - my wife saw two bucks in the morning - and she hunted again that evening and saw another and a doe, and my son hunted a different stand location that evening and saw two bucks. Between them they saw six deer - one doe and 5 bucks - all 8 pt or better - with two of them being pretty nice deer - that is a good day in our hunting woods. I hunted one of those stands all day yesterday - and did not see a deer - something I dont consider unusual at all.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by tmeredith View Post
    My thoughts are that the agfc is under alot of pressure from insurance companies to thin the herd to cut down on deer car collisions. They believe since these collisions seem to be increasing that it must mean we have more deer now than 15 or 20 years ago. They don't consider that there are more cars on the highways and todays driver has way more distractions coming from inside the car than any tiime in history. They also fail to consider the lack of mowing highway rights of way due to the high fuel costs. SO.......The simple fix is to keep fooling the hunters into believing our deer population is "exploding" and allow us hunters to kill all the deer. Hunters love the long seasons and liberal bag limits as much as a fat kid loves gummy worms. Until they wake up and say enough is enough I don't look for our deer numbers to improve.
    They need to open up hunts inside the cities if they want to control auto accidents....Thats where alot of them happens...in areas that can not be controlled by hunters and being controlled by automobiles

  28. #28
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    I think the deer herd is bigger and has more quality bucks than ever before. Deer are freaking everywhere!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwampCat View Post
    Deer management is a lot like dieting. A lot of people try it for a little while - dont see results right away - and go back to what they were doing before. I know a lot of leases who have held off shooting some of the larger bucks and tried to shoot a few more does - expecting to see booners walking all over the place next year - and it does not happen. You have to be patient - and I am talking 3 to 5 years - to see positive results in managing your deer herds. And different people want different things - and look at things in different ways. The OP talks like seeing four deer per stand sitting is poor. I have probably sat a stand between 60 and 75 times this year - and seen at least four deer on five different occassions. I have probably seen no deer on 40 to 50 occassions - yet I would consider the deer population where I hunt to be pretty decent - a fair number of deer, decent buck doe ratios, and a fair chance at a decent buck. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - deer "number" are relative. If I was seeing 4 does about everytime I sat a stand - and not seeing many bucks - I would be shooting a few more does and a few less bucks. Day before yesterday - one stand location where we hunt - my wife saw two bucks in the morning - and she hunted again that evening and saw another and a doe, and my son hunted a different stand location that evening and saw two bucks. Between them they saw six deer - one doe and 5 bucks - all 8 pt or better - with two of them being pretty nice deer - that is a good day in our hunting woods. I hunted one of those stands all day yesterday - and did not see a deer - something I dont consider unusual at all.


    I agree. We practice what I consider "improved" deer management on our family lands....... none are big enough to completely hold deer, but we have enough to really spread out our pressure.


    Our deer are healthier than ever, better buck/doe ratio better than ever, and you have the very good chance to kill a 3 y/o or better every year.... and actually see mature (4 or older) bucks.

    Don't see 25 half starved does every time out like 10 years ago..... and if you want big racks we don't have those either.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwampCat View Post
    It just depends where you are - and one mile might make a difference. Where I hunt in the Ouachitas on public - more deer now than ever. More deer now than ever on my place. Other public I hunt - fewer deer. I dont think public - for the most part - can withstand a six deer limit - but what are you going to do. G&F cant have regulations for 1000 acre tracts of land here and there that differ from adjoining land. I really think best thing to do would be to lower overall limit and still allow private landowners to get extra doe permits. That way, if you need to reduce the doe population on your place - or you are intent on shooting them out - that is up to you.
    Our problem in the north half of the state is with the private land. We don't have many 1000+ acre tracts here. It's mostly 40 acres and less and whole families hunt their land. My nieces husbands family owns almost 300 acres in Greene county, which is a pretty big spread yet he hardly ever kills a deer there because he has to stand in line for a place to hunt after all the brothers, cousins, in-laws, nephews,nieces, uncles and friends hunt. This is common here and alot of folks run that many people on 40 acres or less. I have neighbors on each side of my house who own 3 acres who let family come hunt their land during the shotgun hunt. The neighbor just next to one of those pieces owns 19 acres and there were 4 guys hunting that piece from daylight till dark every day of the shotgun hunts. This is common in zn.5 and zn.3 as well. Our herd can't keep up with this kind of pressure. We can't put the management of our herd in the hands of hunters here.


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