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A lot of you young whippersnappers probably wont be old enough to remember. Back in the 80's - we had good populations of quail, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, and at least in the Ouachita's, turkeys. We had a few deer - as in you might hunt three or four days or a week to kill a spike or forkhorn. In recent years, I have killed a couple Arkansas bears. And an alligator. My biggest deer ever. And a few folks have taken an Arkansas elk. Now, many of us have a lot of deer, and very few turkeys, ducks, quail, rabbits, and maybe even squirrels.

Opening morning of duck season, I was hunting with my son and his buddy. We didnt fire a shot, and on the way out of the bottoms, headed to camp, we probably could have killed four or five deer - maybe more - and one of those a 110" 8 pt.. My son, who is 43 and barely old enough to have seen some of the hunting in the eighties, said "who would have ever thought we could kill more deer in a morning than ducks?"

I would gladly trade the deer hunting of today, for the small game and turkey hunting of the 70's and 80's.

I know a lot of folks on this forum are too young to have experienced small game hunting in this state when trapping was prevalent. For those who do remember, would you trade AR big game of today for AR small game (and turkey) of 40 years ago?
 

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Absolutely. I can’t go back 40 years, but almost. I miss the days of hearing 6-10 turkeys in every big holler. I also enjoy killing a mess of squirrels out of hickory trees way more than sitting on a deer stand.
 

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I would trade all of the deer in the world to go back to the old ways. The days to where everyone had permission to be everywhere, and you could take off with a gun and go pretty well anywhere you wanted, and kill what you wanted. All of the good old timers have died out or sold out, and the majority of the younger generation have made it a point to ruin it for the rest of us.
 

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Bought my 1st Car Trapping and Coon Hunting..20-25 Dollars for a coon hide..
50 Dollars for a Bobcat!! Could make more trapping and Coon Hunting than any job!!
Coon Dogs,Bird Dogs,Deer Dogs and Rabbit Dogs!!
Ducks Thousands of them!!
The White River was my play Ground!!
Had to Drive to Stone County to Deer/ Turkey hunt!!
Truck Patches in every Field!! Corn, potatoes, watermelons, cantaloupes.
Peas,Beans, Tomatoes..
Didn't have to worry about varmints eating them!!
Because we ate them!!
Quail In every Field especially if it had water!!
Those we're the Days!!

Sent from my U705AA using Arkansas Hunting mobile app
 

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I didn't grow up in Arkansas but I did grow up.in the Blue Ridge on the TN/NC line. Bobwhite, rabbit, squirrel, coons, and doves got me alot more excited than killing a deer. I'm a small game and bird hunter heart and would give about anything to get the numbers and variety back from those days. The 20 gauge I just passed down to my son a couple days ago took everything from chipmunks to a black bear in them hills and hollers.
 

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Neighbor and I were talking this morning about how we used to hunt a 2 week season and feel luck to kill A deer, much less a racked buck. We’d drive a basket 6 point around for 2 days in the back of the truck showing it off.
I was in nwa in the 80’s when all of the swa land got leased. I came home and couldn’t hunt 90% of the places I used to hunt.
 

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I started doing a few small things to help my rabbits and after 10 years I have a pretty good amount of rabbits. Just putting cover on the ground to protect the babies have helped a lot. Now I hunted all the small game back in the 70’s and 80’s, and yes we ate real good on rabbit and squirrels and ducks, but I wouldn’t trade that for deer. But we still have a good population except the ducks and quail. I never went hunting back in those days and not jump a covy of quail. My neighbor has his in quail restoration and its prime quail habitat and I’ve not seen the first quail yet. Sad really.
 

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Yep, miss the days when I grew up. Quail & rabbits were everywhere, I could hear quail calling from our yard every day in the spring & summer. Squirrel hunting was easy to find a place to hunt, with plenty of squirrels. Squirrel hunting with a .22 was my favorite thing back then. Those days it was much easier to find a good place to duck hunt without paying for a lease. Looked forward to deer season back then, but it took a back seat to small game hunting, which allowed me to be in the woods 10 times longer than deer season. I was in the woods a lot more back then with a .22 or shotgun in my hands, & not paying $$ for a lease. Yes, I would love to have that world back.
 

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A lot of you young whippersnappers probably wont be old enough to remember. Back in the 80's - we had good populations of quail, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, and at least in the Ouachita's, turkeys. We had a few deer - as in you might hunt three or four days or a week to kill a spike or forkhorn. In recent years, I have killed a couple Arkansas bears. And an alligator. My biggest deer ever. And a few folks have taken an Arkansas elk. Now, many of us have a lot of deer, and very few turkeys, ducks, quail, rabbits, and maybe even squirrels.

Opening morning of duck season, I was hunting with my son and his buddy. We didnt fire a shot, and on the way out of the bottoms, headed to camp, we probably could have killed four or five deer - maybe more - and one of those a 110" 8 pt.. My son, who is 43 and barely old enough to have seen some of the hunting in the eighties, said "who would have ever thought we could kill more deer in a morning than ducks?"

I would gladly trade the deer hunting of today, for the small game and turkey hunting of the 70's and 80's.

I know a lot of folks on this forum are too young to have experienced small game hunting in this state when trapping was prevalent. For those who do remember, would you trade AR big game of today for AR small game (and turkey) of 40 years ago?
I’m with you 💯. Heck I’d trade them for the quail alone…
 

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Anymore I’m a small game guy, primarily a coon hunter. And while I’ve lost lots of ground, I sure can’t complain about the coon population.

I’d gladly trade the deer numbers we have now for the type of whole hunting seasons we had then. I can remember being a kid laying awake excited all night before the fall squirrel opener because that morning was the start of everything, and it was important. I’d sight and resight my .22, and agonize over woodland vs OD green. Now it’s open most all year but there are hardly enough squirrels to mess with, and I’m not even sure it counts unless you shoot a tailgate full and slather pictures all over FB. Late winter meant beagles and rabbits in the bottoms, or crow hunting, or just banging around the country for hours with a shotgun hunting everything in general and nothing in particular.

And I feel like I’ve done my kid a small disservice. At 15, she’s probably killed a dozen nice bucks, a bear, and virtually no small game. She sits in a box, plays with her phone, and shoots whatever walks up to the corn pile that’s “big enough”. She went off the farm by herself this year and killed a buck we hadn’t seen before as he was working down a scrapeline so maybe there’s a little hope for her, lol.

I loved deer season before cameras and corn piles. Before “target bucks” and “meat in the freezer” justifications, and bows only elitism. When good hunters, not good baiters, were successful- and killing big deer regular meant that you were pretty skilled, pretty lucky, or both.

As judgmental as all that sounds, I sure don’t mean to imply that my way is the only way, or that I’m in any way opposed to people hunting how they want. I just liked everything a whole lot better 30 years ago…
 
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