LITTLE ROCK — The application period for Arkansas’s public land elk hunting permits is open from 8 a.m., May 1 until 11:59 p.m. June 1.

Twenty-six permits will be drawn to hunt elk in Arkansas this year, with eight being either-sex tags and the other 18 being for cow elk only. This is a reduction of three either-sex and three cow tags from last year.

“Since the discovery of (chronic wasting disease), we have opened up harvest on our elk to reduce their density and expansion, and we’ve seen some record harvests in those years,” said Wes Wright, elk program coordinator for the AGFC. “The prevalence of CWD appears much lower in our elk herd, and the herd has seen a declining trend, largely due to the increased harvest and targeted testing. We are now shifting to maintaining the population at its current level.”

Wright says private land elk quotas also will be reduced this year to help maintain the herd and keep high-quality hunting opportunities available.

Typically the permits are drawn live on stage during the annual Buffalo River Elk Festival in late June. Event planners are still in the process of deciding the status of this year’s festival, and the AGFC will help announce those dates when they become available. If the festival is postponed or canceled because of concerns for coronavirus, the permits will still be drawn and permit winners will be notified via phone and email as soon as drawings are concluded and verified.

“Either way, we’re going to have a draw and we’re going to have a great hunt this year,” Wright said. “This will be the 22nd year of elk hunting in Arkansas, and we’re looking forward to it.”

Applicants for Arkansas public land elk hunt permits must have a valid Resident Sportsman Hunting License or must be a holder of a Lifetime Sportsman’s Permit. Hunters under 16 (as of May 1, 2017) must enter their social security number to create an account and apply unless they have not yet been assigned one by the U.S. government. Applicants must be 6 or older as of the beginning of the hunt to participate. Anyone with 18 or more violations points is ineligible for the permit.

Visit https://ar-web.s3 to apply. Elk permits are listed under the WMA permit section of the licensing menu. Applications require a $5 nonrefundable processing fee, but no additional fees are required of hunters who successfully draw.

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