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Arkansas's Best Public Deer Hunting Lands

Article by Jim Taylor

The Arkansas Arkansas Game and Fish commission has  reported that  210,000 deer have been harvested so far during the 2012/2013 deer hunting season.  This surpasses the record held since the 1999/2000 season when 194,192 deer were harvested.   These are combined numbers for all methods of deer hunting. 

So this season was good, but what was Arkansas's most productive public hunting area?  I analyzed the year-to-date deer harvest data from Arkansas's 132 wildlife management areas(WMA) and national wildlife refuges(NWR)  for the 2012 season.  Rather than  just looking  at the total number of deer taken,  I compared each wildlife management area's deer harvest numbers to the total area within the WMA to arrive at a “harvest per square mile” ratio. This enabled me to find the true producers among Arkansas's  public deer hunting lands.

Photo Credit:  Bowhunter Chronicles Members Alan Gibbs poses with a quality Arkansas Public lands 10 point.

To make the data more manageable, I focused on popular  WMA's and NWR's that had checked  at least 100 deer during the 2012/2013 season thus far.  (Through the first week of January 2013) I then ranked/sorted  them  in order of the most productive deer producers in the chart below.  This is a more accurate  method of comparing deer hunting  productivity  than just looking at the total number of deer taken.   For example, a hunter might be initially impressed with the 1,112 whitetails bagged on  White River National Wildlife Refuge, until you consider its vast expanse.   The 250 square miles within the boarders of  White River National Wildlife Refuge produced a deer harvested per square mile ratio of 4.4.   This harvest ratio places the refuge in the  number 8 ranking on our list of  top deer hunting lands in Arkansas.

Like it has for the previous two seasons, the primitive weapons only area of  Trusten Holder  reigns supreme again as Arkansas's most productive public land for deer hunting.  At 10.6 deer harvested per square mile Trusten Holder  is 56% more productive than the newly established Moro Big Pine Natural Area WMA, the number 2 spot on this years list, and a whopping 141% more productive than the popular White River NWR.    

 

 

 

 

Deer Harvest

2012/2013 Harvest Report

Acres

Harvest

Harvest/sq mi.

Trusten Holder WMA

8173

136

10.6

Moro Big Pine Natural Area WMA

16000

169

6.8

Cache River NWR

54000

568

6.7

Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA

19184

166

5.5

Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA

17524

146

5.3

Howard County WMA

26000

193

4.8

Fort Chaffee WMA

66000

462

4.5

White River NWR - South Unit+ NORTH

160000

1112

4.4

Felsenthal NWR

65000

445

4.4

Dave Donaldson Black River WMA

21150

141

4.3

Lafayette County WMA

16739

110

4.2

Poison Springs WMA

17604

115

4.2

Scott Henderson Gulf Mountain WMA

16739

105

4

Pond Creek NWR

27000

164

3.9

Big Timber WMA

37742

204

3.5

Lake Greeson WMA

38000

144

2.4

Bayou Meto WMA

33832

120

2.3

Casey Jones WMA

83832

297

2.3

Sylamore WMA

150000

496

2.1

Mount Magazine WMA

120000

318

1.7

Winona WMA

160000

326

1.3

Buffalo National River WMA

97730

186

1.2

Muddy Creek WMA

146206

214

0.9

Cherokee WMA

105313

144

0.9

Caney Creek WMA

85000

95

0.7

Piney Creeks WMA

180000

191

0.7

Views: 1577

Tags: And, Areas, Arkansas, Bowhunting, Fish, Game, Holder, Life, Management, Refuge, More…River, Trusten, WMA, White, Wild, Wildlife

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