Where to Hunt in the South? Try Arkansas.

Arkansas doesn't quite know where it is. Or, to put it more accurately, many people are unsure how to describe where it is. The Natural State is sort of the Deep South, sort of the Midwest and sort of Appalachia.

Ryan Sullivan arrowed this Arkansas monster in the 2013 season.

What no one should argue against, however, is the claim that Arkansas is a great whitetail state. Although chronic wasting disease has been found in whitetails in seven northern counties — Newton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Pope and Searcy — over the past year, there's still ample reason to be enthused about hunting here. In particular, Arkansas is one of the South's best states for taking trophy bucks with bowhunting gear.

As the accompanying map illustrates, the overall greatest concentration of trophy bow bucks entered into P&Y has been from the rich farm country of eastern and southeastern Arkansas. There, Desha County is the unquestioned king of entries, with 38 all time — and an impressive 30 of those since 2010. The fellow farming counties of Arkansas (35) and Chicot (23) also offer the fertile soil, abundant crops and limited hunting pressure needed to grow numbers of king-sized deer, but they haven't matched Desha in yielding bucks for the book.


Elsewhere in the state there's also solid trophy potential in bow season, but zeroing in on the best overall locations takes a bit more guesswork. The counties with the most entries are somewhat scattered.


Arkmap


That said, several isolated counties have proved they're worth hunting. For example, Benton County, which touches both Missouri and Oklahoma in the state's northwestern corner, has surged in recent years. In fact, 12 of the county's all-time P&Y entries have been submitted in this decade.

You'll find much the same situation in topographically diverse Saline County, which lies just west of Little Rock in central Arkansas. Nine of its 12 entries have been made since 2010. And while Hempstead County has only 11 P&Ys to its credit, nine of those have been entered since 2010.

Meanwhile, some other counties have dropped off a lot in the number of entries. This doesn't necessarily mean they don't remain good bowhunting areas, but for whatever reason, not as many bucks are finding their way into the book. A great example is White County. It has 29 all-time P&Y bucks, second-most of anywhere in the state — but only five of those have been entered since 2010.


Many of the seven counties with documented cases of CWD (as of this writing in January 2017) are in the general area in which elk relocated from the Rocky Mountains many years ago now live. While experts continue to debate if that fact is coincidental or not, the main effect has been heightened monitoring of the deer herd. There's also been talk of loosening or even eliminating antler restrictions, which have been in place in one part of the state or another for a quarter-century.

For more details on bowhunting in Arkansas, visit AGFC's website. To learn more about bowhunting records of North America, check out P&Y's website.

Recommended for You

In blackpowder hunting, details always matter. Don't learn the hard way. Guns

Choose the Right Load for Your Muzzleloader

Gordon Whittington - March 05, 2019

In blackpowder hunting, details always matter. Don't learn the hard way.

Good location is just part of the equation. Scouting

The Best Summer Trail Camera Strategy

Tony J. Peterson

Good location is just part of the equation.

Many people have the mistaken notion that mature bucks have one area where they spend their days; Scouting

Scouting Deer Bedding Areas: Locating, Creating and Observing

Bernie Barringer - June 28, 2016

Many people have the mistaken notion that mature bucks have one area where they spend their...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

Creating Warm-Season Food Plots

On this edition of "Deer Factory," Dr. James Kroll and Pat Hogan discuss tactics for establishing warm-season food plots.

Gordon

Gordon's First NAW Hunt

This segment features Gordon Whittington's very first on camera hunt for North American Whitetail.

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

Deer Dog: Puppy Pitfalls

On this edition of "Deer Dog," Jeremy Moore explores the pitfalls of puppy training.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

To hear many serious trophy bowhunters tell it, Kentucky must be a figment of someone's fertile United States

Best Spots for Bowhunting Kentucky Trophy Bucks

Gordon Whittington - July 21, 2016

To hear many serious trophy bowhunters tell it, Kentucky must be a figment of someone's...

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season. Bowhunting

The Best Arrows for Deer Hunting

Tony J. Peterson - June 10, 2019

Fill your quiver with the right ammo this season.

In terms of coloration, which whitetails are the rarest of all? Most hunters would claim that Deer Behavior & Facts

Rarest Whitetails Of All?

Gordon Whittington - September 22, 2010

In terms of coloration, which whitetails are the rarest of all? Most hunters would claim that

See More Stories

More United States

East and West Coasters jetting across the U.S. often refer to Nebraska a United States

Don't Bypass Nebraska Hunting

Gordon Whittington - August 21, 2017

East and West Coasters jetting across the U.S. often refer to Nebraska a "fly-over" state....

Arkansas doesn't quite know where it is. Or, to put it more accurately, many people are unsure how United States

Where to Hunt in the South? Try Arkansas.

Gordon Whittington - January 27, 2017

Arkansas doesn't quite know where it is. Or, to put it more accurately, many people are unsure...

Ask most people what they think of when someone mentions Oklahoma, and the answer is likely to United States

Oklahoma Hunting Can Be Top Notch

Gordon Whittington - May 04, 2017

Ask most people what they think of when someone mentions Oklahoma, and the answer is likely to

See More United States

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.