JONESBORO – High water on the White and Cache rivers has forced the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to temporarily close deer season in some wildlife management areas of eastern Arkansas, as well as some private land in the Cache River basin. Deer hunters are urged to check current water levels in their area before heading out for the opening of modern gun deer season, Nov. 10.
As of Nov. 7, Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA near Gregory, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake near Bald Knob and Flood Prone Region C, which includes private land near Augusta, are closed to deer hunting.
The bottomland hardwood forests of eastern Arkansas offer excellent habitat for large deer populations, but these low-lying areas also can become inundated quickly, pushing deer into smaller areas with less available cover. This creates a situation where deer may become vulnerable to overharvest, and removes some of the aspects of fair chase. Hunting in flooded areas also increases the chances of game loss as fatally hit deer may run into swift-moving stream or deep areas before hunters can recover their harvest.
Ralph Meeker, deer program coordinator for the AGFC, points out that flood prone zones also include those areas of high ground where the deer concentrate during floods.
“It can be tempting to try harvesting one of these deer seeking sanctuary, especially at the beginning of the season when everyone’s excited or in areas that have a very limited time span to hunt with modern guns,” said Ralph Meeker, AGFC deer program coordinator. “But as conservationists, we hunters have the responsibility to ensure the health of the deer herd and to abide by a certain code of ethics.”
The AGFC includes questions on flood prone zones during regular