Deer archery season starts in Arkansas; bow hunting area near Buffalo Point is expanding

Published: Sep. 26, 2020 at 9:23 PM CDT
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PONCA, Ar. (KY3) - Deer archery season began Saturday in Arkansas. With the start of the season, the National Park Service is opening a new area near Buffalo National River for bow hunters.

The new hunting area, open for deer archers, is north of Highway 14 and west of the Buffalo Point Campground. Hunting is not allowed within 100 feet of a road or trail or within 50 yards of a structure.

Restrictions on deer hunting are relaxed this year due to the current population of deer.

“If they have a nice year with a lot of food available, they can sometimes breed twice in that year and it creates an overpopulation, which is unhealthy for everyone," says hunter Gregory Bacarri.

Overpopulation of deer can damage forest and crops.

“It’s not uncommon at my house. I have three or four or five deer every day,” Founder of the Buffalo Outdoor Center, Mike Mills, says.

Overpopulation can also contribute to the spread of Lyme disease.

“It can cause a spread of illness because, in close quarters, there are too many of them, and they’re fighting for resources. So it is very important in management to balance the population correctly,” Bacarri says.

Overpopulation can also lead to an increase in accidents on the road.

“People hitting deer with a car or a motorcycle or a truck or something like that," Mills says. "That can be very damaging to the vehicle and risking a lot more if you’re on a motorcycle.”

“It’s a constant concern," Bacarri says. "Anyone from around here knows it. At dark you really start to drive slower and pay attention. Just driving up here can be challenging. They don’t really wanna be eating next to the highway more than any other critter would want to. They’d want to be out in the woods, but if they’re being pressured for resources, they’re gonna go anywhere they can.”

It’s recommended for hikers to to wear orange so they can stay safe while on the trails.

“I really would highly recommend the hat on top of that because it’s your highest point," Bacarri says. "It’s gonna make it easier for them to see you.”

Hunters are not required to wear orange inside the archery-only zone. Baccari also recommends hikers shouldn’t wear white.

“It could look like a white tail because when the deer sprint away, they put their tail up and it’s white," Bacarri says.

The campground and developed areas will remain closed to hunting. Weapons must be unloaded and cased during your time in parking areas or in the campground.

For more information, you can call the Buffalo Point Contact Station at 870-449-4311.

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