LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Saturday kicks off modern gun deer season, and the hunting forecast is looking good.
"Judging by the numbers that we've had so far, we're right on track from last year's harvest," explained Ralph Meeker, Assistant Deer Program Coordinator with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. "We've got a good mass crop this year so they deer are going to be very healthy."
The commission is expecting 300,000 deer hunters to take to the woods over the next few days.
"This is opening weekend of deer season is kinda like our Super Bowl, and were expecting 30 to 40 thousand deer harvested this weekend."
Historically, south Arkansas has always been the mecca of deer hunting; but because of recent regulation and wildlife management, hunter's are becoming more successful in other parts of the state.
"We're showing really good deer populations across the state now," Meeker said. "Over the year central Arkansas and north central Arkansas have had a pretty big increase in deer population, and our regulations reflect that."
With a busy deer season, hunters also need to be aware of the dangers that come with the hunt, some of them include:
1: Misidentifying their target.
"Someone sees something in the brush and they decide to shoot," Meeker said. Always be aware of what you are aiming for.
2: Dangerous falls.
Falling from trees or an elevated surface while hunting is very dangerous. Eric Devries, Assistant Chief of Education for AGFC reminds hunters to make sure they are properly tethered to the tree and that wearing the regulated color, hunter orange.
"You really need to make sure that from the moment you get off the ground you're attached to that tree," Devries explained. "So that if you fall at any point, you're going to be okay."
3: Bagging the deer.
Sight and smell are the strongest senses for a deer, so cheating those senses are the best tactics in hunting.
"You don't want to hunt upwind. You don't want your scent to blow down wind, across the deer's nose," Devries said. "The deer don't necessarily look for you up in a tree -- so you do have an advantage on the deer. And then of course -- you want to sit as sit as you possibly can."
Also remember to have your hunting license, or hunter's identification card if you were born after 1969, and always tell someone where you're going to hunt in case something happens.
Modern gun deer season runs through Dec. 1, then resumes Dec. 26-Dec. 28. For a detailed list of Season Dates and Bag Limits, click here: http://on.kthv.com/1bdPNpI