General Hunting Regulations 

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General Regulations

  • People 16 and older must have a valid license to hunt or fish in Arkansas.
  • You may hunt wildlife only during an open season for that species.
    • If a species is not discussed in a current copy of the Arkansas Hunting Guidebook, there is no open season for that species. (example: It is illegal to shoot a snake, because there is no season listed.)
  • You may not hunt from a boat at night (except alligator hunters with a valid permit).
  • You may not hunt from an aircraft.
  • You may not hunt wildlife that is fleeing from floods or fire.
  • You may not use deadfalls, drugs, chemicals, poisons, booby traps or explosives to hunt.
  • You may not hunt from a moving motorized land vehicle.
  • You may not use electronic tracking or telemetry equipment to locate wildlife.
  • You may not use computer-assisted hunting equipment.
  • You may not hunt from or across the main levee of the Mississippi River and Arkansas River from the Louisiana border to the intersection of state Highway 11 (north of Grady in Lincoln County).
  • You may not refuse an officer’s lawful request to inspect your wildlife, tackle, hunting equipment, devices, license or any item that can contain wildlife.
  • You may not interfere with an officer performing his duties or flee from an officer.
  • You may not aid or accompany someone else in a violation.
  • You may not waste the edible portions of game or fish or waste marketable fur.
  • It is illegal to buy or sell wildlife (or their parts) except for pelts or carcasses of furbearers, squirrel tails, deer antlers, deer hides or feathers from nonmigratory game birds.
  • Hunting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. The exceptions to this rule are:
    • Shooting hours are from sunrise until sunset for the special early teal season.
    • Shooting hours for other migratory game birds is 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.
    • Hunters legally hunting furbearers (raccoon season) may hunt at night.
    • Trappers checking sets at night may carry a .22-caliber rimfire firearm.
    • Alligator hunters with a valid permit may hunt only from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • It is illegal to shoot across or within 100 feet of the centerline of any city, county, state or federally maintained road. The exceptions to this rule are:
    • Trappers may use legal firearms to harvest animals caught in legally set foothold and body-gripping traps.
    • Licensed/permitted falconers may hunt with and trap birds of prey in accordance with state and federal falconry regulations.
  • It is illegal to shine an artificial light (spotlighting) from a public road, street, highway or on a wildlife management area, except when hunting bullfrogs or furbearers.
  • You may not hunt or possess a hunting device in state or national parks, except:

Concealed Weapon Permit Holders

Concealed weapon permit holders may carry a modern handgun, except in places where otherwise prohibited under federal, state or local law or where not allowed by the landowner. Concealed weapon permit holders are not allowed to use their concealed weapon for any hunting purpose. All concealed handgun permit holders must identify themselves to a wildlife officer when complying with an inspection pertaining to birds, fish, game or other wildlife resources.

Hunter Orange Requirements

All hunters must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange or chartreuse above their waist and a hunter orange or chartreuse hat during modern gun or muzzleloader seasons for deer, elk and bear. Blaze camouflage is legal. Hunters must still wear their hunter orange when they are in their deer stand or blind. Portable, pop-up ground blinds used on public land during firearms deer, bear or elk seasons on public land must have at least 144 square inches of hunter orange or chartreuse on each visible side of the blind at least 3 feet above the ground.Exceptions to this rule are:

  • Hunters in an area closed to firearms deer, elk and bear seasons (WMAs that have permit hunts when the permit hunt is not being conducted).
  • Hunters pursuing migratory game birds. 

Feeding and Baiting Wildlife

Baiting is the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain or other feed that could serve to lure or attract wildlife to, on or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them. An area is considered baited for 10 days following complete removal of bait.

Hunters may bait wildlife, except:

  • Alligators may not be hunted over bait.
  • Bears may not be fed or baited for any reason (including photography or viewing) except from 30 days before bear season through the end of bear season on private land in bear zones 1, 2, 5 and 5A.
  • Baiting is not allowed on wildlife management areas. Click here for more information on wildlife management area regulations.
  • Migratory birds, wild turkeys, waterfowl or crows may not be hunted over bait if the hunter knows, or should reasonably know, the area is baited (see Migratory Bird Baiting).

Hunting Dogs

Hunting dogs may be released only on land the dogs’ owner leases, owns or has permission to do so (see Permission to Hunt Card in Related Documents).

Hunting dogs are only allowed on some wildlife management areas and only for specific game (check each WMA's regulations in Where to Hunt).

Each hunting dog must have a collar with its owner’s name, phone number and address. Waterfowl retrievers do not need to wear collars while hunting or retrieving as long as the collar bearing the owner’s name, address and phone number is carried.

Handguns or shotguns with blank ammunition may be used while training bird dogs.

Individuals or organizations may temporarily hold captive raccoons, foxes, coyotes or pen-raised quail for the purposes of dog training or sanctioned field trials with the approval of the AGFC chief of wildlife management.

While chasing for pleasure or training dogs, participants may only possess killing equipment legal for an open season at the time and place of the chase (if no legal season is open, no killing devices may be carried).

Using dogs to chase wildlife for pleasure is prohibited April 1-May 15 with these exceptions:

  • hunting within fox and coyote enclosures
  • during sanctioned field trials
  • chasing for pleasure at night (60 minutes after sunset until 60 minutes before sunrise) is allowed from April 1-May 15

Coyotes and foxes may not be chased for pleasure during a firearms deer season where dogs are prohibited.

During the spring youth turkey hunt, dogs may not be used to chase wildlife from 60 minutes before sunrise until 60 minutes after sunset.

Dogs may be used to chase deer for training purposes Oct. 1-Dec. 31, from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset in deer zones where dogs can legally be used for hunting deer during the modern gun deer seasons.

Violation Points

Violation points are assigned to hunters convicted of fish and wildlife violations. The accumulation of 18 points for violations within three years may result in the revocation of hunting and fishing privileges for one year. The accumulation of 30 points within five years may result in the loss of licenses and privileges for three years. Access to Commission-owned lands will be prohibited if hunting privileges are revoked as a result of violations. Boating violations are not considered toward revocation.

A hunter who has accumulated 12 points within three years will be ineligible to apply for deer, turkey or elk permits. A conviction for selling wildlife may result in lifetime revocation of hunting and fishing licenses. Double points are assessed: when an adult 21 or older is convicted of committing a violation while accompanying a youth under 16; for violations committed by a Guide License holder, and for any violation of trout harvest regulations committed in a trout catch-and-release area.

Hunting on Private Property

To hunt, fish, trap or release hunting dogs on private property, hunters must have permission from the landowner or leaseholder.

  • If the property is not posted, verbal permission is required.
  • If the property is posted, each person must carry written permission. Link to Permission to Hunt Card.
    • Written permission is not required of relatives of the landowner or lessee who can verify permission.

Hunting Near a Residence

Hunters lawfully present through ownership or lease agreement may hunt on their own property, regardless of distance to another person's residence. However, all other hunters using firearms within 150 yards of a residence or using archery equipment within 50 yards of a residence must have written permission from the owner or occupant of that residence.

Transferring Wildlife

To possess wildlife taken by someone else, you must have a signed statement from the taker, stating name, address, species, date taken and hunting license number (or driver’s license number). Link to Transferring Fish or Wildlife Form.

Possession of Game Taken Outside Arkansas

Carcasses of game animals legally taken in other states may be possessed in Arkansas with documentation of their origin (see exception below). However, transporting illegally taken game across state lines is a violation of the federal Lacey Act.

Regulations for Wildlife Management Areas

Related Documents