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Apply for an Arkansas Elk Hunting Permit May 1-15

BY Randy Zellers

ON 04-27-2023


April 27, 2023

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

LITTLE ROCK — Hunters interested in pursuing Arkansas’s largest big game animal can apply for a limited hunting permit draw from 8 a.m. May 1 through 11:59 p.m. May 15.  

Applications will be available beginning May 1 at the AGFC’s licensing site ( under the “Special Hunt Applications” tab.

This year’s application window is a bit shorter than what was historically available, but the situation was unavoidable with the change to a new Arkansas Game and Fish Commission licensing system later in the month. The application collection system will need to be closed early to ensure all applicants are included in the drawing and the process is completed smoothly. 

Arkansas’s elk herd appears stable and 18 permits will be available for public draw through online applications this season. All elk permits will be drawn at the Buffalo River Elk Festival in Jasper, scheduled for June 23-24. Winners will be notified via email and phone once the draw is concluded. Three additional on-site permits will be drawn at the festival. Only people who attend the festival in person will be eligible for the on-site permit drawing. 

Only Arkansas residents may apply for an Arkansas public land elk hunting permit. Applicants must have a valid Resident Sportsman Hunting License or must be a holder of a Lifetime Sportsman’s Permit. Applicants must be 6 years or older as of the beginning of the hunt (Oct. 2) to participate. Anyone with 18 or more violations points is ineligible for the permit.

Hunters with access to private land in elk country will follow the same regulations as last year, using a quota system instead of drawn permits. Anyone may purchase a Private Lake Elk Permit (labeled PLE in the AGFC licensing system) for $5 in addition to a valid resident Sportsman Hunting License or nonresident All Game Hunting License. 

The private land quota is 35 total, 10 either sex and 25 antlerless. Hunters must call each evening to determine if the quota has been met before the next day’s hunt. The season ends early if the quota is filled. 

Elk turning head Mature bull elk tend to harems of cows during their breeding season.













Arkansas’s 2023 elk hunting season will be as follows:

Core Elk Management Zone public land hunts (by drawn permit only)
Youth Hunts: Oct. 7-8 and Oct. 28-29
Regular Elk Hunts (youth eligible):  Oct. 2-6 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3

Core Elk Management Zone private land hunt (by Private Land Elk Permit)
Youth Hunts (antlerless elk only):
Oct. 7-8 and Oct. 28-29
Regular Elk Hunts (youth eligible):  Oct. 2-6 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3

Additionally, hunters may take any elk they see outside of the Core Elk Management Zone (Boone, Carroll, Madison, Newton and Searcy counties) while legally deer hunting with archery, muzzleloaders or modern guns of at least .24 caliber. 

Visit for more information on elk and elk hunting in Arkansas. 

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