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Big Squirrel Challenge returns to Arkansas

BY Randy Zellers

ON 01-04-2023


Jan. 4, 2023

Randy Zellers

Assistant Chief of Communications

LITTLE ROCK — Deer seasons may be winding down in Arkansas, but don’t put away the hunting gear just yet. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is hosting the second annual Big Squirrel Challenge statewide Jan. 13-14.

Eric Maynard, assistant chief of education for the AGFC, says the event is a great way to keep the fun going after a morning in the woods chasing squirrels with a shotgun or .22 rifle.

“We just want to give people a little extra incentive to get out and enjoy small game hunting,” Maynard said. “I spoke to one man last year who said it was the first time he squirrel hunted all year, and that it was just because of the event. That let me know this is something that needs to keep going.”

This year, the event has expanded to include a few more weigh-in stations.

“We had some requests for more locations, so we added Magnolia, Hot Springs and Batesville,” Maynard said. “That brings us to 11 possible locations to weigh-in your squirrels.

Participants can start hunting at noon Jan. 13 through 30 minutes after sunset, then hunt again 30 minutes before sunrise until weigh-in at noon Jan. 14. Each team of two individuals can bring their biggest three squirrels to be weighed (field-dressed with skin on). Squirrels will be weighed from noon until 1 p.m. Jan. 14. And prizes will be given out to the heaviest three-squirrel bag in four categories.

  • Adult team — Fox squirrels only
  • Adult team — Mixed bag or Gray Squirrels only
  • Youth team — Fox Squirrels only
  • Youth team — Mixed bag or Gray Squirrels only

Youth teams may consist of two hunters under 16 years of age or one hunter under 16 years of age and a mentor 16 or older.

“Hunters can use squirrel dogs or they may stalk or still hunt,” Maynard said. “Any legal method of taking squirrels is allowed in the contest. Since only the three largest squirrels will be weighed per team, it helps level the playing field.”

No registration is required to participate, and teams will get their squirrels back after the weigh-in, so they can enjoy a good supper, regardless of their results in the event.

Medals will be awarded to the top two teams in each division at each location, and Gamo air rifles will be awarded to the statewide overall top team in each division.

“We’ll also have door prizes to hand out at the weigh-in locations,” Maynard said. “And AGFC staff will be available to talk hunting and swap some of their favorite recipes to cook squirrel and other wild game.”

Statewide Weigh-in Locations:


J.B. and Johnelle Hunt Family Nature Center  

3400 N. 40th Street

Springdale, AR 72762


Pine Bluff

Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center  

1400 Black Dog Road

Pine Bluff, AR 71601



Camp Robinson Firing Range

574 Clinton Road

Conway, AR 72032



Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center 

600 E. Lawson Road

Jonesboro, AR 72404


Fort Smith

Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center 

8300 Wells Lake Road

Fort Smith, AR 72916



Fred Berry Crooked Creek Nature Center 

851 Conservation Lane

Yellville, AR 72687



Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Nature Center

1685 County Road 35 North

Columbus, AR 71831



Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA Shop 

1693 AR Highway 11 

Hazen, AR 72064



Paul H. “Rocky” Wilmuth Shooting Sports Complex

3600 N. St. Louis Street

Batesville, AR 72501



SAU Laney Farm

833 Old McNeil Road

Magnolia, AR 71753


Hot Springs

AGFC Hatchery/Regional Office   

350 Fish Hatchery Road  

Hot Springs, AR 71913

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