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Young hunter sets bowhunting bar with traditional flair

BY Randy Zellers

ON 11-01-2023

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POWHATTAN — Many young hunters will be hitting the woods for the first time this weekend for the first weekend of Arkansas’s annual Youth Modern Gun Deer Hunt, but one young hunter has been making his mark in Arkansas’s deer woods since the opening morning of archery season. Zane Harris, a 11-year old in Lawrence County, has already taken one deer with his recurve bow earlier this year. Harvesting deer with a bow is a challenge for anyone, but going the full traditional archery route at only 11 years old is nothing short of impressive. According to his father Cody, Zane harvested his first deer only six days after turning six years old in 2018. That deer and many others after it would fall to a modern gun in the youth hunter’s hands. He also has taken multiple deer with a crossbow during open archery seasons.

Last year Zane wanted to take his hunting game to the next level, saying that he was ready for a traditional bow.

“My wife and I both hunt with compound bows, but Zane said he wanted to try bowhunting with a recurve,” Cody Harris said. “He’s dedicated, and put in the time to get good with his recurve before he went hunting with it last year.”

That practice paid off when Zane managed to harvest not one, but three deer using his recurve bow last year.

“He shoots a bow that has 45 pounds of draw weight at 28 inches, but because his draw length is still pretty short, it pulls about 37 pounds of weight,” Harris said. “We set him up with heavy arrows and cut-on-contact fixed blade broadheads. The setup worked great on all three deer last year and his first deer this year. The arrow went completely through each of the four deer he has shot with the bow and led to good harvests.”

Don’t worry about Zane’s old crossbow, though. It still sees plenty of use from his 9- year-old brother Owen who checked a nice 8-point buck during archery season and their youngest brother, Graham, who is following in the family’s footsteps of taking a deer in his first archery season at the age of six.

Youths must renew their CID to check deer online

No matter what season a youth hunter chooses to pursue big game, they still need their tags to legally check the animal online or on the AGFC app. Tags automatically appear with a license purchase, but since youth hunters under 16 do not need a license, you need to renew their Customer Identification Number in the AGFC license system to check big game. The number, labeled YCID in the AGFC license system’s hunting license menu, is free, but hunters will need to go through the purchase process to secure their number each year and validate their allotment of deer tags. Once obtained, the youth hunter will be able to check their deer when they’re logged in with their account.

Visit for a list of helpful videos and walkthroughs to get your youth hunter added to the AGFC mobile app and ready for deer season.

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