2023-2024 Deer Season dates
Archery: Sept. 23 - Feb. 29, 2024
Muzzleloader: Oct. 21 - 29
Private Land Antlerless-only Modern Gun Hunt: Dec. 29 - 31
Special Youth Modern Gun Hunt: Nov. 4 - 5 and Jan. 6 - 7, 2024
Modern Gun: Nov. 11 - Dec. 17 and Dec. 26 - 28
Zone 12 Bag Limit
Outside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties
Two bucks with archery, muzzleloader or modern gun
Five does with archery
Five does with muzzleloader and modern gun combined
Inside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties
Two antlered bucks with archery, muzzleloader or modern gun
Five antlerless with archery
Five antlerless with muzzleloader and modern gun combined
Dogs are allowed for deer hunting Nov. 11 - Dec. 17
Outside of Union, Bradley and Ashley counties, legal bucks must be button bucks or have at least three points on one side of their rack. Inside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties, there are no antler restrictions.
Button bucks do county toward a hunter's buck limit outside of Union, Bradley and Ashley counties and do not count toward a hunter's buck bag limit inside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties
CWD regulations apply inside Union, Bradley and Ashley counties
Deer hunting regulations
Antler-point restrictions: The end of the main beam and all points 1-inch long count as points
Three-point rule: A legal buck must have both antlers shorter than 2 inches (button buck) or have three more points on one side of his rack. The rules apply statewide, except in places where the 12-inch inside spread of 15-inch main beam; or 15-inch inside spread or 18-inch main beam rules apply.
12-inch inside spread of 15-inch main beam rule: On Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d'Arc, Harold E. Alexander Spring River, Hope Upland, Lafayette County, Mike Freeze Wattensaw and Moro Big Pine Natural Area, Scott Henderson Gulf Mountain and Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), a buck must have:
Both antlers under 2 inches (button buck included); OR
An inside spread of 12 inches or more in width; OR
At least one main beam 15 inches or more in length.
15-inch spread or 18-inch main beam rule: A legal buck in deer zones 16, 16A and 17 and on Buck Island, Cut-Off Creek, Dave Donaldson Black River, Ed Gordon Point Remove, Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMS Deer Research Area East Unit, George H. Dunklin Jr. Bayou Meto, Henry Gray Hurricane Lake, Rick Evans Grandview Prairie, St. Francis National Forest, Sheffield Nelson Dagmar and Trusted Holder WMAs, a buck must have:
Both antlers under 2 inches (button buck included); OR
An inside spread of 15 inches or more in width; OR
At least one main beam 18 inches or more in length
Other areas: On Bald Knob, Cache River, Felsenthal, Holla Bend, Overflow, Pond Creek, Wapanocca and White River National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) and Rex Hanckock Black Swamp and U of A Pine Tree Experimental Station WMAs, any buck deer may be harvested during all deer hunts. On Greers Ferry Lake WMS, any buck may be legally harvested during the deer muzzleloader Mobility Impaired permit hunt. On Hobbs State Park Conservation Area, Nimrod Lloyd Millwood WMA and Johnson County WRA on Dardanelle WMA, any buck may be legally harvested during the deer modern gun mobility impaired hunt.
Hunter orange requirements: Hunters and those accompanying hunters in areas where modern gun or muzzleloader deer, bear or elk seasons are open must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange, chartreuse or blaze camouflage above the waist, and a head garment of those same safety colors. Safety colors are not required for migratory bird hunters in these areas.
Baiting deer: 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 an area where hunters are attempting to take them. An area is considered baited for 10 days following complete removal of bait.
Hunters may bait and feed deer on private land outside of the CWD Management Zone, which includes Union, Bradley and Ashley counties, year-round.
Food plots may be used year-round.
Baiting is not allowed on wildlife management areas (WMAs)
It is unlawful to feed wildlife when within the CWD Management Zone, which includes Union, Bradley and Ashley counties, except:
Bait may be used to hunt deer and elk on private land from Sept. 1 - Dec. 31.
Hunting or trapping furbearers with the use of bait during open furbearer trapping seasons on private land.
Incidental feeding of wildlife from livestock operations.
Normal agricultural, gardening or soil stabilization practices are allowed.
Attracting or feeding birds and squirrels with bird feeders, bird baths.
Deer hunting near water
Swimming deer may not be hunted.
Deer may not be driven or captured from a boat.
Deer may not be hunted from a watercraft on public water.
Legal hunting equipment
Long, recurve and compound bows: Must have at least a 35-pound pull. Scopes, string locks and mechanical string releases may be used. Big-game hunters must use arrowheads at least 7/8-inches wide (mechanicals OK). Arrows and arrowheads containing firearm ammunition or poison may not be used.
Crossbow: Crossbows must have at least a 125-pound pull and a mechanical safety. Scopes may be used. Big-game hunters must use arrowheads at least 7/8-inches wide (including mechanicals). Arrows and arrowheads containing firearm ammunition or poison are prohibited.
Propelled arrows: Arrows propelled from a compressed air system or by the action of an explosive or combustible propellant may not be used.
To be used for deer hunting, muzzleloading rifles must have a barrel 18 inches or longer and be .40 caliber or larger. Magnifying sights may be used. The use of shot is not legal. Legal muzzleloaders use flint, percussion cap, primer or electronic pulse, must have the bullet loaded through the muzzle and are not capable of firing a cartridge.
Hunters may use muzzleloading handguns with barrels 9 inches or longer, .45 caliber or larger if they shoot conical bullets (200 grains or heavier), OR .530 caliber if they shoot round balls.
A hunter may carry a muzzleloading handgun of any caliber as backup to a muzzleloading rifle.
Modern guns mat be used for deer EXCEPT:
buckshot in a .410 shotgun.
shot smaller than No. 4 buckshot in any shotgun.
rimfire cartridges, military or full metal jacketed ammunition.
centerfire rifles or handguns smaller than .22 caliber.
handguns with barrels shorter than 4 inches.
The AGFC has approved the use of large-bore air rifles that meet certain standards for modern gun deer season. The large-bore air rifle must be at least .40-caliber, shoot a single, expandable slug, produce at least 400 feet/pounds of energy at the muzzle and be charged from an external tank. Large-bore air rifles are not legal for harvesting deer or elk.
Legal by season
Modern guns, muzzleloaders or archery equipment may be used during modern gun seasons.
Hunters may only carry muzzleloaders or archery equipment during muzzleloader deer or bear seasons.
Hunters may carry only archery equipment during archery deer and bear seasons.
Hunters may use air rifles on small game.
Firearms may be carried on WMAs, but may not be used for any hunting purpose unless the weapon is legal for that season.