If you didn’t draw a permit for deer hunting on your favorite wildlife management area, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is offering a last chance to get lucky. All unclaimed permits will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 8 a.m., today (Wednesday) Sept. 7, on www.agfc.com.
Special permit hunts are conducted on some of the AGFC’s most popular WMAs to offer hunters who draw a safer, higher-quality hunt. Applications for these hunts are accepted in June, and hunters are drawn via random lottery to determine who receives a permit. All hunters drawn must pay a $10 fee for their permit within two weeks, or their permit goes back into a second drawing. Hunters who receive a permit during the second permit drawing also have two weeks to pay for their permits. Permits still unclaimed by the end of that two weeks will be available during the online permit sale at the same rate of $10 per permit.
“The fee is mainly to pay for the administrative cost, but it also helps ensure people who receive a permit will participate in the hunt,” said Brad Carner, AGFC chief of wildlife management. “Some people change their minds, find another hunting area or have other family obligations come up during the scheduled hunts, so we want to give them a chance to bow out of the hunt by not paying and let other hunters who weren’t drawn a chance at a permit through the sale.”
The unclaimed permit sale also enables hunters who have already drawn a permit the chance to add a few days to their season. Most permit hunts take place during the opening week of muzzle loading and modern gun seasons, but a few run a little later. Hunters who have already secured a permit through the drawing can purchase permits for one of these other hunts to expand their season and their hunting efforts.
“I’ve had the opportunity to purchase an unclaimed permit for a successful Thanksgiving hunt on one of my favorite WMAs before,” Carner said. “It really does help stretch the deer season for public land hunters.”
Permits sell out quickly, so hunters hoping for one should be online and ready to go at 8 a.m. the morning of the sale. Have your credit card ready. You may purchase a tag for another hunter, but the process only allows one permit to be sold at a time, and once you purchase one you will be sent to the back of the queue to wait in line again.
“We have to make sure one person doesn’t buy up all the permits before others have a chance at getting through the line,” Carner said.
Visit www.agfc.com/licenses/Pages/PermitsSpecialWMA.aspx for a list of available unclaimed permits.