Photos courtesy of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
As summer winds to a close, we turn the page on summer’s blistering heat to the next seasonal chapter: fall. Autumn leaves, cool, crisp, southern air and resurgent water flows abound our natural landscape in Arkansas during these months, tenderly touching all of our senses and reminding us how special a place our state is. But simply being aware of this shift of the seasons is squandering the opportunity to truly live in the blissful breeze of autumn’s wonder. One must get outside and enjoy it.
Always driven to serve and provide opportunities to be present, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) is offering a number of can’t miss events over the next few months with a mission to educate, entertain and excite Arkansans of all ages.
Get out in the thick of things this fall and enchant yourself in Arkansas.
Guided Dove Hunt (September)
Dove Season begins September 1.
A guided dove hunt is so fun and such an Arkansas tradition, the Governor himself makes sure not to miss it.
From the Commission: You can easily find some guided hunts from private groups by searching online or public hunting options by going to agfc.com
Squirrel Hunting 101
When: September 10, 6 p.m.
Where: Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center
From the Commission: Squirrel hunting is a great way to introduce kids and first-time hunters to the great outdoors. The Arkansas squirrel hunting season lasts nine months and does not require expensive gear. Find your outside through hunting!
Kids Marksmanship Challenge
When: September 21
Where: Your local AGFC nature or education center. Check local center for times.
From the commission: This five-park challenge includes BB guns, bait casting, NASP-style archery, 3D archery and slingshots. Awards will be given to top scores for grades 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12 at each facility and top contestants statewide. Youngsters must be accompanied by adults. All equipment is provided.
National Hunting and Fishing Day
When: September 28
Catch a fish with the family at a stocked AGFC pond
From the commission: National Hunting and Fishing Day focuses on raising public awareness about the importance of the wise use of natural resources, promoting wildlife conservation and outdoor sports. On this day, local, state, regional and national organizations hold fishing- and hunting-related events providing participants with an opportunity to experience traditional outdoor sports. Find a list of stocked ponds on agfc.com.
Colorfest 2019 Fine Art Exhibition
When: October 25, 26, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m; October 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Ponca Elk Education Center (Newton County)
From the Commission: Join us for the 15th annual Ponca Elk Education Center Color Fest. Artists will have their works on display and will be demonstrating their art throughout the festival.
• Food will be available for purchase
• The education center and gift shop will be open
• This event will be canceled in the event of rain
• Sponsored by AGFC
Leave No Trace Campfire and S’mores
When: November 2, 1 p.m.
Where: Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center
We love our state and pride ourselves on its “Natural” recognition. This is why it is so important for us to truly grasp the concept of leaving “no trace” of ourselves behind after we enjoy the splendor of Arkansas’ outdoors. Enjoy a hearty campfire and delicious s’mores all while learning how you can live the Leave No Trace commitment.
Bayou Bartholomew Water Trail
When people think of floating they think of spring and summer, but fall can actually be the best time for day floats on an Arkansas water trail like Bayou Bartholomew or an overnight float on the Buffalo. Don’t forget to slow down and take in the wonder of the Natural State. Visit agfc.com for a water trail map and information on other water trails throughout the state.
Boxley Valley Elk Wildlife Watching
Where: Ponca Elk Education Center
One of the largest members of the deer family, Elk are not as commonly associated with the eastern states as they should be. A native of our home here in the Natural State, the eastern elk subspecies disappeared from Arkansas around 1840 for over 100 years. In the mid-1980s, elk reintroduction into the Buffalo River area became one of Arkansas’ most successful re-establishment programs.
AGFC estimates that a herd of around 600 elk makes the Buffalo River area home today. Take a fall trip out to the Ponca Center to learn about the recovery, biology and history of these majestic creatures, and even see them in the wild for yourself. For elk-spotting, AGFC recommends setting up at dawn or dusk.
Make Deer Camp a Family Affair
Deer camp isn’t just for boys. Remember what is important and make it a family affair. Statewide dates are below, but be sure to check agfc.com for more specific regulations on the area you are hunting.
Archery: Sept. 28, 2019-Feb. 29, 2020
Private Land Antlerless Only Modern Gun Deer Hunt: Oct. 12-16, 2019
Muzzleloader: Oct. 19-27 and Dec. 14-16, 2019
Special Youth Modern Gun Deer Hunt: Nov. 2-3, 2019 and Jan. 4-5, 2020
Modern Gun: Nov. 9-Dec. 1 and Dec. 26-28, 2019
Duck Hunting Weekend Takeover
The hottest new girls weekend is to take over duck camp or book an adventurous girls weekend at a Duck Hunting Guide Service. Follow the lead of Anne Marie Doramus, the newest Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner, and make a few duck hunting girls weekends a priority on your fall and early winter schedule. If you don’t have a private duck lodge visit greenhead.net to find luxury waterfowl hunting lodges and guide services for an out of the box weekend with the girls.
For more AGFC Education and Nature Center events near you, go to agfc.com.