The application period for Arkansas’s public land elk hunting permits is open until 11:59 p.m. June 1. 

Hunters interested in pursuing Arkansas’s largest big game animal can apply at and select the Special Hunt Applications button to begin the process.

Twenty public land elk tags will be available for Arkansas’s 2021 elk hunting season. With the Buffalo River Elk Festival tentatively scheduled for Sept. 3-4, these drawings will be conducted by randomized computer draw. 

Three additional permits will be drawn at the festival for people who register at the event. 

“With Elk Fest being later than usual this year, we needed to conduct the majority of the draws online so we can notify the winners and schedule the mandatory orientation before the hunt,” Wes Wright, AGFC elk program coordinator, said. 

“We still want to promote the festival, so the three on-site permits will be drawn there. If the festival has to be cancelled this year, we will use a backup computerized draw for those three permits as well.”

Wright says last year saw an increase in elk permit applicants and hopes that trend continues. 

“Last year we saw 5,275 applicants, up from 3,812 in 2019. Considering the challenges we all faced with the pandemic, that was great news,” Wright said. 

Applicants for Arkansas public land elk hunt permits must have a valid Resident Sportsman Hunting License or must be a holder of a Lifetime Sportsman’s Permit. Only residents of Arkansas may apply. Applicants must be 6 or older as of the beginning of the hunt to participate. Anyone with 18 or more violations points is ineligible.

Hunters with access to private land in elk country will follow the same regulations as last year, using a quota system instead of drawn permits. Anyone may purchase a Private Lake Elk Permit (labeled PLE in the AGFC licensing system) for $5 in addition to a valid resident Sportsman Hunting License or nonresident All Game Hunting License.

The private land quota is 35 total, 10 either sex and 25 antlerless. Hunters must call each evening to determine if the quota has been met before the next day’s hunt. The season ends early if the quota is filled. 

“Hunters getting private land permits should wait until purchasing their license for the next season,” Wright said. “Licenses for next year can be purchased beginning May 15.”

Visit to apply for a public land elk permit. A $5 processing fee applies.

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