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Outdoor Report: Modern gun season opens this weekend | News

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Outdoor Report: Modern gun season opens this weekend
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Come Saturday morning, hours before sunrise, thousands will be headed to the woods.

"I think this season we already starting off in a good direction," says Cory Gray, Deer Program Coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Modern gun season officially opens Saturday. Gray expects a successful season.

"We started deer hunting September 15th with archery season, and we're already up to 65,000 deer being harvested as of Wednesday. We're ahead of where we would be this time last year. We can very well expect 30,000 plus deer in two days," says Gray.

This projected success comes despite worries this summer over whether the hot, dry weather would impact deer population.

"It was a pretty extreme drought, especially in north Arkansas, but we had the hurricane Isaac that came through and that provided some relief," Gray explains.

Assistant Deer Program Coordinator Ralph Meeks says the extreme weather did cause  some side effects.

"A lot of those deer have relied to come to town for food, but also, the forage quality. There's not forage out there for the adult does and the adult bucks, as well to eat on," says Meeks.

But, Meeks says that shouldn't discourage hunters from taking to the woods.

"People have been real successful to this point with the harvest, and we're real excited about that. It's going to help us and going to help the deer population," Meeks adds.

Keep in mind, though, there are rules to follow.

"Our whole job changes starting Saturday," says Wildlife Officer Ross Spurlock.

Spurlock says trespassing is one of the biggest issues in Pulaski County.

"We have so much private property that people that go on the property without written permission, and that is our number one call," Spurlock explains.

Spurlock also reminds hunters to make sure your hunting license is current and wear blaze orange.

"Immediately upon killing an animal, you have to tag it. You can't move it, anything. You have move it right away. The minimum fine right now in Pulaski County if you don't tag a deer, it's $620  and it's 12 points toward  your hunting and fishing privileges," adds Spurlock.

Whether you're a hunting novice or a seasoned pro, this weekend is one of the biggest in Arkansas.

"We're going have a lot of deer hunters in the woods, probably anywhere from 275,000 to 300,000 deer hunters statewide," Meeks says.

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