A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (2022)

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (1)
I was first turned on to the goHUNT website by Randy Newberg. I have learned a lot through his show, Podcast and YouTube channel.

I have been putting in for the Arkansas elk hunt since it first began in 1998 when I was twelve years old. This year was no different. I sent in my application and then promptly forgot about it, figuring that I would have the same results as years prior. I remember when I got the call. I screened the call because I didn’t recognize the number. I thought, “I can deal with this later,” as the voicemail note popped up on my phone. I had forgotten about it until later that night when I listened to the voicemail. I was in complete shock. I really didn’t believe it for about five weeks until I received my tags and information packet.

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (2)
I started making trips up to my zone, BearCat Hollow, with a buddy—about three hours away from our houses. With the help of some local knowledge, we started finding elk and were lucky enough to see elk on each of our following trips up. We spent the time trying to learn the land at first, which was roughly 30,000 acres. My hunt was scheduled for Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, which meant that I had only five days to hunt. I didn’t want to waste my opportunity so we made as many scouting trips as possible beforehand.

As I started planning and preparing, I joined goHUNT’s INSIDERfor two reasons: 1) for the knowledge that was on the website, which later would prove to be the difference in making my hunt a success, and 2) for the maps and draw information for a 2018 western elk hunt that I’m planning with some friends. The overall knowledge available on INSIDER is second to none. For me, it was like looking at the plans for a building; every layer was broken down and easy to comprehend. What I wasn’t expecting was how helpful the goHUNT Gear Shop store was, which would later also play a role in my success.

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A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (3)
I set out on Wednesday, Oct. 25, five days before the hunt to set up camp and do my final scouting. I had learned the area and terrain in my trips before so my goal before the season was to spot as many bulls as possible and try to figure out what caliber bulls were in the area. I was lucky to spot elk every day and see what I considered first day shooters every day.

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (4)
The terrain of the area is mostly deep timber with man-made fields for the wildlife on ridge tops. Each field has so many areas you cannot see. It is not easy to spot the fields from a distance with only a few places to see multiple fields.

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (5)
A herd of Arkansas elk with a nice bull.

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (6)
The wind was also heavy and, within only a few hours in the first few days of scouting, I could hear bugles. I was able to find an area with a lot of deep ridges out of the wind with a small field. The area was steep and thick, but had a good number of cows and bulls with one 7x7 herd bull. Every other shooter bull I spotted that week only had at most eight cows with him. This bull had a herd of about 25 cows and some raghorn bulls. He was consistently using the area and I hoped it was a matter of time until I was able to get a shot.

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Opening day

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (8)
On the day of the hunt, I got to the area two hours before daylight. I waited until daylight to work into the area. It had warmed 40 degrees from the day before and I was trying to stay positive with my doubts creeping in. That morning I only saw a small 4x4 and a cow. I spotted a few more areas without any luck. I went in for lunch and went back out about 1 p.m. I set up in the field where I had spotted the big bull. The field had a lot of terrain changes and you could only see half of the field from my setup. It had a big point in the middle of the field, which obscured the other side of the field from my vantage point. My dad and buddy set up in another field where they could see the other side. The afternoon was uneventful and, as the evening moved in, I decided to slip to the middle point to where I could spot both ends of the field even though it meant that I would be exposed.

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (9)
It was getting late when I got to the top. As I slipped around, spotting the different areas of the field, I heard a bugle two ridges over. I had my mouth call, which I purchased from the goHUNT Gear Shop, with me so I bugled and proceeded it with cow calls. About a minute later the bull bugled again—only this time, he was one ridge away. I could also hear him thrashing trees. So I bugled back at him and mixed in cows calls off and on. The next bugle was right below the field and I could hear elk working into the field. I had to crawl to the end of the point I was on to see down into the low spot of the field. Luckily, I was downwind!

I could see cows and a raghorn but not the big bull. I crawled a little further and spotted another group of elk below me; I could see antler tips. I raised up to my knees and could see his antlers and back.

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I had to stand.

He was about 150 yards below me and was broadside. I shouldered my rifle and got steady on his shoulder. I was shooting a .325 WSM in a Browning X-Bolt with 200-grain accubonds. I squeezed off the shot and the bull hunched up and stood there as if in defiance of the shot. I tried to cycle another round but in my excitement, I didn't throw my bolt all the way back. I snapped on him twice before I realized what was going on. For my next shot, he was quartering away and I hit his spine. He collapsed and my excitement began. I later learned that my dad and buddy could see me on the ridge top and they said I had another bull charging me from my backside ready to fight.

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (10)

A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (11)
For the next hour, we took pictures. I had made friends with the forestry manager and he unlocked the gate that leads to the field, which was about three-fourths of a mile downhill. It took us over an hour to figure out how to load him up and we made it back to camp by 10:30 p.m. The next day we boned out all the meat (which filled a 160, 75, and 45-quart YETI cooler), caped the head, broke camp and got him checked in for the CWD and biological tests. All total from the beginning of my journey until the end: I spent 18 days scouting, one-day hunting, and one-day breaking camp and butchering. The experience and the meat are both things I will cherish forever from this hunt.

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A southern style elk hunt in the mountains of Arkansas (12)

It was an unbelievable experience that I will not forget. I cannot express how significant all the information I learned off of INSIDER was. From the purchase of the mouth calls, tips on how to call elk and even how to scout and hunt elk. The knowledge and information on the goHUNT website is a library of wealth. I want to thank you for listening to my story and for producing such a great tool for hunters to use.

FAQs

Where is the best place to see elk in Arkansas? ›

If you want a breathtaking experience, head to Boxley Valley. Elk have free range and can be seen at several different locations near the Buffalo National River in North Central Arkansas. The most common place to view them is the six miles of Arkansas 43 and Arkansas 21 in Boxley Valley.

What is the cheapest state to elk hunt? ›

Idaho has historically been one of the lower-priced states for a NR to hunt elk in, and for the remainder of 2020, it is still just $586 for an archery elk license/tag.

How do I get an elk tag in Arkansas? ›

Visit https://ar-web.s3licensing.com/ to apply for a public land elk permit. Applications require a $5 nonrefundable processing fee, but no additional fees are required of hunters who successfully draw.

Where is the easiest place to hunt elk? ›

Colorado is often at the top of the list for beginner elk hunters. The state has more elk than any other, with more than 280,000 animals. Colorado sells either sex and cow-only archery tags over the counter. For rifle hunters, bull tags can be purchased over the counter for the state's second and third rifle seasons.

What is the elk population in Arkansas? ›

Through field observations, records on public comments and non-hunting mortalities and harvest data, the herd is estimated at about 450 animals. Arkansas's elk range covers approximately 315,000 acres, of which 85,000 are public land.

How many elk are in Boxley Arkansas? ›

The majority of that is private land down there." Arkansas has between 600 and 700 elk, Wright said. They're mostly in the vicinity of the Buffalo National River, which includes Boxley Valley, just south of Ponca. The Game and Fish Commission monitors the elk herd with the cooperation of the National Park Service.

What is the easiest state to get an elk tag? ›

Wyoming is the most predictable of the “five year plan” states. Once you accumulate preference points, it is fairly certain that you will be going on a really good elk hunt. In my opinion, Wyoming has the best combination of quality elk, public lands, accessibility to tags and harvest success of any western state.

What state has the highest success rate for elk hunting? ›

Wyoming claims an amazing overall 44.4% average hunter success rate (includes OTC tags), followed now by Utah at 26.4% (Utah is always late, so waiting on 2017 harvest data). Idaho dropped to third place followed by Montana.

What state has best elk hunting? ›

Arizona: Best State for Typical and Non-Typical Elk

They hold the combined record for most B&C entries since 2010. The downside, however, is getting a tag can be quite difficult. Non-residents cannot draw more than 10% of all eligible hunting tags for any species, which puts more demand on guided hunts.

How much does an elk tag cost in Arkansas? ›

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.

What counties in Arkansas have elk? ›

Elk have been reported in Washington, Carroll, Boone, Marion, Newton, Searcy, Stone, Conway, Pope, Van Buren and Faulkner counties, but most of the approximately 650+ Elk in the Arkansas herd reside along 67 miles of the upper and middle Buffalo National River corridor in Newton and Searcy counties, primarily on ...

Are there moose in Arkansas? ›

Arkansas does not have native moose. However, we do have large populations of deer and elk. Deer hunting is very popular in Arkansas. Elk herds can be observed in Ponca, Arkansas.

What state has the most trophy elk? ›

Again, unsurprisingly, the most record Tule elk have come from California, with 95.

What state has the highest population of elk? ›

Today, Colorado has the largest herd in the United States, about 300,000 animals. Elk in Montana, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming number between 100,000 and 150,000. New Mexico, Utah and Washington have 50,000 to 80,000 elk, and Arizona, Nevada, California and Kentucky have 10,000 to 25,000 elk.

How long have elk been in Arkansas? ›

In 1982, the first elk calf was born in Arkansas, and the herd has slowly grown to an estimated 450 to 500 animals as of 2009.

Can you see elk in the rain? ›

During rainy weather, elk will often be up feeding, you need to move slow enough to see them moving before they spot you. And don't forget to hunt with the wind in your face.

Can you hunt alligators in Arkansas? ›

Public land alligator hunts are held on designated areas of the Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D'Arc WMA, Sulphur River WMA, Little River below Millwood Lake, Millwood Lake and the Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex. All other public areas are closed to alligator hunting.

How do you see the elk in Ponca? ›

Elk tend to feed in the fields that lie along the Buffalo National River between Ponca and Boxley, just after sunrise and then again in the late afternoon. To find them, simply drive from Ponca down Hwy 43 to the south, keeping an eye on the fields on the east side of the road (watch for traffic, too!).

When can you see elk in Ponca Arkansas? ›

Fortunately, elk can be reliably viewed in Ponca throughout the fall and winter and even into April. So, if you can't make it here during rut season, there's still plenty of time left to enjoy watching them for the next several months.

Are there elk in Marshall Arkansas? ›

Elk Watching

One of the best places to view elk is just a few minutes from the Buffalo River Outfitters store. Right off the southwest side of Highway 65 between our store and Marshall, Arkansas there is an open field where you can often see a large herd of elk grazing in the distance.

How do you get in shape for elk hunting? ›

Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and air squats train your whole body. A great workout to prepare for hunts is weighted step-ups—wearing a backpack with some heavy stuff in it and stepping up on a cooler then back down.

What states can you buy over the counter elk tag? ›

Three Incredible OTC Elk States
  • Idaho OTC Elk units. PC: Idaho Fish and Game.
  • OTC archery either-sex elk units. PC: Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • OTC Archery cow elk units. PC: Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • OTC rifle 2nd and 3rd season. PC: Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
  • OTC rifle plains units. ...
  • Utah elk units.
May 17, 2018

What is considered a trophy elk? ›

If a bull appears able to “scratch his rear-end with his antlers,” it likely has the frame to be a trophy. No need to spend much more time considering beam length. Inside Spread—Boone and Crockett records show a wide variation on spreads of trophy elk.

What counties in Arkansas have elk? ›

Elk have been reported in Washington, Carroll, Boone, Marion, Newton, Searcy, Stone, Conway, Pope, Van Buren and Faulkner counties, but most of the approximately 650+ Elk in the Arkansas herd reside along 67 miles of the upper and middle Buffalo National River corridor in Newton and Searcy counties, primarily on ...

Are there moose in Arkansas? ›

Arkansas does not have native moose. However, we do have large populations of deer and elk. Deer hunting is very popular in Arkansas. Elk herds can be observed in Ponca, Arkansas.

Where can I see elk in Newton County? ›

Where to See Elk. The best place to see Elk is Boxley Valley, around the Buffalo national river. Stop at the Ponca Elk Center on Arkansas Highway 43 in Newton County to get information. There is an elk viewing area marked near the elk center, but nobody told the elk they need to be there.

Are there wolves in Arkansas? ›

One of their last strongholds, wolf experts say, were the Ozarks — northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. Now, the wild wolves roam a single refuge in eastern North Carolina. There isn't a single facility in Arkansas that actually hosts a living red wolf.

A different mountain elk hunting experience

I have been putting in for the Arkansas elk hunt since it first began in 1998 when I was twelve years old.. I had forgotten about it until later that night when I listened to the voicemail.. With the help of some local knowledge, we started finding elk and were lucky enough to see elk on each of our following trips up.. As I started planning and preparing, I joined goHUNT’s INSIDER for two reasons: 1) for the knowledge that was on the website, which later would prove to be the difference in making my hunt a success, and 2) for the maps and draw information for a 2018 western elk hunt that I’m planning with some friends.. I had learned the area and terrain in my trips before so my goal before the season was to spot as many bulls as possible and try to figure out what caliber bulls were in the area.. I was lucky to spot elk every day and see what I considered first day shooters every day.. Each field has so many areas you cannot see.. The wind was also heavy and, within only a few hours in the first few days of scouting, I could hear bugles.. On the day of the hunt, I got to the area two hours before daylight.. I set up in the field where I had spotted the big bull.. About a minute later the bull bugled again—only this time, he was one ridge away.. So I bugled back at him and mixed in cows calls off and on.. The next bugle was right below the field and I could hear elk working into the field.. It took us over an hour to figure out how to load him up and we made it back to camp by 10:30 p.m.. From the purchase of the mouth calls, tips on how to call elk and even how to scout and hunt elk.

Elk Hunting Trip for those living in Arkansas. Call us at (410) 984-8680 to Book Your Elk Hunting Trip TODAY!

Looking for an Elk Hunting Trip in the Arkansas area?. So forget those Arkansas area hunts, come home to the Ohio Elk Hunting Trip experience that only Rocky Fork Whitetails can deliver!. Hunters who have traveled from the Arkansas area, trust Rocky Fork Whitetail’s Elk Hunting Trip; for exciting and memorable Elk Hunting Trip experiences in Ohio.. We offer many Elk Hunting Trip and other hunting adventures:. Take home to Arkansas those memories that will fuel a lifetime of storytelling about your Elk Hunting Trip in Ohio at Rocky Fork Whitetails.. Hunting on the Ohio area’s best Elk Hunting Trip acreage, you can leave your problems at home in Arkansas and experience the excitement and the relaxation that Rocky Fork Whitetails in Ohio offers.. Attracting hunters and enthusiasts from Arkansas and beyond, a Elk Hunting Trip at Rocky Fork Whitetails is the ultimate location for the most insane Elk Hunting Trip in Ohio; or anywhere else.. Rocky Fork Whitetails on Ohio is dedicated to the exciting Elk Hunting Trip and hunters from Arkansas love to come and experience that only Ohio can offer.. Rocky Fork Whitetails specializes in large and corporate groups.. Followed by the peace and relaxation that only our 5 star lodge nestled in the hills of Ohio can offer.. Your guided Elk Hunting Trip centered in the majestic hills of Ohio will be Elk Hunting Trip and Rocky Fork Whitetails is here to make sure you have Elk Hunting Trip stories to tell when you get home!

These majestic elk draw wildlife watchers to Buffalo National River Country in Arkansas, visit the Elk Education Center in Ponca and see 300 elk.

The elk now number more than 300 in ponca, arkansas, they arrived in 1933.As the fog lifts in Boxley Valley and the morning sun warms the dew on the grass, elk move from the mottled shade at the edge of the forest into the open pasture to graze.. Elk range through more than 315,000 acres in Arkansas in the northwest part of the state along the Buffalo National River in Newton and Searcy counties and in portions of southern Boone and Carroll counties.. A herd of wild elk in ponca, arkansas.“Plus that area is absolutely beautiful with the fall color change, so a lot of people show up,” Randy Zellers with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says.. You can learn all about the local elk at the elk education center in ponca, northwest arkansas.. An elk in boxley valley, arkansas.Additionally, elk can often be seen near the Erbie campground on the south side of the river or in fields on the north side.. Bearcat Hollow Wildlife Management Area and the Richland Valley addition to Gene Rush WMA are the newer elk viewing areas.. They contained elk before, but now have better public access and improved habitat for elk.. No matter where visitors decide to go to see the elk, Zellers reminds people “the elk are wild animals.. Although elk are often thought of as a western animal, the eastern elk was a native of Arkansas.. The 112 elk have grown to about 550 elk in 2020.. A majestic large bull elk in the buffalo river area.The Ponca Elk Education Center is operated by the education division of the AGFC in Ponca and has about 6,500 to 7,000 visitors annually.

Where to go?  That is the first question.  What kind of a hunt do I want to do?  That is the second question.  How much am I willing to spend?  That is the third question.  Those are all bad questions and if you are thinking along those lines, throw them all out.  What I focus on is where can I have the most fun.  Then I try to pick the time that will work for my schedule.  My wife and I like to travel in the fall and that is usually right around elk season in the mountains, so some of the places picked do not work for our schedule.  What I want are good accommodations, good food, a one to one guide, and

I like to make sure the people that recommend the outfitter have had a good experience with a lot of fun mixed in.. I like to hear, “I had a great time and will or would go again.” Winchester Blind Side Waterfowl Load Shotshells I have been on elk hunts in three states, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado.. In many cases your percentages go down, not unless the hunting areas are positioned near private land that holds elk year round.. If you are going to the mountains with an outfitter that is hunting National Forrest Service Land, you should be prepared to be able to ride a horse.. Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.

Where to go?  That is the first question.  What kind of a hunt do I want to do?  That is the second question.  How much am I willi...

My wife and I like to travel in the fall and that is usually right around elk season in the mountains, so some of the places picked do not work for our schedule.. I like to make sure the people that recommend the outfitter have had a good experience with a lot of fun mixed in.. Winchester Blind Side Waterfowl Load Shotshells I have been on elk hunts in three states, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado.. In many cases your percentages go down, not unless the hunting areas are positioned near private land that holds elk year round.. If you are going to the mountains with an outfitter that is hunting National Forrest Service Land, you should be prepared to be able to ride a horse.. After I have hunted in the mountains, on my drive out, I drink a liter of Gatorade.. I also drink another half a liter at the end of the day, but I might have to get up a couple of times during the night.. Service is excellent and while you can have your animal processed at the lodge, my preference is to bring it back to my processor.. I have about a 10 hour drive and having hunted in January, it was not problem to bring the animal back in total.. Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.

Videos

1. Elk Hunting Modes - Moving from Rifle to Bow
(ElkBros)
2. Colorado Elk Hunting in the Backcountry (SOLO, DIY, OTC) | 2020
(The Maine Woods)
3. Gear You Need for ELK HUNTING (GEAR DUMP)
(Born and Raised Outdoors)
4. Colorado Elk Hunting 2019
(Littleracerboy Outdoors)
5. BSY | BACKCOUNTRY FOOD PREP WITH BORN & RAISED OUTDOORS | S1E24
(Hushin)
6. PUBLIC LAND WHERE TO IN ARKANSAS!! Top Biologist with AGFC tell public land hotspots.
(Arkansas Extreme Outdoors)

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