Arkansas’s archery deer season opens Saturday, Sept. 23, and hunters are busy making those last-minute preparations for success. Double-check your license purchase and electronic game tags on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s new mobile app or website before you hit the field so things run smoothly when you seal the deal on that trail camera stud you’ve been watching for the last month.
According to Page 43 of the Arkansas Hunting Guidebook (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1y3NsyKqHSUY3kPfJ8j5agSjVAx1gHiWx/view), immediately after shooting a deer, the hunter is required to tag it with a self-made tag listing the hunter’s name, customer identification number, the sex of the animal, the hunting zone, the time and the date of harvest. That tag remains with the deer until it is officially checked, which must be done within 12 hours of harvest. Of course, with today’s cell phone reception and smartphones, in many places, you can forgo tagging altogether if you can check the deer where you shot it. Here are three easy ways to check your deer and stay legal this season:
Download the App
The AGFC recently launched its new, streamlined smartphone app with its license system refresh, but there are a few steps to take to make sure you get the full benefit of the application. The first step is to delete any older AGFC app from your phone and download the latest version, which is available on the Apple Store (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/agfc-mobile/id6446257872) and the Google Play Store (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.S3.Core.Mobile.AR). Once it’s downloaded, you’ll need to create a new account using this handy guide (https://www.agfc.com/en/agfc-mobile-app-how-to/).
Once downloaded, be sure to check your license and the electronic tags that accompany it to ensure they are activated. Once activated, electronic tags on the app will work to check your deer anywhere, even if you are not within a cellular signal, but it’s important to make sure your tags are available before you head to the woods in case you don’t have a cell signal to download them later.
Go to the Web
If you don’t have the app, you can still check your deer electronically with a few simple steps on your phone, as long as you have a signal. Visit www.agfc.com (http://www.agfc.com/) and click the “Buy Licenses | Check Game” button at the top of the homepage. From the main license page, click “Report a Game Check” from the menu and you will be taken to a login page. Once logged into your account, you will be taken to a page titled “My Surveys” that has electronic tags available to complete for each deer your license allows. Click on the tag you wish to use and complete the survey to finish the checking process.
Phone It In
Of course, you can always call 833-289-2469 to check your deer once you have a phone signal. A staff of operators will be available to walk you through the checking process. With up to 300,000 hunters in the woods this year, a short wait is inevitable during high-traffic times, so checking via website or app will likely be a faster, more user-friendly experience for many.
Once checked, a deer does not need to have a physical tag attached unless it leaves your immediate possession (i.e. at a processor, taxidermist or deer camp freezer). At those
times, you will still need to tag the deer with your name, customer identification number and check confirmation number to ensure the deer can be traced back to the proper hunter if a game warden drops by to visit with the camp and how their hunting season is going so far.