Flooding Closes White River North Unit Muzzleloader Deer Hunts

Flooding Closes White River North Unit Muzzleloader Deer Hunts
South Unit open for now, but may also close if river rises.

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission

Arkansas –-(AmmoLand.com)- Flooding closes White River North Unit muzzleloader deer hunts. Click here to to the White River NWR web site. ST. CHARLES – The White River National Wildlife Refuge will close the North Unit quota deer hunt on Oct. 17-19 and the North Unit non-quota buck-only hunt, Oct. 20-23 due to an unprecedented early flood season. The South Unit hunt remains open for now. North Unit permit holders are not allowed to hunt in the South Unit.

“We regret closing these North Unit hunts due to the flood, but we also need to ensure hunter safety and protect the deer resource for the future,” said refuge manger Dennis Sharp.

Unfortunately, this water level will keep the North Unit closed for deer archery hunting and prevent the scheduled North Unit muzzleloader deer hunt.

“At this time, we do not anticipate closing the South Unit muzzleloader deer season due to flooding, but hunters are encouraged to monitor water levels,” Sharp said.

He went on to say that the North Unit quota muzzleloader deer permits will not be refundable or renewed as the money has already been spent on associated hunt administration costs. 850 hunters had been issued permits for this year’s hunt. Another 300 were not. The permits will also not be renewed for next year’s hunt.

“I can’t, in all good conscience, renew the 850 North Unit permits for next year, as that would be mean that the other 300 applicants who did not get permits would not be able to hunt there for two years,” Sharp said. “I also can’t predict the impacts of the unprecedented flooding on the deer herd in the North Unit, so I don’t know how many quotas will be offered there next year.”

“I know many hunters will be disappointed in missing this great public hunting opportunity, and I sure understand their frustration,” said Sharp. “I encourage you to apply again for next year’s hunts and hope for more favorable river levels now and next year.”

The North Unit of the refuge closes to deer hunting when the White River reaches 23 feet at St. Charles and does not reopen until the level falls below 21 feet. The river reached the 23-foot level the first week of October, closing archery deer season on the North Unit. The river is currently rising at St. Charles and projected to remain above 21 feet through Oct. 23.

The South Unit closes to all deer hunting when the White River gauge at St. Charles reaches 23 feet and the tailwater gauge reading at Norrel Lock and Dam #1 reaches 145 feet simultaneously as reported at the following website: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lzk/html/whitervr.htm.

Up-to-date flood related deer season closure information is also available on the refuge’s recorded phone message system at (870) 282-8200. Hunters camping on the South Unit should carefully monitor rising river levels that may flood their camp or overtop exit routes.

These types of flooding events, although part of natural floodplain system, can impact deer and other wildlife populations, and may change the number of quotas available for next year.

For more information, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/whiteriver/images/WhiteRiverHuntBrochureText09.pdf http://www.fws.gov/whiteriver/huntingpage.html.