Three Rivers Outdoors

Updated 12:00 a.m., Sun May 12, 2019
PHOTO BY: Keith Sutton

Habitat loss, subsistence use and marketing of hides and venison contributed to the near extirpation of Arkansas deer in the early 1900s. The killing of even one whitetail then was an uncommon event.

Deer herd grew from near extinction to millions

No one knows how many deer were in Arkansas when the first settlers arrived from Europe. Commercial deer hunting started at Arkansas Post in the 1700s. Members of the Dunbar and Hunter expedition up the Ouachita River in 1804-05 frequently encountered deer. In 1818-19, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft observed numerous deer in the Ozarks. In 1834, a geologist/explorer named George William Featherstonhaugh was one of the first to write of the wasteful slaughter of deer. He wrote, “A man goes into the woods, kills a deer 20 miles off, skins it, cuts out its haunches, or ‘hams,’ as they... READ MORE