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Local hunters draw elk permits

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

As it is every year, the highlight of the 10th annual Buffalo River Elk Festival is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission drawing for elk hunting permits.

The two-segment season will be held Sept. 24-28 and Dec. 3-7.

An added attraction for this year's hunt was an on-site registration and drawing for one of the coveted permits. John Unwer of Huntsville was the lucky winner of that permit.

A pair of local hunters, Mike Johnson from Evening Shade, along with Scotty Rush from Cave City, drew permits for the December Antlerless elk hunt; Johnson in Zone 1, Rush in Zone 3.

As in past seasons, this year's elk hunting will be on public lands of the Buffalo National River and the AGFC's Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area, as well as adjacent private lands within Elk Zones 1 through 4.

Just four of the hunters will be in the field in September.

The other permits are for the December hunt, when weather will be cooler.

Two of the 24 permits for hunting in Elk Zones 1 through 4, mostly public land, were earmarked as youth elk permits for hunters under 16 years old.

This is the sixth year for youth elk permits. Commissioners of the AGFC continue to look for chances to involve and encourage young people of the state to participate in hunting and fishing.

The youth hunter permits are unique in another way, too.

It specifies either-sex elk, meaning the youth hunter can harvest either a bull elk or a cow elk.

Since Arkansas elk hunting began in 1998, permits other than youth elk permits for elk hunting zones 1 through 4 have specified which kind of elk could be taken.

The youth permit will be for the December segment of the 2007 elk hunt.

To be eligible to win the elk permit, youths must have successfully completed a hunter education course.

The September hunt will be by four winners of bull permits, two drawn at the festival, and two others who were high bidders at fund-raising events sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, which donates most of the proceeds to the Game and Fish Commission for elk program work.

Youth Elk Hunt Permit (December Hunt, Either Sex):

* Kylan Larsen, Bentonville, Zone 3

* Walker Davis, Crossett, Zone 3

September Bull Elk Hunt Permits:

* Jimmy Hall, Pea Ridge, Zone 1

* Joey Shirley, Dover, Zone 4

December Bull Elk Hunt Permits:

* Jim Palmer, Conway, Zone 1

* Boyce Brown, McCrory, Zone 2

* Josh McCurry, Waldron, Zone 4

* John Unwer, Huntsville, Zone 4

December Antlerless Elk Hunt Permits:

Zone 1

* Amanda Adair, Cabot

* Jody Swaffar, Quitman

* Mike Johnson, Evening Shade

Zone 2

* Jeremy Brown, Jonesboro

* Woodrow Armfield, Yellville

* Michael Alexander, Little Rock

Zone 3

* Johnnie Tash, Jessieville

* Sandy West, Mayflower

* John Hintson, Pleasant Grove

* Jerry Medley, Bethel Heights

* Scotty Rush, Cave City

Zone 4

* Randy McGrew, Hot Springs

* Brian Weaver, Jessieville

* Joshua Burns, Bella Vista

* Robert Smith, Quitman

* Gregory Smith, Sherwood

Permits purchased through auctions by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

* Walton Short, Magnolia, Zone 2, Bull (September Hunt)

* Patrick Gilligan, San Francisco, Zone 3, Bull (September Hunt)

The applications and permits were free, although a number of applicants sent donations earmarked for elk program work.

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