LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Officials with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stated Friday that young hunters checked more than 9,000 deer during the state’s annual two-day youth hunt.

AGFC officials detailed that hunters aged 6 to 15 checked 9,153 deer during last week’s annual youth modern gun deer hunt. AGFC deer program coordinator Ralph Meeker noted that the success was influenced by the days’ weather conditions.

“We had significant storms roll through on Friday night, right before the hunt,” Meeker said. “I’m sure a few hunters who had set up pop-up blinds may have had to go find them in the dark that first morning from the wind having blown them away, but overall it was great weather during the hunt.”

AGFC officials added that the overall deer harvest seems to be on track with recent years, noting that nearly 44,000 deer have been checked so far.

As opening day approaches, Meeker stressed the importance of firearm safety.

“We still had several treestand falls while deer hunting last year that resulted in injuries, four of which were fatal,” Meeker said. “Always use a safety harness, and no matter what sort of stand or saddle you use, give it a thorough inspection for worn straps and bolts before you ever take it to the woods to hang it.”

According to the AGFC’s website, the next opening day for the 2023 deer season is Saturday, Nov. 12.