Night hunting deer

Night hunting deer

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
Unless you’re chasing after coons, hogs, or coyotes, night hunting is pretty much outlawed across most of the country. Particularly when it comes to the pursuit of deer. That kind of behavior has strictly been limited to the local outlaws and poachers. 

However, in the state of Arkansas, there’s been talk about the possibility of night hunting for deer as the ideal means of management. And the outdoors editor for the  Arkansas Democrat Gazette even seems to have all the reasons why night hunting for deer is such a good idea. In his recent article, outdoors editor, Bryan Hendricks, started off with the following… 

As Arkansas Game and Fish Commissioner Bill Jones said in the commission’s last meeting, critical thinkers reserve the right to change their opinions when they get new and better information.

As we learn more about chronic wasting disease, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, hunters and non-hunters should be open to adapting their opinions about deer hunting.

The article goes on to say:  Accumulated data from studying chronic wasting disease compels us to adapt our deer hunting doctrine yet again. It also tells us that practices that have long been illegal might be logical solutions.

According to the Game and Fish Commission, deer spread CWD through physical and passive contact. An infected deer can spread CWD prions through grooming (licking another deer) or through merely touching noses. They can also spread it by consuming food that’s contaminated with the urine or saliva of an infected deer. Deer cover a lot of territory. If a local herd has a high prevalence rate, the chances are greater for infected deer from that herd to spread CWD to areas of lower prevalence.

Night hunting is a logical solution. It is illegal to hunt deer at night because it is so easy to kill deer at night. That is precisely why it would be an effective tool for reducing CWD prevalence. AGFC staff shoots deer at night to gather test samples. Citizen hunters could take vastly more samples and vastly increase the data pool.

Is this the proper step to take to spark excitement and enthusiasm for hunters? Is that how we want to present deer hunting to the next generation of deer hunters? 

In essence, the future of deer hunting for Arkansas, or any other state, could become much like what you see with hog and predator hunting with the standard being thermal optics under the cover of darkness. 

Is that a good or bad move for the future of deer hunting? 

Previous ReportWhat to expect from an outfitter
Next ReportGun sling