The kickoff to modern gun season is less than two weeks away, but hunters under 16 will get an early crack at a deer this weekend during the Arkansas modern gun youth deer hunt.

Only hunters 6-15 may harvest deer during the modern gun youth deer hunt. Youths who have not completed hunter education must be under the direct supervision of an adult at least 21 years old. Mentors may not hunt any species during the hunt. Youth who have completed hunter education may legally hunt on their own at their parent or guardian’s discretion.

Youth hunters are allowed to take bucks during the youth hunt and during regular deer season without regard to antler-point restrictions for both of the bucks in their seasonal bag limit. They must follow modern gun deer zone limits, and deer taken during the youth hunt count toward their seasonal bag limit.

This year youth hunters will need their own unique Customer Identification Number to check their deer upon harvest. The CID number is free to obtain and will remain with the hunter throughout their life. Anyone who already has purchased a hunting license or applied for a permit hunt of any kind has already been issued a CID number and will use that to check their deer.

In years past, hunters would check a deer of a youth hunter to the mentor’s license or explain to the operator receiving the call that it was a youth hunter and the deer would be recorded with the youth’s name and date of harvest. However, if the youth needed to refer to their checking number later for any reason, finding that number required a call to the AGFC and database requests. With hundreds to thousands of such requests possible each year, the system was in need of a change.

“The requests from the tens of thousands of records of youth deer harvests added up to a lot of staff time and frustration for our young hunters,” Brad Carner, chief of wildlife management for the AGFC, said. “But with their own CID, hunters can look up their checked deer on the AGFC’s smartphone app. They also can speed up any requests by giving their unique number to the operator and get results almost instantly.”

Carner explained the CID would be issued the first time a hunter purchases their hunting license at 16, and it is only needed when the hunter goes to check their deer.

“There have been some misconceptions that the CID is required to hunt, but it’s only required once the youth needs to check a deer,” Carner said. “But it would be smart to go ahead and get one for your youth hunter so you don’t have to worry about it when trying to check a deer in the woods.”

Hunters have 12 hours from the time of harvest to check deer and other big game animals in Arkansas. If a hunter cannot immediately check their deer before moving it, they must tag the deer with any piece of paper or material with their name, address, date and time of harvest and the sex of the deer. Once the deer is checked, this tag may be removed. Once checked, physical tags are no longer necessary as long as the deer remains within the hunter’s immediate presence. If the hunter leaves the deer at a camp, processor or other location before arriving home, the deer’s carcass must be tagged with the hunter’s name, address, date and time of harvest, and sex of the deer if it has not been checked. The check confirmation number must also be included if the deer has been checked.

Deer may be checked online at agfc.com, by phone at 877-731-5627 or through the AGFC’s smartphone app (available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). The app even allows a hunter to check a deer without a cell phone signal.

Visit agfc.com for more information on the modern gun youth deer hunt. Obtain a free Customer ID number by clicking the “Buy Licenses/Check Game” button at the top of the page and creating a new customer profile for your youth hunter.

iPhone users download or update the AGFC app here.

Android users download or update the AGFC app here.