Making my way down DeSoto Boulevard on July 23, 2022, at 5:00 in the morning to attend the HSV Urban Deer Hunt Orientation, I couldn’t help but notice deer crossing the road. Only seeing two, I was traveling slow enough to avoid a collision, but it could have been disastrous, as it was in a previous time when a deer crossing DeSoto hit the side of our vehicle. (Yes, that was correct, the deer ran into us.)
One attendee told me he saw around 20 deer on his way to the event. This is one of the reasons the Hot Springs Village Urban Deer Hunt is necessary because the deer population in the Village keeps growing which leads to numerous vehicular accidents.
Important Reasons for the HSV Urban Deer Hunt
- Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry Program – Noles said, “Hot Springs Village Urban Deer Hunt provides more venison than any of the other three urban deer hunts in the state combined. We keep all of our venison local. The venison our hunters donate is ground up by local butchers or made into jerky by a Missouri-based company.” Noles continued, “the jerky is distributed to the local school children attending, Jessieville, Mountain Pine, Fountain Lake, Cutter Morningstar, and Hot Springs schools in the backpack program.”
- Increases health of the herd – Overpopulated deer herds are more prone to diseases, interbreeding, and being underweight due to limited food supply.
- Decreases accidents involving motor vehicles and deer. In 2019 there were 51 motor vehicle accidents involving deer.
- Decreases deer tick population – Deer ticks carry diseases harmful to humans.
- Decreases negative effects on Village pets who tend to ingest deer feces.
- Reduces damage to Villagers’ bushes and plants from overpopulated deer trying to subsist on limited quantities of food.
POA staff, Common Property, Forest and Wildlife Committee (CPFW) members, Arkansas Bowhunters Association, and a number of eager hunters were already at the Woodlands when we arrived before 5:20. The cool breeze felt nice, and the weather was still tolerable at 7:00 AM.
Around 300 bowhunters attended the orientation. Ten prospective hunters at a time were allowed to attempt qualification. The goal was to shoot three arrows in a row into the center mass of the targets. If not successful on the first try, the prospective bowhunters were given a second opportunity to qualify. If not able to successfully execute the second round of shots, then the hunter is not allowed to hunt in the HSV Urban Deer Hunt this season.
Qualifications were halted in order for the presentation in the Woodlands to be given. Wade Tucker of the Arkansas Bow Hunters Association was the first speaker. Tucker stressed the importance of taking adult deer and donating the first one you take to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry. He also spoke about being respectful of the residents.
Todd Noles, HSV Common Property, Forest, Wildlife and Lakes Superintendent said, “more deer from Hot Springs Village times two are donated to the Hunters Feeding the Hungry program than all of the other state urban deer hunts combined.”
Much appreciation to the members of the Common Property, Forest, and Wildlife Committee for their dedicated service and hard work to the Village and the Urban Deer Hunt, and special mention to Mark Quinton who also assisted with this endeavor.
Below are images that were taken at the 2022 HSV Urban Deer Hunt Orientation. Also, there is a video of the entire presentation.
By Cheryl Dowden, Videography and Photography by Joe Dowden