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Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Fall Activities


As our son gets older, my husband and I are starting to teach him more about fishing, hunting and outdoor conservation. We know that time outdoors is vital to brain and physical development. We also know being responsible in nature is essential. Fortunately, the Arkansas Game and Fish fall activities schedule is full of classes and competitions to help make the job of teaching our children easier. 

Photo by Julie Kohl

Earlier this year, the commission launched its Outdoor Skills Program to encourage families to get out and learn more about hunting and fishing in The Natural State. Since January, participants have been earning merit badges as they progress through each skill level. All summer long, activities held at the Nature and Education Centers across the state allowed families to learn more about the various outdoor skills including archery, fishing, and BB guns.

I recently spoke with Cody Walker at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center about the various events planned for the fall.

“The outdoor skills program was launched with the expectation of getting more families involved in and excited about activities related to hunting, fishing and trapping. In the past, we have run awareness programs where we teach people about the basics of specific skills. People have responded really well to these events, and we will continue to do them, but we wanted to provide something competitive as well.”

On Saturday, Sept. 21 from noon to 3:30, the commission is taking outdoor skills a step further and hosting a statewide marksmanship competition for children in grades 1 – 12. Participants across the state will have a chance to show off their newly-learned skills and compete to be the “best in Arkansas” in a five-part challenge, including:

BB Guns

Five shots at a target from 10 yards


Five shots at casting boxes of various sizes and point values

NASP-style Archery

Five shots at a NASP target from 10 yards

3-D Archery

Five shots at various animal targets


Five shots at a target from 10 yards

No practice shots will be given. 

The marksmanship competition will simultaneously take place at the Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Fort Smith Nature Centers as well as the Yellville and Columbus Education Centers. Students will be grouped by grade bands (1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12) and bronze, silver and gold medals will be awarded for each challenge and in each division at each location. Once all the local scores are tallied, they will be sent to Witt Stephens Nature Center in Little Rock and a statewide champion will be announced for each division. 

“Kids like competition and the chance to compete for prizes. We are hoping this increases interest and participation and that it brings a different crowd that enjoys the competitive element. We’re hoping to excite some new people.”

Advanced registration is not necessary. Just show up and participate. Every participant in the Marksmanship Challenge will be entered for a chance to win a weekend getaway to the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center for up to 12 people. 

If you are not in grades one through twelve, have no fear. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has loads of activities planned all season, including activities across the state for National Hunting and Fishing Day Sept. 28. Visit the commission’s website or your local nature or education centers’ Facebook page for the most current activities in your area. Here are a few coming up at the Forrest L. Wood Nature Center:

Bear Hunting 101

Join bear biologist Myron Means to learn everything from basic to advanced strategies for harvesting an Arkansas black bear. Tips and suggestions on what to do before, during and after the hunt will be included. 

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
Sept. 12
6-8 p.m.

Introduction to Squirrel Hunting

Are you looking for your first hunting opportunity, but not sure where to go or what to do? This introduction course might just be what you need to help you get started. We’ll tell you where to go, and show you how to have a successful hunting trip.

Pre-registration is required by emailing or calling 870-933-6787. 

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
Sept. 19
6-8 p.m.

Fall Family Fair

Activities will be announced soon and will include crafts, inflatables, feeding frenzies, creature features, guest speakers and door prizes. 

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
Oct. 12
Time: TBA

Introduction to Trapping

Wonder how to trap fur-bearing mammals? Join us for our third introduction course and find out. We will cover everything from types of traps down to making sets.

Pre-registration is required by emailing or by calling 870-933-6787.

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
Oct. 26
1-3 p.m.

Photos provided by the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center unless otherwise noted. 

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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