Arkansas Game and Fish
Turkey season has wrapped up, but there’s another spring season that gives hunters reason to be excited. Arkansas’s squirrel season is open.
Spring squirrel hunting has been an Arkansas tradition for decades, and typically was available from mid-May through mid-June.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted in 2013 to extend the season from May 15 to the end of February, making it one of Arkansas’s longest hunting seasons.
Squirrel populations are largely dependent on the previous year’s mast crop. Squirrel populations rise when the acorns and hickory nuts are plentiful. Lots of squirrels should be prowling the woods this spring following last fall’s explosion of hard mast in much of Arkansas.
“Find mulberries, and you’ll find squirrels,” said Mark Hooks, regional wildlife supervisor for the commission’s Monticello office. Mulberries are magnets for gray squirrels and fox squirrels this time of year.
“In fall, you’ll know when a squirrel has really been cutting hickories by the yellow stain on their chin,” Hooks said. “But if you can find a ripe red mulberry tree, you’ll see a bunch of squirrels with purple stains on their mouths and chest from the fruits of this tree.”
Hunters can take 12 squirrels as their daily limit.
Hooks said the key to identifying these magical mulberries is their leaves. Mulberry trees have broad, pointed leaves that resemble a heart shape with a flat base. But the leaf also may have a depression in its margin that creates multiple lobes.