Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Arkansas has a diverse cross-section of wildlife from elk to alligators and many places across the state where one can see these species in the wild. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff works to provide quality habitat for hundreds of species. Get outdoors and explore the wildlife found in The Natural State. Thank you for helping to conserve wildlife and wild places.
1. Birds of Prey
Kings River Overlook Nature Trail
The trail is an excellent place to view bald eagles, red-shouldered hawks, turkey vultures and other birds that soar using the updraft from the bluff. Find trail map on Alltrails.com.
Pea Ridge National Military Park
Bobwhites prefer a combination of open woods, thickets and native grasses and weeds that create an understory of ankle- to waist-high vegetation that is plentiful at Pea Ridge.
Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge
From fall through spring, Holla Bend can host hundreds of geese and ducks, along with not-to-be-expected species such as trumpeter and tundra swan. Located near Pottsville.
Buffalo National River
More Arkansans visit the Buffalo River area each year to observe and photograph these magnificent animals, especially in late September and early October when elk are breeding. Visit the Elk Education Center in Ponca for sighting tips.
Alligator populations are greatest in shallow, open marshes, swamps and river backwaters with plenty of aquatic plants. A moonlight boat ride through the lake can offer a wealth of gator encounters.
6. Black Bears
Mount Magazine State Park
Bears are an important part of the history on Mount Magazine. Visit Mount Magazine State Park to learn more about bears and for your chance at a sighting.
Jim Hinkle Spring River Hatchery
The Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery is on a 7-acre island in the middle of the Spring River near Mammoth Spring in Fulton County. The hatchery is one of the largest state-owned trout-producing facilities in the southeastern United States and is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s only coldwater facility.
8. Smallmouth Bass
Crooked Creek is a Blue Ribbon Smallmouth Bass Stream and is well known for its feisty smallmouth bass. Stop by Fred Berry Conservation Education Center for the local fishing report before you get on the water. Located near Yellville.
9. secretive marSh birds
Freddie Black Choctaw Island
Wildlife Management Area
Choctaw Island includes some of the most ecologically significant and productive habitat in the state. In the spring, you can view species of secretive marsh birds (i.e. Virginia rail, least bittern, American bittern, sora) that are difficult to spot anywhere else in the state.
10. Reptiles and Amphibians
Bottomland Hardwood Trail
This unique boardwalk trail gives visitors an opportunity to walk through some of Arkansas’s famous bottomland hardwood. The boardwalk cuts through beautiful wetland scenery that is great for birding and observing aquatic wildlife like frogs, skinks and snakes.
11. Butterflies and Pollinators
Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation
Among the showy flowers are many varieties of milkweed, the host plant for the monarch butterfly, responsible for helping pollinate crops throughout the United States. The auto tour at Grandview Prairie is a great way to learn about pollinators, wildflowers and local animals.