At only seven years of age, Maxx Tumey is fresh off one of the hunting highlights of his young life.
There were only 24 elk tags available in Arkansas in 2020. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) drew names from more than 5,000 applicants for the first 23 tags. The Arkansas Wildlife Federation (AWF) auctioned off the final one, a youth only either sex tag, several months later.
Maxx was thrilled to learn his parents, Brentt and Jessica, outbid the competition and won it for him. Accompanied by them and several friends two months later, Maxx harvested a bull elk in northwest Arkansas on a swath of land known as Bearcat Hollow in the Ozark Mountains. In doing so, he became the youngest hunter to kill an elk there. He is also one of two seven-year-olds to take an elk on public land in Arkansas.
Dating back to 2006, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation collaborated with the Ozark National Forest Service, AGFC, AWF, the National Wild Turkey Federation and other partners on the Bearcat Hollow project.
RMEF so far contributed $180,000 and volunteer manpower to help the landscape recover from decades of fire suppression, noxious weed invasion and other issues. Habitat enhancement methods included forest thinning and the creation of meadows, wildlife openings and ponds, prescribed burns, fertilization and the planting of native forbs, annuals and clover.
Go here to watch a 2019 video about RMEF’s habitat work at Bearcat Hollow.
The result is 16,000 acres of improved forest health featuring prime habitat for elk, deer, bear and turkey as well as improved hunting opportunity – just ask Maxx.
According to his website, Maxx wants to be a professional outdoorsman. Along the way, he also wants to create opportunities for at-risk youth so they can enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
(Photo source: Brentt Tumey)