Turkey biologists hope hunters will provide information on recent season | Outside
It’s been a month since turkey hunters hung up the slate and peg or the call of the faithful box in pursuit of one of the most addictive game species Arkansas has to offer, but that doesn’t mean it’s time for the turkeys at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
In fact, now is the perfect time to help AGFC biologists keep an eye on this year’s breeding by participating in the annual wild turkey and bobwhite quail population survey.
These surveys have been conducted each spring for more than 30 years to monitor the breeding and population trends of wild turkeys and quail in Arkansas. Both species are relatively short-lived, making annual reproduction extremely important to the total population and hunting quality in the short and long term.
Traditionally, these surveys were conducted by AGFC staff and volunteers from partner organizations such as the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and county extension offices. However, with the increased ability to communicate with members of the general public about aging poults and increased enthusiasm for citizen science projects, the AGFC has opened up the surveys to any hunter or outdoor enthusiast concerned about conservationist eager to help keep an eye on Arkansas game. birds.
Jeremy Wood, AGFC’s turkey program coordinator, says he’s already seen lots of posts from hunters on social media with photos of poults from this year’s hatch, which is encouraging.
“We want to be able to capture this data so that we can continue to monitor the effects of our seasonal structure and habitat works taking place on private and public lands across the state,” Wood said. “We have seen an increase in public participation as concern over declining turkey numbers grows across the Southeast. The fight to save quails and turkeys is not a challenge that any one agency, or even a group of public agencies, can accomplish alone. It will take cooperation between hunters, private landowners and conservation-minded people to make a difference, and this is one way we can all come together to help.
Wood says photos and stories of young turkeys and quails are important, but that’s not all the investigation needs.
“We’re looking at trends in the ratios of hens to gobblers and hens to the number of poults with them,” Wood said. “We are also looking at the number of adult quails with chicks versus solitary birds. Just as with other statistical surveys, the more observations we get of all turkeys or quails, the more detailed and accurate we can be in our results.
Wood says the data shared in the survey will be generalized across counties or regions. Thus, hunters or other observers providing precise coordinates, can submit without fear of abandoning the goods at their favorite places or drawing too much attention to their personal hotspot.
“As a turkey hunter, I know how close to the vest you have to play, especially when it comes to public landbirds,” Wood said. “We only request and share data at the county level, but more specific location information, if you are willing to provide it, can be better used to estimate distribution and hopefully densities across the state in the future. These submissions are extremely valuable, and anyone who wishes to submit can benefit from the effort.
CLICK HERE to participate in the survey.
Choose the Annual Wild Turkey and Quail Population Survey option.
Participants can enter their information online via the website, on the AGFC mobile app under Wildlife Observations or download the Survey123 Field app to keep it handy on their phone to make reporting even easier when they are not covered by a cellular network.