Call of the Wild (FLWCRNC)


Call of the Wild introduces participants to a variety of wild animal sounds and helps them understand why animals make calls and vocalize. Participants learn about calling devices and how wildlife biologists use them to monitor populations and hunters use them to attract game.

Grade Level:

4 - 12 (Program can be modified to suit the audience)

Recommended Setting:

Indoor or outdoor classroom

Outdoor Activity:



Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, Jonesboro


Education Program Coordinator, 870-933-6787


25 minutes

Suggested Number of Participants:

25 - 120

Special Conditions:

Must have a minimum of 25 students


  • Identify various animal calls.
  • Identify types of calling devices.
  • Learn how animals communicate with sounds.
  • Understand how biologists use animal calls to measure wildlife populations.
  • Learn how hunters use animal calls.

Key Terms*:





Carrying capacity


Gobble survey


Population monitoring



Whistle counts

Wildlife biologist

*See glossary for definations


Electronic calling devices

Hand-held calling devices


Wild animals communicate by using various vocalizations for different reasons. Animals may use sounds to locate a mate, defend territory, alert others to predators, hunt or let other animals know where they are.



1.   Discuss the ways wild animals communicate, and ask participants for examples. Discuss how wild animals use a mixture of vocal calls, scents and signals to communicate.

2.   Show some animal photos and mechanically illustrate the vocalizations for each species shown.

3.   Discuss how different animal sounds have different meanings and demonstrate assorted hand-held calls.

4.   Outline the basic concept of population monitoring within scientific wildlife management. Explain how wildlife biologists use gobble surveys (Eastern wild turkey), whistle counts (bobwhite quail) and other similar methods to gauge wildlife populations. Show examples of charts and graphs compiled from these counts. Note that wildlife biologists compare wildlife populations with the land’s carrying capacity to set management strategies.


Use the gobble survey and whistle count to create math lessons. (This program is suitable for many grade levels. Use age-appropriate vocabulary.)


  • In addition to vocalizations, what are other ways animals communicate?
  • What are additional ways wildlife biologists might monitor animal populations?



Wilson, Steven N. (1998). Arkansas Wildlife: A History. Fayetteville: The University of Arkansas Press.


AGFC – (Arkansas Game & Fish Commission) – the state agency responsible for managing fish and wildlife


Bark (vocalization) – sharp, chattering call by squirrels to clear an area of predators and alert other squirrels of danger; abrupt, harsh, explosive cry of a dog or other animal


Bleat – soft social call made by white-tailed deer does and fawns


Bugle – scream made by bull elks during the rut (breeding season) to assemble cows or to warn other bulls


Carrying capacity – amount of wildlife or fish an area of land or water can sustain which may be affected by available food, water and space


Gobble – throaty cry of a male turkey


Gobble survey – a biological survey of wild turkeys conducted by listening for turkey gobbles in designated areas to determine populations in the spring


Grunt – a low-pitched exhalation sound typically made by a white-tailed buck deer to a doe during the rut (breeding season)


Population monitoring – sampling method wildlife biologists use to estimate the number of species in an area by vocalization counts, harvest data from hunting season, trap counts, visual counts, etc.


Snort – loud “whoosh” made by white-tailed deer by exhaling air through their nostrils when alarmed, often made in succession; used to locate an unseen predator they have heard or smelled or to alert other deer of danger


Vocalization – sound made by an animal to socialize, mate, alarm or show aggression to other animals


Whistle count – annual population count of Northern Bobwhite Quail by listening for the characteristic whistle in designated areas and used to estimate quail populations in the spring


Wildlife biologist – scientist who studies and manages wild animals and their habitats