Call of the Wild (WSJCANC)


Participants will hear wild animal sounds and learn why animals call and vocalize. They will learn about calling devices and how wildlife biologists use them to monitor populations and how hunters use them to attract game.

Grade Level:

4 - 8

Recommended Setting:

Indoor or outdoor classroom

Outdoor Activity:



Witt Stephens Junior Central Arkansas Nature Center, Little Rock


Education Coordinator, 501-907-0636


45 minutes

Suggested Number of Participants:

10 - 30


  • Identify animal calls and calling devices.
  • Learn how animals communicate with sound.
  • Understand how biologists use animal calls to measure wildlife populations.
  • Learn how hunters use animal calls.


Key Terms*:

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC)

Amendment 75 of 1996




Carrying capacity

Central Arkansas Nature Center (CANC)


Gobble survey


Population monitoring

Population survey



Whistle counts

Wildlife biologist

*See glossary for definations


Charts and graphs from quail and turkey counts

Electronic calling devices

NWTF calling demonstration video

Hand-held calling devices


Wild animals communicate with sound and have vocalizations for different reasons. Some animals use them to locate a mate, defend territory, alert others to predators, hunt or simply let other animals know where they are.


  1. Introduce yourself and the CANC. Explain that it is owned and operated by AGFC and showcases the agency’s mission. Also tell how Amendment 75 of 1996 funds paid for the facility and allow free admission.
  2. Discuss the ways wild animals communicate and ask for examples. Tell them wild animals mix vocal calls, scents and signals to communicate.
  3. Show animal photos and use a mechanical sampling of vocalizations for each species shown.
  4. Discuss how animal sounds have different meanings and demonstrate assorted hand-held calls.
  5. Outline population monitoring within scientific wildlife management. Explain how wildlife biologists use gobble surveys (eastern wild turkey) and whistle counts (bobwhite quail) to collect data and gauge wildlife populations. Show charts and graphs compiled from these counts. Note that wildlife biologists compare wildlife populations with the carrying capacity of the land to determine management strategies.


Use the gobble survey and whistle count to create math lessons.


  • In addition to vocalizations, what are some other ways animals communicate? (scent, posturing or signaling)
  • What are additional ways wildlife biologists might monitor animal populations? (electronic tagging, trapping, visual counts, hunter surveys)


Arkansas Game and Fish Commission – the state agency responsible for managing fish and wildlife


Bark – a sharp, chattering call by squirrels to clear an area of predators and alert other squirrels of danger


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


Bugle – the “scream” sound made by bull elks to assemble cows or to warn other bulls


Carrying capacity – the amount of wildlife an area of land can sustain which varies with the amount of food, water and shelter available


Gobble survey – annual population count of wild turkeys made by wildlife biologists by listening for turkey gobbles in designated areas; estimates turkey populations in the spring


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


Snort – a loud “whoosh” sound 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


Population survey – a sampling method wildlife biologists use to estimate the number of a species in an area; can be done in many ways including vocalization counts, harvest data from hunting season, trap counts, visual counts


Vocalization – a sound made by a wild animal to communicate with other animals; have various meanings including social, mating, alarm, aggression


Whistle count – annual population count of northern bobwhite quail made by wildlife biologists by listening for the “bob white” whistle in designated areas; estimates quail populations in the spring


Wildlife biologist – a scientist who studies and manages wild animals