Dec. 12, 2018
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK – Hunters can help the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission with wildlife management efforts through the AGFC’s free Deer Hunting Observation Survey available through the AGFC app on their smartphone. The app is available through both the iTunes app store and the Google Play store.
The mobile survey quickly allows hunters to record sightings of game species such as deer, bear, quail, turkey, and furbearers and also nongame species such as feral hogs while hunting.
Blake Sasse, Nongame Mammal Program Coordinator for the AGFC, says hunter observation survey has been used since 2004; however, the process went completely electronic in 2014. Originally the AGFC ran the program through the Arkansas Bowhunters Association, asking them to fill out a data sheet recording hours hunted and how many animals they saw. The AGFC app makes the data entry much easier for the array of animals being surveyed and also provides for a cleaner collection of information.
“We use that information to help track trends in populations in the species,” Sasse said. “With deer we go into a little more depth, such as ratio of bucks to does, antlers of various sizes for bucks. … It’s definitely part of the long-term monitoring program for all of these species.”
In addition to hunter observation data, the AGFC deer program receives biological data collected from approximately 700 Deer Management Assistance Program clubs across the state; from statewide incidental deer observations collected by AGFC employees, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Forest Service within the months of August and September; and from hunter harvest data. All of this is analyzed in order to make decisions on deer management by deer zone.