March 22, 2023
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — The latest cold snap may have postponed a few scouting trips, but many turkey hunters have already spent a few mornings scouting for this year’s longbeard. Complete a digital log of all your trips before and during your hunting season to help the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission monitor trends in Arkansas’s turkey landscape.
The Arkansas Turkey Hunting Survey has been in place since 2007 to gather information on hunter activity, gobbling activity, turkey observations and hunting success throughout turkey season. Volunteers record data from each hunt and send the results to be analyzed at the end of the hunting season. Biologists then compile all the data to identify trends in hunter participation and satisfaction and provide a report for all hunters to compare notes.
Jeremy Wood, AGFC Turkey Program coordinator, said the AGFC uses many other tools, such as remote recording surveys, surveys conducted by staff and checked harvest data to monitor these trends, but the addition of hunter observations can help fill gaps in data.
“With more observation data points, we can see a more complete picture and share how turkeys respond to changes in weather and hunting pressure,” Wood said. “We can track trends in gobbling activity, flock breakup and other factors that influence turkey hunting and turkey reproduction.”
Wood hopes all hunters interested in improving Arkansas’s turkey hunting take the time to download the survey’s smartphone app and share the details of their scouting and hunting experiences. Hunters can be confident that they won’t be giving away any of their secret spots when participating.
“We only ask for a general region of the state in the responses, but hunters can provide as specific of a location as they are willing to provide,” Wood said. “I’m a turkey hunter, so I’m extremely cognizant of how this information is used and shared. More pinpoint locations will be used to help inform models to estimate turkey habitat suitability and distribution, and any information shared will be generalized to the ecoregion rather than the specific location. The information also will be compiled after the season, so hunters who are hearing a lot of activity won’t suddenly have a bunch of new trucks running in the woods near them as a result of recording their observations.”
Visit www.agfc.com/turkeysurvey to participate in the Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey.
Turkeys: Hunters can help Arkansas's turkey population by recording all the turkeys they see during scouting trips as well as hunting and turning in a complete log through the Survey 123 app.
Hunter: Arkansas's turkey hunting season opens April 17.