Help guide future work on the habitat of Arkansas quail and turkey populations | KLRT
PETIT ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Game and Fish Commission) – Breaking triple-digit temperatures may inspire many outdoor enthusiasts to resume their hiking, biking, and camping adventures, and many hunters’ minds are already centered on the improvements they can make to their favorite hunting spot or looking for a new audience. land for the fall. If you happen to scare a flock of quail or see a turkey during your adventures, the AGFC wants to know.
Both turkey and quail sightings can be entered into the AGFC’s Annual Wild Turkey and Quail Population Survey, which is available via the website at www.agfc.com/turkeysurvey or via the AGFC smartphone app. (Download the iPhone app here or Download the Android app here.)
In addition to helping biologists assess the hatch, participation in the survey can guide future habitat work on public and private lands, particularly with surveys of quail response.
Clint Johnson, AGFC Quail program coordinator, said a focus on location accuracy is extremely important when reporting quail coveys and hens with quail chicks.
“Quail populations are a bit more patchy across the state than turkeys,” Johnson said. “Quail can be found in every county in the state, but some areas have healthier populations than others. We want to identify these patches and focus our habitat efforts to strengthen them. The data will also help us verify any population increases in areas where habitat work has taken place to show us that we are on the right track.
Jeremy Wood, AGFC Turkey program coordinator, said the data shared in the survey will be generalized across counties or regions. Thus, hunters or other observers providing specific coordinates can submit without fear of revealing their personal access point.
“I’m also a turkey hunter, and I know how quiet it takes to keep a good place a secret,” Wood said. “We only need and share location data at the county level, but the better the specific location information people are willing to provide, the better it can be used to focus our conservation efforts.”
Wood added that the increased data on turkey information can show biologists possible gaps where good habitat may exist, but the birds haven’t figured out how to make the best use of it.
“The data we have collected so far through the survey is a good start, but only 240 to 250 participants are contributing to the effort, and a good number of them are AGFC employees and d ‘other agencies reporting while working in other capacities,” Wood said. “That’s less than one percent of the current estimates of turkey hunters in Arkansas. If we could get even one percent (more would be better) of our hunters to report the quails and turkeys they see from June to August, that would increase our data dramatically. It only takes a minute or two to report via your phone or computer, and it will make a big difference in our conservation efforts.