LITTLE ROCK – To make it more convenient for hunters to report the activities of wildlife observed in the state, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has developed an electronic hunter observation form. The form is available on the AGFC’s smartphone app.
Beginning in 2004, Arkansas bow hunters started collecting statewide observation data for a variety of species including deer, turkey, bear, furbearers, quail and feral hogs. Data collections have been conducted by issuing hunters an observation booklet to record their data. After compiling the information, observers would mail the booklet to AGFC for data entry.
According to AGFC Deer Program Coordinator Cory Gray, the process has been streamlined and now provides real-time data. “The advancement will allow us to have instantaneous data on what folks are seeing in the field as they carry on with their deer hunting season,” Gray said. “In addition to making it easier for the hunters to record their wildlife observations, this app enhancement will also save the AGFC funds associated with printing, postage and administrative time,” Gray added. There is no cost to hunters for this project.
The data received from the form provides estimates on sex ratios, fawn to doe ratios, deer density and buck antler structure, Gray explained. “It is important in monitoring harvest strategies and providing additional pieces to the puzzles regarding the deer herd. We encourage hunters to participate,” he said. “We hope to continue to utilize advances in technology to aid hunters and mangers in collecting data to make informed deer management decisions.”
The AGFC app will store the data if the signal cannot be maintained and then uploaded once a sufficient signal is achieved.