Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Arkansas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Arkansas Project

Mallard Satellite Telemetry

May 2009 - June 2011


Participating Agencies

  • University of Arkansas
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) harvest in Arkansas peaked in the late 1990’s and has declined since. With that decline came an increase in Arkansas hunter concerns over the number and location of fall and wintering mallards. Arkansas hunters felt that mallard availability has declined because of changes in fall migration rates and wintering locations. Too, the derivation of mallards being shot in Arkansas may have shifted with the recent large-scale changes in land use in the prairie pothole region of Canada. Such a shift in derivation could also explain changes in mallard availability. In response to these hunter concerns and questions, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC) began a long-term satellite telemetry project on mallards in 2004. From 28–53 mallards per year (2004-2007) were marked in Arkansas during either the fall or late winter with satellite transmitters (platform transmitting terminals or PTTs). During 2004–2007, the PTT locations were accurate to something less than 1 km. With 174 mallards now marked, I will begin analyses of movements and distributions for this sample. OBJECTIVES: Four objectives were established by the AGFC: 1) Track movements and distribution of migrating mallards in spring. Describe habitat characteristics of principle spring staging areas, nesting areas and post-nesting areas of adult female mallards migrating from. 2) Determine use of spring migration corridors (e.g. Mississippi Flyway or Central Flyway), spring staging areas, nesting areas and post-nesting dispersal relative to habitat conditions. 3) Track movements and distribution of migrating mallards in fall as data allows. If possible, determine proportionate use of fall migration corridors, staging areas and dispersal relative to habitat conditions. 4) Track movements and determine distribution and habitat use within Arkansas as data allows.