Game Check was implemented this year by the Alabama department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Under the program deer and turkey hunters report their game taken in the state.
Originally, Game Check was to be mandatory within 24 hours of taking a deer or turkey. In early September, Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr., along with the Conservation Advisory Board, lengthened the reporting time to 72 hours. A week later, the Game Check program reporting was reduced to voluntary.
Under the reporting program, hunters report the type of game taken, deer or turkey, the county harvested and the date. This information provides valuable data for the biologists across the state to make informed decisions on game management and hunting regulations.
Chuck Sykes, director of the Wildlife and Fresh Water Fisheries Division had hoped the Game Check program would remain mandatory. However, he is optimistic that hunters around the state will do the right thing and report their harvest in a timely manner. The data reported will assist in managing the state’s deer and turkey populations.
At the introduction of the program there were many rumors and false information circulation about the whys and wherefores. There is no additional costs to the hunter involved in the program. Game Check is funded from the budget of the ADCNR. In fact, other than a small increase in the Consumer Price Index, which was approved by the State Legislature, there have been only five increases in resident licenses in the department’s 106 year history.
It is important for hunters to report their deer and turkey harvest to the Game Check program. Hunting in Alabama is a $1.2-billion industry providing thousands of jobs statewide. The data collected under the program will help to keep the wildlife populations healthy and in balance for future generations.
Also, the data gathered is available to anyone. Folks can visit www.outdooralabama.com and view the same information that WFF personnel have access to. Since the data reported is in real time, biologists and hunters can see the progress throughout the season.
Reporting your harvest is simple and quick. There are three methods for reporting game harvests. Smart-phone users can download a free app for iPhone or Android devices. Or you can log on to www.outdooralabama.com and click on the Game Check logo. Also, hunters can call toll free 1-800-888-7690 and follow the prompts. Bucks, does and gobblers are the only game that is reported for the Game Check.
Some hunters may be reluctant to report their harvest. However, the data is obtained is only used for the management of wildlife for biologists to make wise decisions. Report your harvest as soon as practical lest you forget. The data you provide today will help future generations of hunters.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com.