Game check made voluntaryPublished 5:25pm Friday, October 4, 2013
The state conservation department has pulled a reversal with its new game check system, withdrawing mandatory compliance with the new regulation.
Participation with the Alabama Game Check System is now voluntary and will go into Oct. 15, 2013 with the start of bow hunting season.
As it previously stood, hunters were required to report kills of deer and turkey through Alabama Game Check database within 24 hours of the kill by smartphone, phone call or computer and receive a confirmation number for each harvest.
The conservation department would then use the harvest data to determine the impact hunting has on the wildlife population, which in turn would help the department make accurate season and bag limit recommendations.
Woody Baird, owner of The Sure Shot, who supports the game check system said the reversal of the system being mandatory has created confusion among game wardens and set the progressive program back.
“Now, we’re not anywhere. If people don’t want to do it, they’re not going to have to do it, so it’s a waste of time,” Baird said. “Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent to get this program up and running. It would behoove people in the state of Alabama to go ahead and do this so that the state can get those numbers and find out exactly what kind of impact the deer hunting is or isn’t having on the state.”
Baird said the conservation department previously relied on surveys.
“Every year, the state will send out about 10,000 surveys to deer hunters, but they only get about 1,500 of those back and that’s what they’ve been basing their numbers on forever,” Baird said.
Baird said the Game Check database would have given a more accurate assessment of the deer population than the surveys.
Baird added that making the system mandatory was good because previously hunters were only allowed to harvest three antlered deer, but some simply reprint their license and not report kills because there was no way to prove it.
Mandatory participation would have forced hunters to report the kills in order to get a confirmation number or risk facing a fine.
Deer processors would also have to provide a confirmation number provided by hunters of any deer killed or also risk a fine.
“They should have just stuck it out with the new system and gone on through this year a little lenient, then next year, we started enforcing harder and be way ahead of the game,” Baird said. “Right now, we’re right back in the same hole and have not progressed at all.”