Alabama Conservation Department: Game Check Now Voluntary
Montgomery, Ala. — New hunting regulations that drew criticism earlier this summer have been changed. The regulations require hunters to report their harvest whenever they kill turkey or deer in Alabama, on private or public hunting land.
Conservation Commissioner N Gunter Guy, Jr. and the Conservation Advisory Board, has decided to withdraw the mandatory Game Check regulation and implement voluntary compliance. The Game Check system will still be effective Oct. 15, 2013, for the first day of archery season. CAB Chairman Dan Moultrie said, “We are confident that the hunters in Alabama will comply with the Game Check reporting system on a voluntary basis this first year because they know the importance of the information gained through this process.”
The biological data gained through harvest reporting will provide the Conservation Department with invaluable information on a county-by-county basis. “As a biologist, I know we must have harvest data in order to make accurate season and bag limit recommendations,” said Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Director Chuck Sykes. “After traveling the state for the past nine months and talking to hunters at town hall style meetings, I am confident that the hunters of the state understand that the motives of Game Check are pure. Once hunters understand that the data gained through Game Check will be available in almost real time to them as well as the Department, they get excited about the possibilities.”
All the organizations that supported the Department and the Game Check program (National Wild Turkey Federation, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Buckmasters, Alabama Dog Hunters Association, Alabama Bow Hunters Association, Alabama Bass Trail, Alabama Black Belt Land Brokers Association, Alabama Deer Association and the ALFA Wildlife Board) are anxiously awaiting the data generated during the first year of Game Check. “It is impossible to make informed decisions about the management of game populations without accurate and up-to-date information. Every important decision we make in our life is based on data. If the sportsmen and sportswomen of Alabama want to have the best decisions made concerning the management of the states deer and turkey, they need the Game Check information,” said Dr. Steve Ditchkoff, Ireland professor, Auburn University, and one of the nation’s leading white-tailed deer experts.
Commissioner Guy indicated through his research that approximately 35 other states have similar reporting systems. “I’ve looked at all 50 states in regards to their harvest reporting systems.” Guy said. “We know our hunters want the Department to have the best information available to make management decisions and Game Check is going to be a valuable piece to the puzzle. Those other states may have gotten a head start on the reporting system, but we are catching up quickly.”
The Conservation Department urges hunters to voluntarily report deer and turkey harvests through the Game Check reporting system. Hunters have three ways to report their harvests: an Outdoor Alabama app for iPhone and Droid smart phones, online at www.outdooralabama.com, or by phone at 1-800-888-7690.