After consultation with the Alabama Legislature, the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board and Conservation Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. have agreed to a legislative amendment, which will give hunters additional time to report their deer and turkey harvests under the new Game Check system.
Citing concerns from hunters about the proposed 24-hour deadline under Game Check for reporting deer and turkey harvests, Commissioner Guy and the Conservation Advisory Board approved a proposed amendment for a 72-hour deadline for Game Check to give hunters ample time to access one of the three methods of registering the harvests.
Those three methods available to register the harvests are online at www.outdooralabama.com, smart phones apps for iPhones and Android equipment and a toll-free telephone number, 1-800-888-7690.
“As a biologist, I certainly would have preferred 24 over 72 hours,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. “However, I understand we have to take small steps to make progress in the right direction. But here is what I ask of the hunters in the state. As we have always said, data gathering is the main purpose behind the Game Check system. Even though the regulation will be 72 hours, we are encouraging Alabama hunters to report their harvests as soon as possible so that we can get the most accurate data possible to make season and bag limit recommendations.”
Starting in 2007, hunters were required to keep a harvest record in their possession when deer or turkey hunting. The “Note It Before You Tote It” rule still applies for all hunters who harvest a deer or turkey. The harvest must be recorded immediately after the harvest before moving the animal.
The new Game Check system is an addition to the deer and turkey harvest records. After recording the kill on the hard copy of the harvest record, to comply with Game Check, hunters will be required to enter their harvest into the DCNR harvest database within 72 hours.
Hunters will be required to enter their license number to access the database. For those hunters who are license exempt (over 65, under 16, resident landowners on their property), a free Hunter Exempt License Privilege (HELP) number can be obtained through the outdooralabama.com website or any place licenses are sold. The HELP number is good for the entire season.
“This is a great program, and in order for us to ensure that compliance with Game Check is as high as possible, Commissioner Guy and the Advisory Board were willing to compromise on the time deadline,” Sykes said.