Many hunters have already experienced the convenience of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Check Station Web Portal, which allows sportsmen to check in their harvested deer, turkey and elk electronically. It is simple and fast, requiring only a computer or mobile device with Internet access.
Hunters can print a carcass tag from a printer or simply write their confirmation number on the field tag that they made when they harvested the animal.
“Any computer or cell phone with internet access can be a check station,” said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Wildlife Department. “The online method is both convenient and economical.”
According to Holmes, being able to check in a deer 24 hours a day and seven days a week is a value in itself, since not having to transport their animal to a physical check station means they can save on automobile fuel expenses and start cooling the meat from their animal almost immediately. Additionally, a hunter who checks an animal online will not have to worry about his or her personal information, since data entered online goes straight to a secure server. There also is potential for hunters to query the online database and view their past deer, elk, or turkey entries.
The online check system was first implemented during the 2009 deer season, and over 17,000 hunters experienced the ease of the new system. That number almost doubled in 2010 with over 30,000 hunters checking in almost 40,000 deer electronically.
Those without Internet access can still check in their animal at the nearest hunter check station, or have a friend or relative with Internet access check in the animal for them and provide the confirmation number to be used on the field tag.
Not only is the online check station economical and convenient for the hunters, but it also saves the Wildlife Department time and money. Physical check stations require a minimum of five visits by a biologist or technician each year. Department employees spend over 200 man-hours editing check station books by correcting mistakes and illegible handwriting. The instant data provided through the online check system allows biologist and game wardens to quickly access information. The online database also allows for “real-time” analysis of harvest numbers.
The online system also helps the Wildlife Department enforce wildlife laws.
David Clay, game warden stationed in Osage County, was able to make two cases in 2010 using the online system. Two illegal hunters used hunting license numbers other than their own to check in deer they had illegally harvested. Both subjects pled guilty and paid $1,500 in fines and costs.
Current physical check stations can continue providing a service to sportsmen by offering Internet access at their locations, and some have already made the switch.
“It’s great,” said Gloria Bishop from the OC Corner Mart in Keota. “We don’t have to write anything, and I think it is even faster than the old book. Hunters come in to check their deer and they can still get their deer weighed and picture taken if they want to. We’ve found it just easier all around.”
To check in a deer, elk or turkey online, log on to wildlifedepartment.com and follow the link on the homepage to the “Online Check Station.”