WRD’s Game Check will receive a partial face-lift prior to Georgia’s spring gobbler season, a change that will help streamline the “Recording” and “Reporting” process for hunters who use DNR’s smartphone app “Outdoors Georgia.” This change will carry over into the 2017-18 deer season and be a welcome assistance to hunters wishing to drop their deer off at deer processors.
Game Check was implemented last turkey season and requires that all Georgia hunters who kill a deer or turkey complete a two-step process: One, immediately record the harvest of that animal before it’s ever moved from the woods; two, report that harvested animal to DNR within 72 hours. Deer or turkey must be reported to DNR by the Outdoors Georgia app, a phone call or by a computer or tablet with internet.
According to last month’s GON VOTES survey, 47 percent ranked their Game Check experience as either excellent or good. Keep in perspective that 21 percent of respondents in the survey didn’t kill a deer and have a chance to try out Game Check.
“We have heard mostly positive feedback,” said Jenifer Hancock Wisniewski, WRD’s Marketing and Communications Manager.
However, as is the case with new things, the first deer season with Game Check in play did experience some proverbial bumps into the furniture.
“One piece of customer feedback we kept hearing was ‘How do we report our harvest without any cell service?’” said Jenifer.
Although hunters legally had 72 hours to report their harvest to DNR, a big roadblock came when a deer hunter showed up at a deer processor with a freshly killed deer. If that hunter hadn’t reported their kill and received a confirmation number, they were turned away.
“You are supposed to have a confirmation number for a hunter to drop off a deer,” said Jenifer.
That was an obvious problem since some hunters found themselves with no cell service and couldn’t report their kill. They either had to hunt up cell service or their own skinning rack. However, for cell-phone savvy hunters who use the Outdoors Georgia phone app, this problem is fixing to be solved.
“We worked to come up with a solution… with the app, starting this turkey season, you will be able to check game without cell service and get a confirmation number,” said Jenifer. “Once your cell phone gets back into service, it will sync with your license.”
Although this change won’t mean near as much to turkey hunters—since there are no turkey-processing places—it will make dropping a deer off in the fall much easier for those using the app.
This is great news for some hunters, but what are the options for hunters not having the app… or even a cell phone at all. What do those hunters do if they want to take a deer to a deer cooler?
“A hunter can either ride down the road and get cell service, or use the 1-800 number from a land line or use a computer hooked up to the internet. There are options for sure here,” said Jenifer.
Smartphone hunters without the app can still log onto their phones at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com or call (800) 366-2661 to report their kills. Jenifer said that going to GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com has been the most popular reporting method. She also added that online is much faster and easier than calling the 800 number.
“The time savings is significant. It takes about two minutes to check online or through the app. It takes at least five minutes to do it through the robo call 1-800 number. Still pretty quick, but not as fast,” said Jenifer.
If you prefer as old school as you can get—and there’s nothing wrong with that—get a paper harvest record from GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com. Before moving a deer or turkey, just record the harvest with a pen. Then within 72 hours, you’ll need or report the harvest to DNR by calling (800) 366-2661 or by going online to GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com.