Any person harvesting a Georgia gobbler this spring will have to take an extra step when the bird stops flopping. The same rules will apply for any deer that hits the ground this coming fall.
For years, a segment of Georgia hunters have asked for a way to record and report turkeys and deer that are killed in the Peach State, and a system is now in place that will add a level of accountability for hunters and also give WRD biologists some pretty neat county-by-county harvest data. Georgia deer and turkey hunters will now have to immediately record and then report all kills to WRD within 72 hours. Under the new system, called “Game Check,” WRD is offering several methods for hunters to make this transition as painless as possible.
Harvest Records: First off, all hunters must have a harvest record (formerly called a “deer harvest record”). Harvest records can be obtained in the same manner as hunters currently purchase their licenses—online at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, from retail license agents or by calling (800) 366-2661. These harvest records are free, and any hunter—regardless of age or residency—must have one.
It’s important to note that during this transition period, hunters can be as completely low tech or as completely high tech as they want. Or, they can choose somewhere in the middle.
Low Tech: Hunters can still have a wallet full of paper licenses and their new harvest record if they choose. Before moving a deer or turkey carcass, immediately record—in the appropriate line of the harvest record—the date and county of the kill.
The take-away message for these hunters is to add a pen to your fanny pack when you go hunting.
After the kill is recorded, it must be reported to WRD within 72 hours. That reporting can be done several ways.
There is an online link to report harvest at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com. You can also report your harvest by phone at (800) 366-2661.
Hunters can also report deer and turkey harvest using the Outdoors Georgia app on a smartphone.
When you report your harvest, you will receive a confirmation number that must then be written on your paper harvest record to complete the process.
High Tech: Hunters will also be able to go entirely paperless, if they have a smartphone and can access GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com or the Outdoors Georgia app. This allows for all recording and reporting before a hunter ever leaves the woods with their game animal.
If a hunter is able to use this option, carrying a paper harvest record is not required.
A few additional things about Game Check:
- Hunters do not need to record or report deer taken on any WMA check-in hunt when those animals do not count against the statewide harvest limit. Just like past check-in hunts, these deer must be brought to the check station at the hunt location.
- Youth will be unable to print a “generic” harvest record from the website like they could in past years. All youth will need to go to GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com and set up a WRD username/password. From that point, they can print off their free harvest record.
- If you are license exempt (have a multi-year or lifetime license), the free harvest record may be obtained online at GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, from retail license agents or by telephone at (800) 366-2661.
• One thing about having every hunter reporting their kills is that the information will be readily available to the public. Updated harvest information will be provided on the WRD website beginning 72 hours after the seasons open.