Electronic Game Checking

I’m a bit of a technology geek.  Ok, maybe that is an understatement.  I have worked in the technology arena for going on thirty years now (wow, I suddenly feel old) but I never really considered how technology would change my hunting experience.  I mean, sure, I have used GPS technology, range finders, etc….

Ok, so I am wrong, I knew technology would have an impact.  So, when this latest technological advance came to my home state, I was thrilled.

For years the process has been the same for large game such as deer or bear here in West Virginia.  After the kill, the hunter places a field tag on the carcass and then transports it to one of many game checking stations throughout the state so that the Department of Natural Resources has a record on file.

But in 2016, there’s a change…

Beginning back in April, hunters and trappers now have the option to check in their game from their phones or computers.

“Those hunters who still like to talk directly to someone about their hunting experiences can stop by one of the approximately 180 official license agents and check in their game,” said Division of Natural Resources Director Bob Fala. “However, they no longer have to bring the animal in with them. What doesn’t change is that hunters and trappers still have to follow the time, field tagging and transportation restrictions as listed in the regulations.”

How electronic game check works

To check game in by phone by calling 844-WVCHECK, hunters and trappers will have to know their unique DNR ID number, which is valid for their lifetime. That number will be printed on the top of the license for those who buy a license each year. Lifetime license holders will need to log in to the system at wvhunt.com to obtain their DNR ID number, which has already been assigned to them. Landowners and those who don’t need a license (such as residents under the age of 15, resident hunters who turned 65 before Jan. 1, 2012, and former prisoners of war) can log on to the system and obtain their number. They also can visit a license agent or DNR district office to obtain their number.

Hunters and trappers also can check their game in by computer. Those logging in for the first time can set up an account, get their DNR ID number if they don’t have it already, and then check in their game.

When a hunter or trapper has completed the electronic game check process, they will be assigned a 13-digit number that confirms that the game has been checked in properly. That game check confirmation number must be written down on a field tag or a sheet of paper along with the other information required in the regulations.

Benefits of electronic check

Electronic game checking will benefit hunters and trappers in several ways. Hunters can hunt later in the day without worrying about driving around to find an open check station. This will also save hunters time, gas and wear-and-tear on their vehicles. If a hunter has cellphone coverage in the woods, he or she can check the game in over the phone and immediately dress and chill their game, helping to preserve the freshness of the meat.

Although the main reason for the change in the system is to help hunters, electronic game check also will benefit DNR personnel with their wildlife management duties. Biologists will be able to monitor big game kills each day instead of waiting until they have the time to visit hundreds of check stations throughout the state to pick up check tags. Not having to visit the check stations a minimum of three times a year will save the DNR hundreds of hours of personnel time and thousands of dollars in gasoline.

Electronic game check also means DNR personnel won’t have to spend hundreds of hours sorting and entering the check tags into the agency’s computer system for analysis.

From a law enforcement perspective, a Natural Resources Police Officer will be able to see if the person they are talking with has checked in their game.

The Electronic Game Check System is designed to be more efficient than the hand-written check tag system and more convenient for all concerned. Similar systems have proven successful and popular in other states.

To learn more or to obtain a DNR ID number, visit wvhunt.com or call a DNR office.

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