By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor
RAINSVILLE, Ala. — For the first time in Alabama history, deer and turkey that are harvested this season are required to be reported to the state.
Hunters have 48 hours after a successful hunt to report the date, type of animal, sex, jake or gobbler, county, and if the hunt was on public or private lands.
The information can be sent in to the state one of three ways: through the Alabama Outdoor app, online, or by calling a toll-free number.
If a harvested animal is not reported, there could be a fine if caught.
DeKalb County Game Warden, Greg Elrod, discussed the changes with the Southern Torch.
“Starting this year, within 48 hours you’re gonna have to get a confirmation number from the state through the game check system,” Elrod said.
“There will be a fine if you don’t have a confirmation code from the state,” he said, “Which the fine is the least of our concern, we need the data from a biological standpoint.”
“It’s because we don’t have any way to know exactly how many deer and turkey are being harvested,” said Elrod, “we send out surveys to a small percentage of licensed hunters, and we only get about a 30 percent response on a small percentage of hunters anyway.”
“We were going to make it mandatory several years ago and we made it voluntary. Participation had declined every year on the voluntary system, and we were one of only three states that hadn’t made it mandatory,” he said.
While downloading the mobile app is not required, it can serve as your harvest record, and is the easiest way to report your harvest. Also, Elrod explained how it works in poor-service areas, where most of us hunt.
“If you don’t have service you can go ahead and put that information in,” said Elrod. “It will send as soon as you get a signal.”
When asked if the state was concerned with the deer or turkey population, Elrod explained: “It’s pretty stable. Deer season has been extended to February 10th statewide.”
“We’ve got to keep everything in balance,” Elrod added.