Mandatory game check in effect for hunters

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016


Chuck Sykes, Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries in Alabama, gave a presentation Monday at the Alabama Power convention center.

The presentation was about the new regulation this year requiring hunters to do a game check within 48 hours of their harvest.

Sykes showed pictures of massive game he had hunted in other states – all of which had reporting systems – and claimed that their animal populations were better cared for because of these systems.

“Alabama was one of only three states without a reporting system. As a biologist, this is embarrassing,” said Sykes, who was formerly a biologist by trade.

Sykes asked the room what percentage of the population they would guess has a hunting license in Alabama. Guesses ranged from 20 to 40 percent, but the shocking truth is that only 3.7 percent of Alabamians buy a hunting license.

He went on to explain that these licenses are how the WFF gets access to most of its budget. The WFF funds from sales of licenses at a state level are matched threefold by federal dollars. Sykes stressed the impact that poor license sales have on the WFF, citing a 30 year low in employed officers as one effect.

With the goal of selling more licenses and better managing the wildlife population in Alabama, there is a new game check system in place.

The system works through mobile apps, online or by telephone. The mobile app will work in the field, even without cell signal, and will drastically cut time spent filling out forms.

Sykes reported that his department conducted a poll among hunters to get their opinions on mandatory reporting. The results were that 54 percent supported it and only 23 percent were opposed.

Among those hunters and outdoorsmen in attendance, not one person made known their opposition to the new regulation.

“Everybody that loves the outdoors needs to get on board with it,” said Richard Headley.

Others believed this program will make it easier to keep up with necessary information, and using technology may be inviting to some who have never hunted.

“They’ve got to do something to get the younger ones involved,” said Hank Peterson.

The app can be downloaded for Apple and Android devices through their native app stores. Users can also do a game check online at the Outdoor Alabama website. Hunters will be able to obtain a unique, six-digit permanent ID for use with the game check system, purchasing licenses and accessing harvest records.

To read more about the changes, go to