Game Check Is Mandatory
With deer season right around the corner, hunters are beginning prep work so everything is just right and ready for opening day. Here’s something new to add to your preseason list… be prepared to report any deer you kill to DNR within 72 hours.
Not reporting your deer harvest—either by phone, website or through a smartphone app—is a misdemeanor hunting violation. This new mandatory reporting system is called Game Check.
Archery deer season in Georgia opens Sept. 10, and the statewide firearms deer season runs from Oct. 22 to Jan. 8.
Major Stephen Adams, of DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, said rangers are still educating hunters about the new requirement. However, deer season is technically the second season for the mandate, since it was required during the spring turkey season, so enforcement will be stepped up.
Compliance during turkey season wasn’t great—estimates are that only about 40 percent of gobblers were reported through the mandatory Game Check system.
If you have a smartphone and cellular service on your property, the simple way to be ready for Game Check is to download the Outdoors Georgia app. With the app, you won’t even need to carry a paper harvest record. Everything can be recorded and reported through the app. Hunters can also go paperless if they can access GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com through a phone, tablet or computer; however, remember that your kill must be recorded before the deer is moved.
“Not having cell service is not a defense for not having your harvest reported,” Major Adams said. “Hunters need to have a backup plan.”
Let’s say you don’t have a smartphone, or there’s not cellular service way back in the woods where you hunt. You are still required to record your harvest immediately on a paper harvest record if you can’t do it through the app or website. Hunters without cellular access should plan to carry their paper harvest record and a pen. Before moving a dead deer or turkey, the hunter must immediately record the date and county of the kill. A paper harvest record can be printed out just like your hunting license. The harvest record is free, and you must have one if you don’t have access to the app or if you can’t get to GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com from the woods. You can get a harvest record just like you get a hunting license—online at www.GoOutdoorsGeorgia.com, from retail license agents or by calling (800) 366-2661.
After recording your harvest on your paper harvest record, a hunter has 72 hours to report the harvest through Game Check. Have your SSN or DNR Customer ID ready, and call (800) 366-2661. 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.
Again, if you have the smartphone app, the recording and reporting can be completed in one step.
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