Alaskan Hunters who forgot to file their newly-required deer harvest reports this year have another chance. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has sent out a reminder form. Also, people who filed their report through the internet are being asked to file again on paper because of problems with the new online system.
All hunters who picked up deer tags last season were supposed to file the reports earlier this year, whether or not they actually bagged a deer. Less than half did so, according to Wildlife Biologist Karin McCoy.
“Statewide there’s about 20 thousand hunters roughly that get deer harvest tickets. And as an initial response about 40 percent have responded so far. So not quite as high as, you know, we had hoped. But, you know, its not a bad start for our first year and not too far below what we’ve done before with our random survey for the initial contact,” McCoy says.
In past years, the State sent out a random, voluntary survey to estimate effort and harvest. The Alaska Board of Game replaced that with the new reporting requirement for all deer hunters in Alaska starting this past season. Hunters could fill out the paper harvest report form that came with their deer tags, or they could report with the new online system.
About 12 percent of respondents filed online and McCoy says the instructions could have been better, “We did get some feedback that there was some confusion with the online reporting and I think that largely has to do with not as many directions as we could have provided to them. So we’re hoping to correct that next year and be much more clear in exactly what they need to do with online reporting and to improve that system to make it more user friendly.”
The department is asking those who filed online this year to report again using the paper form they get in the mail. That’s in order to help check the accuracy of the new system and make sure all their data was recorded. McCoy says the harvest information is an important management tool.
“This deer harvest data is really one of our fundamental ways of tracking whats going on with deer populations. Not only does it allow us to estimate deer harvest but it allows us to look at hunter effort and success to try and get an idea of what fluctuations might be happening with the deer populations out in the field. And that data is very important for the board of game and the federal subsistence board in helping to make decisions on setting seasons and bag limits when those questions come up,” she says.
Deer hunters can expect to receive a new harvest report form in the mail soon.