Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Oklahoma Hunters Required to Check Deer Online

Hunters who take a deer this season in Oklahoma are required by law to check in their harvest using the online E-Check system at www.wildlifedepartment.com. Those who choose to break the law are risking hefty fines and the loss of their hunting or fishing privileges not only in Oklahoma, but also in most every other state in the nation.

"The Wildlife Department's law enforcement division is putting special emphasis on enforcing the requirement for hunters to check in their harvest," said Bill Hale, assistant chief of law enforcement. "This is a top priority for the Department.

"If you get caught not checking your harvest, the fine just for illegally possessing wildlife and the restitution could be in the thousands of dollars," Hale said. "And you would also be in violation of the E-Check requirements, which would add more in fines.

"Also, you could easily have your hunting licenses suspended if you are convicted of failing to use E-Check," Hale said. Oklahoma is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which means that anyone convicted here of a game law violation could lose hunting and fishing privileges in all 44 Compact member states.

State wildlife law requires anyone who takes a deer, elk, turkey or paddlefish to check in their harvest within 24 hours of leaving the hunting or fishing area, and in all cases prior to processing the carcass. Hunters and anglers, or anyone acting on their behalf, must go online to wildlifedepartment.com and check in their harvest using the E-Check system. Anyone with a computer, smartphone or mobile device with access to the Internet may use the E-Check system. To view a video on how to use the E-Check system, go to www.youtube.com/OutdoorOklahoma and search for "online checking."

The Wildlife Department converted to the E-Check system in 2013 because of the many benefits it has for the Department and for the state's hunters and anglers. Those benefits include:
  • Harvest information that hunters report via E-Check is important in helping Wildlife Department biologists make the best management decisions to safeguard the state's natural resources for current and future generations.
  • E-Check provides 24-hour convenience to sportsmen, saving them money by not having to find an open check station.
  • The Department saves money because it no longer must send biologists or technicians to physical check stations to collect data.
  • The online database allows for "real time" analysis of harvest numbers.
  • Instant searchable information aids efficiency in law enforcement activities.
  • Hunters get a confirmation number immediately, which is then used in field-tagging the animal.

But not only is E-Check beneficial to the sportsman and the Department, it's also the law, said Robert Fleenor, chief of law enforcement for the Wildlife Department.

"Evading E-Check might appear to be easy, but it's actually harder than ever to get away with it. The E-Check system provides immediate information, and it's searchable by our game wardens.

"Just don't take that risk of getting caught, having your license suspended, and having to pay what could be several thousand dollars in fines," Fleenor said.

"Anyone who does not check in their harvest is actually harming the resources that belong to you and me. This person could be jeopardizing the future for all hunters and outdoorsmen," Fleenor said. "If you know of someone who is not abiding by the law, please report it to us."

Report game law violations by calling Operation Game Thief toll-free at (800) 522-8039. Callers can remain anonymous and might be eligible for a cash reward if the violator is convicted. Reports can also be made to the Wildlife Department's law enforcement division at (405) 521-3719 or your local game warden.

Using the online E-Check system is easy. Go to wildlifedepartment.com, and click on
the E-Check link that is indicated by the red arrow in this screenshot.

The mission of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is the management of Oklahoma's wildlife resources and habitat to provide scientific, educational, aesthetic, economic and recreational benefits for present and future generations of hunters, anglers and others who appreciate wildlife.

News Contacts:
Don P. Brown, donald.brown@odwc.ok.gov
Micah Holmes, micah.holmes@odwc.ok.gov
Website: wildlifedepartment.com
Telephone: (405) 521-4632