Mississippi hunters who bag a gobbler this spring will be more engaged than ever in ensuring the future of Mississippi’s turkey flock.
Beginning with the 2019 season, all turkey hunters are required to report their harvests to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks by 10 p.m. on the day the turkey is harvested.
The new MDWFP Game Check system provides hunters with three available options to report their bird: the MDWFP hunting and fishing smartphone app, www.mdwfp.com/gamecheck, or by calling 1-800-BE-SMART.
“Game Check is going to give us information that we have never had before, including county-specific harvest numbers,” said MDWFP Wild Turkey Biologist Adam Butler. “Over time, the trends we will see through Game Check data will allow MDWFP to make more informed decisions, which will, in turn, translate into better management of turkey populations.”
Hunters should be prepared to begin the Game Check process before moving their bird from the harvest location. For hunters who choose to take advantage of the smartphone app, the entire reporting process will be completed before leaving the woods, even if the user is without cellular coverage.
“We strongly encourage hunters to take advantage of the MDWFP hunting and fishing app if they have a smartphone,” Butler said. “It’s a one-stop-shop for harvest reporting.”
Hunters not using the mobile app will need a paper harvest reporting record. They will use this to document their harvests while in the field and then complete the harvest reporting process later in the day by logging into the website or calling the reporting hotline.
Harvest reporting has broad support among Mississippi’s 45,000 licensed turkey hunters. Surveys show more than 75 percent of this group favors such a system. The approach should be familiar to hunters who have hunted turkey outside the Magnolia State. MDWFP officials modeled Game Check from the process used in other states, specifically Alabama’s recent adoption of harvest reporting in 2016.
The MDWFP hunting and fishing app is free from the Apple or Android store. A standard, downloadable MDWFP harvest record is available from the MDWFP website, or the hunter may choose to create their own.
Courtesy of Warren Strain, Communication Director with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks