For the first time, Oklahoma deer hunters can check in their deer online without having to take the animal to a hunter check station.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation debuted its online check station at the beginning of deer archery season, which opened Oct. 1.
Now, hunters can go to www.wildlifedepartment.com and click on the link at the top of the home page. Hunters must provide their last name, driver’s license or social security number, birth date and region where the animal was killed.
The hunter is then given a confirmation number. Hunters must attach that number to the animal which serves as the carcass tag.
Then the hunter can take the deer straight to a processing center without going to a hunter check station.
Deer, turkey and elk are the only animals that can be checked online.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation didn’t widely publicize the online check station before the archery season opened, wanting to first make sure that it was working properly.
But so far 150 deer have already been checked in online, said Micah Holmes of the state Wildlife Department.
Larry Manering, head of law enforcement for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, admits the online check station might make it more difficult for game wardens to catch offenders. But the convenience for honest hunters far outweighs the rare instances where a hunter check station has helped in identifying a wildlife violation, he said.
A meat processor is actually more likely to find wrongdoing than a hunter check station, Manering said.
“A good processor is more likely to do it than a check station,” Manering said. “He will be skinning a deer during archery season and a bullet fragement might fall out. That has happened before.”
Having an online check station also makes it easier for the agency’s deer biologists to collect and access information, Manering said.
“Other states are doing it (going online),” Manering said.
Biologists still check for chronic wasting disease from deer at hunter check stations, but even with the online option, Manering thinks most Oklahoma deer hunters will still use hunter check stations.