SHERIDAN — Hunters will spend less time at check stations thanks to a new app the Wyoming Game and Fish Department began using this year.
WGFD public outreach specialist Sara DiRienzo said the mobile app is designed to help wildlife managers quickly collect information from hunters by scanning a QR code.
The QR code is new this year to licenses and will also be located on the carcass coupon. WGFD wildlife managers can scan either code to receive information on the hunter such as name, hunting license number and the area where the animal was harvested.
The app also leaves less room for error, like with lengthy hunting license numbers, as it eliminates copying over information by hand to a check station sheet. The app doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet or require cellphone service to work.
This also speeds things up when wildlife managers aren’t in the field.
“The app allows us to quickly scan that information from a person’s license in and then we can add any of the extra information that we collect at the check station just right into our database quickly,” DiRienzo said.
Officials are able to record extra information like age, sex and antler width of the wildlife.
WGFD Sheridan region public information specialist Bud Stewart said the app went out in September during archery season, but wildlife managers have really had an opportunity to use it starting Oct. 1, when firearm season opened.
“It’s just made things much quicker,” Stewart said.
Speeding up the process at check stations isn’t the only goal of the app; DiRienzo said they hope the quicker process encourages more hunters to stop at check stations.
“It’s the hunter’s ethical responsibility and it’s the law that they should stop at the check stations, even if they haven’t harvested anything,” DiRienzo said. “…But lots of people don’t stop.”
Stewart said he hasn’t noticed any change in the number of hunters who have stopped.
The app can be used outside of check stations as well. Because it’s on the wildlife manager’s phone or tablet, it can be used anywhere they see an animal to conduct a field check.
So far, Stewart said the app has worked without glitches that are normally expected during the rollout of new technological tools.
“I think for the most part everybody’s pretty happy with it,” Stewart said. “It seems to work well and just saves us a lot of pencil time.”
Moose, deer and elk hunters can also expect to be asked for a voluntary chronic wasting disease sample from harvested animals at check stations, which only takes five to 10 minutes. The samples are part of WGFD’s CWD surveillance program.
WGFD is trying to collect more CWD samples this year to understand and map out CWD prevalence rates throughout the state. Hunters who submit samples can check the test results two to three weeks later on WGFD’s website.
“We wouldn’t otherwise be able to collect that volume of information if it wasn’t for hunters,” DiRienzo said. “So we’re really appreciative when they let us take a sample and it just gives us a greater wealth of information.”