If the first year of online and phone-in options for hunters to report their harvested deer are any indication, it’s catching on fast.
“The initial response is it was well received as far as ease from the user’s standpoint,” said Chad Stewart, DNR’s deer management biologist. “I didn’t get any complaints on interface with the program. That’s a real credit to the people who designed it.
“As far as numbers, in going from the traditional check-in program to this, it takes time to get out of one mindset into another. I think we had around 40 percent check in online. For a first-year number, that’s pretty good.”
Until last season, hunters had to take their deer to a DNR-designated check station, a procedure that became mandatory statewide in 1981.
CheckIN Game was launched as a pilot program in the spring 2012 wild turkey season and expanded to include deer hunting last fall.
Almost 53,400 of the record 136,248 deer harvested in 2012 were reported using the CheckIN Game online system and another 700 used the phone-in option.
“I love it,” said Mark White of West Lebanon, who used CheckIN Game in the deer and turkey seasons. “It’s so much more convenient. I checked all of mine in on my smart phone before I left the field. It was much less hassle since I didn’t have to take the animal to a check station and then bring it back home to process. It’s difficult to load a deer into the truck several times just to be able to check it in. I’m a huge fan of CheckIN, and I hope it’s here to stay.”
Eli Eccles of Ellettsville is another CheckIN fan, in part because he does most of his hunting in Greene and Sullivan counties.
“I still like using a check station, but if you don’t get your deer until after the station is closed, the online check-in is a nice tool to have at your disposal,” Eccles said. “It saves you from having to wait until morning to check in a deer that you recover in the evening.
“I read a number of Indiana hunting forums, and I know a lot of folks were appreciative of the online option. It saved them a trip when they didn’t necessarily have a check-in station close to their hunting grounds.”
CheckIN Game (CheckINgame.dnr.IN.gov) is a free online system that allows hunters to check in their harvested game from any device that is connected to the Internet. Hunters who use the system receive a confirmation number that must be written on a temporary transportation tag. Currently, CheckIN Game is set up only for deer and turkey.
The phone-in option can be used by calling 1-800-419-1326. However, there is a $3 charge for this service (Visa or Mastercard only).
An instructional video on how to use the
CheckIN Game system can be found on the DNR’s YouTube channel at Youtube.com/idnrvideos.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.