Technology has irreversibly changed nearly every aspect of modern civilization and our daily lives. Some of us have a love/hate relationship with technology, resisting some of the trappings of being plugged-in, while embracing others. As I write this, I find myself thinking about the irony of now welcoming the very technology we often seek to avoid (or at least to take a break from temporarily) when we go about “de-stressing” ourselves by spending time in the natural world.
This issue of the Digest announces two major technological advances that will enhance enjoyment and participation in hunting, fishing and every other outdoor experience in New Jersey. Hunters who harvest a deer this year will have no choice but to accept one of those advances, the Automated Harvest Report System. Hunters can choose not to embrace the other advance, the new smartphone app known as the New Jersey Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Pocket Ranger® App, but it is such a powerful and convenient information resource that it just might convert even the most hardcore of technophobes.
The Automated Harvest Report System was successfully unveiled for reporting Winter Bow deer harvests at the beginning of 2012. The Automated Harvest Report System is now fully implemented and replaces the physical deer check station with a virtual one where hunters report all deer harvested either by phone or online. For hunters, reporting deer through the automated system means no more searching for open check stations or waiting in line to check a deer after a long day of hunting. The automated system will also reduce the reporting cost per deer by more than 50%, will free up biologists’ time for other important deer management work and will provide Fish and Wildlife with instant access to deer harvest data. It also benefits our law enforcement efforts, as all patrol vehicles will be equipped with computers to enable easy data look-up in real-time.
The other technological advance we are excited to announce is the new smartphone app for fish and wildlife-related recreation in New Jersey. This free New Jersey Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Pocket Ranger® App is jammed solid with information on places to hunt, fish and watch wildlife along with information and photos for game and nongame species plus both freshwater and marine fish.
Hunters will especially appreciate easy access to licensing and permit information, wildlife management areas, season regulations, GPS mapping features and community boards where harvest photos and discussions about experiences in the field can be shared. Developed by the same company that created the New Jersey State Parks and Forests Pocket Ranger® App, users will be able to access information seamlessly from whichever app they are currently using. If you are on the fence about wanting or needing a smartphone, the New Jersey Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Pocket Ranger® App may very well be the nudge you’ve needed to “go techno.”
As you prepare for another year of fabulous New Jersey hunting opportunities, please take the time to learn more about our Automated Harvest Report System and the smartphone app through the information contained in this Digest issue. It is our hope that both will help our residents and visitors spend more meaningful time in the outdoors enjoying all of New Jersey’s open spaces and abundant fish and wildlife resources.
Dave Chanda is the Director of the Division of Fish & Wildlife.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.