CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Time will tell if the long months of planning on the Division of Natural Resources’ electronic game checking system will pay off.   The system has been up and running since January.  It’s been used for spring gobbler season, winter trapping, and the archery season this fall.   But next week the system will get quite a workout, particularly on Monday.  If it’s going to break, this will likely be the time.

So far so good.  I used the e-check for the first time when my daughter killed her deer during the antlerless hunting season a few weeks ago. I was impressed.  Once she had killed the deer and we found it, I called the number on my smart phone, 1-844-WVCHECK.  From there it asked me for my DNR I-D number and the last four digits of my (or in this case my daughter’s) Social Security Number.

From there, the commands were fairly straight forward.  Press 1 for this or 2 for that and key in the county in which it was killed.  All of the material was fairly simple until I got to the end.   I didn’t have a piece of paper and a pencil with me.  Make a note next week as you head out the door, grab something to write on and something to write with.

At the end of the phone call the computer will issue a 13 digit confirmation number.  You need to write it down.  The number will be your proof the animal has been properly checked in if you happen to run into the Natural Resources Police.  This will replace the old check tag and wire you were always given at the checking station in the old days.

Here’s where I made a mistake.  I had to transition from my telephone screen to the note pad screen and key the number into my phone.  During the process of rattling off numbers I was having to jump back and forth on screens.  Somehow amid doing all of that I apparently caused the entire process to start over.  I thought it had simply cancelled out so I went through the process again and this time realized if you press 1 the confirmation number will repeat as many times as you need it to repeat.

This week I logged into the DNR website with Savannah’s number and noticed we had in fact checked in TWO antlerless deer under her name.  The first one did not cancel out as I though.  I had duplicated the check in procedure.  I panicked realizing she only had one antlerless permit–and no doubt that would somehow be tracked down with the paper trail.

I had visions of a Natural Resources Police raid on my house and dragging her out kicking and screaming…..  Okay, admittedly that’s over the top, but she is quite the drama queen so if she were telling the story, chances are that’s how it would go down.

I called the DNR to report my mistake.  They told me I was only about the 200th person to do that and they have a procedure to correct the error.

I share the story with you, mostly because I wanted to write, “…dragging her out kicking and screaming…”   But also so when you are all juiced up about dropping that big buck next week you don’t make the same mistake.

Good luck and happy backstrapping in West Virginia.

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