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Electronic Check Stations Not Far Off


A long held tradition in West Virginia is about to take a step into the 21st Century.   The House of Delegates on Friday gave final approval to legislation allowing for the electronic checking of game in West Virginia.

The bill opens the door for the DNR to explore ways to take the checking stations to cyber space.

"It gives us the permission to explore this possibility," said DNR Director Frank Jezioro. "I would like to see us have the ability to do it a couple of ways, either by telephone or by computer."

Jezioro says such technology would enable a hunter to check his deer, bear, or turkey from the moment it hits the ground in West Virginia–depending on cell service.    The technology is already available in other states, but finding the best way to make it fit in West Virginia and at an affordable price are now the challenges for the DNR.

"Preliminary estimates from people we’ve talked to are $250 to $300 thousand to implement a system," Jezioro said. "If, say, on opening day, when you would check in 20,000 deer, the system has to be set up so that it wouldn’t crash."

The cost may be worth the reward.   Biologists would receive more instant data and it would represent a huge convenience to hunters as the number of checking stations across the state dwindles.

"We’re finding fewer and fewer of the Mom and Pop check stations.  People are finding it harder to check in their animals," said Jezioro. "Gasoline is $3.50 or $4.00 a gallon, it’s certainly more economical and hopefully we’ll get a better result if people don’t have to drive all over creation at night looking for a checking station." 

The DNR has experience with on-line work.  The state’s internet license sales are the envy of wildlife agencies across the nation.  The system wasn’t set up by a high dollar out-of-state internet services company.   A handful of highly motivated DNR employees put their heads together and developed the license sales system in the basement of the DNR building at the capitol.    They may have found their next challenge. 


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