ATHENS — Georgia wildlife officials are aiming to track the numbers of turkeys taken by hunters with some high-tech help.
This weekend is the opening of turkey hunting season in Georgia.
There is a three-gobbler limit per hunter in Georgia during the season, which runs through May 15. The state Department of Natural Resources expects to keep up with the numbers of turkeys taken through its new harvest regulations.
When a hunter kills a turkey, he or she is required to record information with the DNR showing the date of kill and the county, The Athens Banner-Herald reported.
Hunters will be able to use their cellphones to record their kills at the scene by using an app put in place by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Athens newspaper reported.
"We're trying to track the number of kills in Georgia," said DNR Ranger Capt. Stan Elrod of the East Central Region Office in Thomson. "It's a way of game management."
Elrod saw this happen during the past deer season as hunters were also required to register their harvest of deer and bear.
"I checked some hunters coming out of the woods and they had already checked their deer in," he told the newspaper. "They showed it to me. It's a quick and easy system."
If a hunter doesn't have a cell phone or phone service in the woods, they can register the kill within 72 hours over their computer or by calling a number provided on their hunting license. The DNR then gives them a confirmation number.
The harvest check is important for a couple of reasons, DNR Wildlife Biologist I.B. Parnell said.
"It gives us a real time check of when a harvest happens assuming that people are using it. When people are using it, we can know how many birds are harvested on a weekend of the season. We'd have no idea about that in the past," Parnell said.
All turkey hunters must have valid licenses. Wildlife officials remind hunters who may venture onto private lands in pursuit of turkeys to get landowner permission beforehand.
Legal guns and archery equipment for turkey hunting are shotguns, any muzzle-loading firearm, longbow, crossbow or compound bow.
Information from: Athens Banner-Herald, http://www.onlineathens.com