You may need a camo case for your smart phone now. Last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation released a hunting app. It lets hunters report their yield right from their phone.
Hunting season is dependent on yield reporting. Ten years ago, hunters had to literally show the deer and permit to the Missouri Department of Conservation. Then the telecheck system allowed Missourians to call- or type-in their reports.
Now MDC researcher Jason Sumners says the app will make reporting yield to him far easier, which may mean higher reporting rates. “Anytime we get much higher compliance with reporting rates, it allows us to make a much better management recommendation. The data is much more reflective of the landscape,” Sumners said.
For example, the MDC reduced permits available to hunt antlerless deer this year based on telecheck data.
Sumners said telecheck data now comes in to his office the day the hunting season ends, rather than months. Hunters have to report their yields before 10 o'clock the night of animal is killed.
He added he’s excited about the app’s possibility for real-time data reporting capabilities.“The ability to have good harvest numbers allows us to at least predict or forecast what the regulation change may have on the population,” Sumners said.
The app’s project manager Joe Kirby says the more accurate his data is, the more accurate regulations for hunting can be. He said geolocation for the app may be in the future.
But Kirby said the app isn’t a replacement for a license or hunting permit yet
“There are a considerable number of legal hurdles and considerations on how you manage that process. So that will be a ways out before we get to that point,” he said.
Kirby added sharing telechecks on social media is also in the app’s future. That’s one way the MDC will make hunters like him to want to report their permits.
“ You know we want to see what other people have gotten. So being able to see that and how other people are faring and brag about how we’re doing. It always makes it more of a community even though you’re separated by miles,” he said.
One odd benefit of the app is seeing your permit’s history. Researcher Jason Sumners said that feature makes him nostalgic.
“It’s sort of a just a neat gee-oh-wiz thing that makes us reminisce about things that have happened in the past. There’s some intrigue to it that, hey, you know, there are all the deer that I’ve checked over the years,” he said.
The conservation department is looking to hear suggestions from hunters on how they can spend more time in the field, and less time reporting.