VIRGINIA IS almost into its autumn big game hunting seasons and this will be the first year that hunters cannot bring an animal they took to an authorized station to register the harvest and receive the traditional “game check” cards.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources recently reminded hunters (including those who are not required to purchase a license) that they must report their deer, turkey, bear, bobcat or elk harvest using the department’s mobile app, internet or telephone harvest reporting systems.
Last year, a hunter introduced me to the “eNotch” system, which doesn’t require you to carry a paper hunting license and big game tags. Instead, you have an “electronic” hunting license. You electronically “notch” your tag and register your kill. It was easy, taking about a minute.
To use eNotch, you first need a smartphone or tablet loaded with the Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app. After downloading your hunting license by touching the “My Licenses” tile on the mobile app home page, you are prompted to “Add A License” or “Add Another License.” You verify your identity, and an electronic copy of your current DWR-issued licenses loads into the app.
Hunters have had to notch an appropriate tag at the place of kill before removing the animal. Some locations might not have cell phone or internet service where the animal was taken. The DWR says this poses no problem. Hunters using the mobile app to report their harvest simply enter the required information into the app as soon as taking the animal and the app automatically uploads that information when service is available.
Now, I am somewhat “old school” and sometimes skeptical of technological changes that force me to change how I do business, like self-checkout systems at supermarkets or department stores.
There was a community spirit when people stopped by general stores or rural check stations to register an animal. While there, you might hear an interesting story about the big buck that was checked in that day or get some intel for the rest of the season. Many check stations had bulletin boards loaded with grainy photos of smiling hunters and their deer or bear. That was the social media of the day.
I probably will still carry “the paper” license, enjoying the moment when I use a knife or just my fingers to cut or tear a notch in a tag. It may take a minute or two longer, but oh well. For hunters like me, you simply call the DWR telephone harvest reporting system at 866/468-4263 or use the internet harvest reporting system at https://gooutdoorsvirginia.com.
Notching the tag at the location of recovery validates the harvest. Once you get home or reach cell service, you register the animal. The basic rule is that you must report the harvest upon vehicle transport or at the conclusion of hunting hours, whichever occurs first and without unnecessary delay.
Hunters required to purchase a license must carry either a paper copy or an electronic copy of their hunting license.
Bear hunters are still required to submit a tooth from a harvested bear. The reporting system walks the hunter through the needed steps. An official tooth submission envelope is mailed to the hunter at the address listed on the Go Outdoors Virginia account.
According to DWR, 88 percent of all deer/elk, 96 percent of fall turkeys, 100 precnet of spring turkeys and bobcats, and 68 percent of bears were reported through an electronic harvest reporting system last year.
The changes make sense. It is convenient to use your phone or computer to check in an animal and the electronic reporting quickly updates running totals the department maintains.
For more information on the changes, go to https://dwr.virginia.gov/hunting/game-harvest-reporting-changes/.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League announced last week that it is suing the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence for libel, stating the CSGV called VCDL a “Domestic Terror Organization” in a June 8 press release.
“That press release was published in the media, spreading that defamation,” according to VCDL.
The VCDL announcement stated that CSGV’s press release included the language, “Virginia cannot afford to elect Glenn Youngkin and his outdated and harmful stance on gun violence. His willingness to say anything for a vote is deeply troubling, as we’ve already seen him cozying up to those with deep ties to those at the forefront of the insurrectionist movement, like Senator Amanda Chase and the domestic terror organization, the Virginia Citizens Defense League.”
As of Wednesday, the verbiage allegedly calling VCDL a terror organization apparently has been removed from the CSGV website.
In announcing the lawsuit, VCDL provided the FBI definition of a domestic terror organization and declared, “VCDL has never even been accused of being involved with or committing any kind of violence, much less a violent criminal act.”
In response to sweeping changes to Virginia’s gun laws, VCDL led the “Second Amendment Sanctuary” effort where localities affirmed their support of the U.S. Constitution and the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
The organization also mustered one of the largest pro Second Amendment rallies ever staged in January 2020 in Richmond. Nearly 50,000 gun-rights supporters showed up, many of them armed. There were no arrests related to the peaceful rally. Attendees even cleaned up the streets after the event.