December 16, 2018

WOHOOO! Maine IFW Enters Modern World of Tagging Game

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Congratulations are definitely in order to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) for going above and beyond anything I thought ever possible. They have entered the technology era and devised a system of an instant electronic game registration.

Even though MDIFW seems to be mired in their bad habit of silence in what they do with not one word made available that they were even working on this project, I am delighted to read the news.

The headline reads that hunters, agents, and MDIFW will benefit from this new-age system. And to flex their muscles, a press release (below) tells readers ALREADY how many bears have been registered in the first two weeks of the bear season.

In comparison, last year’s bear hunting season harvest had not been published on the website at the start of this year’s season.

And speaking of websites, it appears that MDIFW has rushed forward to remove the link on their website that takes users to the game harvest page, but I cannot see any link yet(?) to where I can get the harvest data that MDIFW is getting. Is that something that is going to be included in the hunter’s benefit of this new system? According to the press release, I have serious doubts that MDIFW will go that far. They may talk a big talk about working with “customers,” but seldom show it in the final run.

An examination of the Press Release may hold the answer that MDIFW does not intend to make this data readily available to the public on their website: “The new web based system is simpler and faster, and provides the department with real-time data concerning the harvest of animals. This allows the department to provide customers with information about deer or moose harvest numbers more quickly…” (emboldening added)

As lousy as MDIFW is in getting reports out to the public in any sense of responsibility, one has to wonder just how often they intend to notify the public as to harvest data. Hopefully, they can beat their average harvest reporting time schedule of about 6 months.

MDIFW is required by law to make this information available to the public. Can MDIFW skirt that requirement by occasionally publishing a few numbers? We will have to wait and see.

A real benefit for everyone would be that MDIFW creates a landing page on their website if for nothing else than to publish real-time registered game animals. That is not a difficult task to do.

It appears that my days of relentless bitching and moaning about MDIFW’s never publishing game harvest data are over. I sure hope this new system doesn’t give me other reasons to bitch and complain.

In the meantime, congratulations to Chandler Woodcock and MDIFW for finally undertaking this event and getting it operational at the start of the bear season. We will all look forward to its progress through the remainder of the bear season as well as moose and deer. We are also told next season this new system will be used for trapping season.

Wohooo!

Hunters, Agents, and MDIFW Benefit From New, Web-Based Registration System

AUGUSTA, Maine — A new, web based game registration system is up and running at tagging stations statewide, providing hunters, stations and the department with an efficient, easy to use system that benefits all.

“This new system will quickly allow tagging stations and hunters to register their animal, and also provide our biologists and game wardens with real-time harvest data,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The new web-based system became operational the opening day of bear season, August 27, and has been providing instant data to department personnel about the progress of bear season.

Opening week of bear season, hunters registered 1,141 bears. Hunters have now registered a total of 2,826 bears for the season.

The system replaces the old game registration booklets, where agents used to fill in the data by hand. The books would be in possession of the agents until the end of the hunting seasons in December, and then shipped to Augusta where all data was entered by hand.

The new web based system is simpler and faster, and provides the department with real-time data concerning the harvest of animals. This allows the department to provide customers with information about deer or moose harvest numbers more quickly, as well as provide its biologists the information they need to make decisions on seasons and permit numbers in a much more timely manner.

The new system is a result of an intensive effort by the department’s Bureau of Resource Management, the Division of Licensing and Registration and the Bureau of the Warden Service collaborating with InforME to develop an online application that ensures reliable data while remaining easy to use for registration agents. MDIFW staff has been training the more than 300 stations on how to use the new system. For a complete list of tagging stations, please visit: https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/tagging-stations.html.

“With any new system, there’s always a few bumps, but we’ve had staff available to assist with this transition to the new system as well as a help line for agents provided by InforME,” said Woodcock. “We are also looking for feedback from our customers on how to improve the system.

The electronic registration program is the latest step in automating more of the services that MDIFW provides, which includes online applications for deer and moose permits, online licensing, electronic lawbooks and the electronic game registration program. These are designed to be provide customers with the information and services they need via simple and efficient access from almost anywhere.

This new system will be in place for game registration, and beginning next year, will be available for fur tagging as well.

Currently Maine is in the midst of bear season, which continues through November 24, 2018. The first week of moose season begins September 24 and the archery season for deer begins September 29. Maine has 215,000 licensed hunters. To obtain a license online or to learn more about hunting in Maine, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

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