CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Someday in the deer woods of West Virginia:
A hunter crouches over the freshly field-dressed carcass of the buck he just shot. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out his smartphone and dials a number.
He keys in his name, his hunting license number, and the county and general location where he killed the buck. With a final tap of his index finger, he finishes in seconds a task that, in the past, had taken minutes to hours to complete.
When Division of Natural Resources officials go online with a new electronic game-checking system in April 2015, checking a deer, bear, turkey or wild boar will become far less complicated.
For decades, hunters have had to haul carcasses to designated game-checking stations, often many miles distant, and wait to have a clerk record all the required information. The check-in process would usually take only a couple of minutes, but the associated travel time could easily take an hour or more.
Curtis Taylor, the DNR's chief of wildlife resources, said changes to the game-checking process will take place after the state goes to a wholly electronic hunting- and fishing-license system.
"We'll go to fully electronic licensing Jan. 1, 2015," he explained. "We'll go to electronic game-checking on the opening day of the 2015 spring gobbler season."
Agency administrators have long wanted to get rid of West Virginia's cumbersome paper-license and game-check systems, but had to approach the project carefully to ensure they got a vendor capable of creating effective electronic equivalents.
"We ended up having to shoot for 2015 because we were well aware of all the approvals we'd have to get from the state purchasing, procurement and technology offices," Taylor said.
The contracts have been signed, and technologists for vendor Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson of Sparks, Md., are creating and adapting the zillions of lines of computer code required to make the systems work.