Hunters are not at fault in the problems with Fish and Game's deer and elk hunter report cards, said assistant director Steve Huffaker. "We have a problem with data management that isn't the hunters' fault," Huffaker said, "and due to that problem we sent out reminder letters telling hunters we didn't have their reports." Many of the letters went to people who actually had returned the reports.
All hunters who filed reports will have no problems purchasing a license this year. Those who forgot will have to file when they buy their new license. According to Huffaker, "The glitch is on our side, hunters shouldn't be penalized." Hunters who reported by Jan. 31 will also be eligible in the drawing to purchase one of ten "supertags" which they can use in any open hunt for that species.
Fish and Game does not know yet where the problem is, but is investigating. The data from the reports is entered by a contractor and files are shipped electronically to Fish and Game. There, it is matched against the electronic files of deer and elk tag purchasers, part of which are created by contractors and part by Fish and Game. When there is no matching report found for a tag, that hunter gets a reminder letter.
Huffaker urges hunters to fill out the report contained in the reminder letter and mail it in, just to be very sure the data gets in. The information is used to help set seasons and harvest levels for the upcoming year.