A computer glitch has resulted in incomplete totals from data submitted online by Sitka blacktail deer hunters around Alaska, according to state officials.
Ryan Scott, area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said the state’s new online reporting system is to blame.
“We were looking for a more efficient way to handle our reporting,” he said.
He said he believes many were confused by the selections on the web-based reporting form provided by the ADF&G.
Regardless, officials say only deer harvest reports were affected.
Scott said Fish and Game responded by sending out hard copy report forms to all hunters who applied for deer tags this year in an effort to verify what is already in the system.
“We sent out a hard copy report form for hunters to report again. For those who hadn’t reported yet, we asked them to do so,” he said. “It’s still a good system. It is the way we’re moving in the future.”
Game managers partially rely on hunt reports to manage future hunting, the Associated Press reported in a related story this week.
Because of the harvest reporting malfunction, last season’s deer hunting numbers could remain incomplete. Some hunters don’t remember how many animals they got, and some aren’t around to fill out forms, said Larry Van Daele, a state biologist on Kodiak Island.
“Now we have to rely more heavily on hunters’ impressions on what they saw,” he said. “We’ll do the best we can with what we get.”
The new online deer harvest reporting system was implemented last fall and hunters had the option of submitting reports online or through the regular paper report. The two options will be available again next season.
“We apologized to hunters,” Scott said. “And, we appreciate all the efforts from folks to (share) that information.”