Computer glitch hampers Alaska deer hunt reporting

Associated PressMay 1, 2012 

KODIAK -- A computer glitch has resulted in incomplete totals from data submitted online by deer hunters across Alaska, according to state officials.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror says that hunter Joseph Mauer of Kodiak was surprised to receive a reminder letter from the state Department of Fish and Game asking that he resubmit his Sitka blacktail deer hunt totals from last season.

Mauer said he had already submitted his data at the end of last season using the department's new online harvest reporting system for deer.

"I was a little disappointed the deer survey had a glitch," he said. "I thought we'd done everything properly."

Officials say only deer harvest reports were affected.

Fish and Game is asking deer hunters who submitted a report online to submit a paper report to verify their online data.

Game managers partially rely on hunt reports to manage future hunting.

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.

"Because we don't count deer it's not catastrophic for us," Van Daele said. "It's disappointing it happened this year because this year we had a higher than usual mortality of deer because of the winter."

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