A hunter views some animals through his rifle’s scope during a Yukon hunting trip in 2017. (Jordon Carey/Submitted file)

Environment Yukon nixes online harvest reporting for the 2019 season

Hunters will have to report their harvests either in-person or over the phone, as they did pre-2017

Yukon hunters will not be able to report harvest data online this year after a glitch discovered last season triggered Environment Yukon to call about 4,500 hunters to double-check the department’s data.

In emails last week, Environment Yukon spokesperson Roxanne Stasyszyn wrote that due to other priorities, such as changes to the permit hunt authorization lottery, the department is “unable to commit the time and resources” to fix the online harvest reporting system this year.

As such, it’s asking hunters to go back to phone and in-person reporting.

The department first introduced online harvest reporting in 2017. Hunters could use it to submit harvest data for big-game species that do not require biological samples, such as moose and caribou, and could also submit harvest data online and then biological samples in person (typically, if a species requires both harvest data and a biological sample, hunters would submit both in person at an Environment Yukon office).

However, during the 2018 season, a handful of hunters entering their harvest data online reported that, after clicking “submit,” they were met with a blank screen instead of a confirmation message, Stasyszyn wrote.

Environment Yukon investigated the error occurrences as hunters and department staff flagged them, Stasyszyn said, and, in February, called all hunters who purchased licences between 2017 and 2019 — approximately 4,500 — to verify that the harvest data the department had collected over the years was accurate.

In the end, the department identified fewer than 10 discrepancies via the verification calls, Stasyszyn said. A handful of those were caused by the blank screen error, which in turn was caused by a code glitch related only to harvest reports entered for three permit zones in the Faro region.

Other causes for the discrepancies included hunters creating more than one online profile (each profile was considered a separate person by the system), and real-world issues such as the improper reporting of hunting seal sales.

None of the errors were related to the issues the department had with its hunting lottery system last season.

Stasyszyn said that the department plans on reintroducing online harvest reporting next hunting season, and is “ currently assessing which changes and solutions are most suitable to improve harvest reporting functionality.”

“We remain committed to transition our hunting services online but have decided to take a pause with the online system for harvest reporting this season to allow time to consider options,” she wrote.

“… By reverting back to what hunters are familiar with, in regards to reporting their harvest, we know this will not cause a significant change in their practice.

“Harvest data is extremely important information for wildlife management, which is why we take the utmost care and consideration for it.”

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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