Updates Related to COVID-19 »

Harvest Reporting Changes for the 2021–2022 Hunting Season

All hunters (including those who are not required to purchase a license) who harvest a deer, turkey, bear, bobcat, or elk will need to report their harvest using the Department’s mobile app, internet, or telephone harvest reporting systems.

Mandatory game checking, a cornerstone of DWRs game management program for more than 70 years, will remain vital for game management in Virginia for many years to come. Thus, it is critical that every hunter report their harvest using one of the electronic harvest reporting systems. Since 2004, DWR has offered some form of electronic harvest reporting, and beginning in 2019, electronic reporting options are available for all game species for which reporting is required. Last hunting season, 88% of all deer/elk, 96% of fall turkeys, 100% of spring turkeys, 100% of bobcats, and 68% of bears were reported through an electronic harvest reporting system.

DWR recognizes the values and traditions associated with game check stations and is exceptionally grateful to check station operators for their decades of service to collecting harvest data that have supported restoration of our deer, bear, and turkey populations, but factors such as hunter convenience, efficiency of capturing data, and cost of distribution and collection of check books have driven the shift to electronic harvest reporting. DWR remains committed to a harvest reporting system that is convenient to hunters, obtains reliable data, and maintains the public’s trust in this information of critical importance to sound game management. If you have questions or need additional information, please email harvestreport@dwr.virginia.gov.

General Information

What’s changing in the process to report the bear, deer, elk, and turkeys I’ve harvested?

The Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) will discontinue the distribution of game check books beginning September 1, 2021 with the start of the 2021–22 fall hunting season. All hunters (including those who are not required to purchase a license) who harvest a deer, turkey, bear, elk, or bobcat will need to report their harvest using DWR’s telephone, internet, or mobile app harvest reporting systems through Go Outdoors Virginia. Data collected from mandatory game checking has been a cornerstone of DWR’s game management program for more than 70 years, and the collected data will remain vital for game management in Virginia for many years to come. Thus, it is critical that every hunter report their harvest using one of the electronic harvest reporting systems.

Has there been any change in bobcat checking procedures?

No. Harvested bobcats must continue to be reported electronically using internet, mobile app, or telephone harvest reporting systems.

If DWR is no longer distributing game check materials to check stations, does that mean the check station I have always used to report my harvest will be closed?

Not necessarily. Even though DWR will no longer distribute game checking materials, check station operators can still offer to check game for hunters using their own internet or telephones to access DWR’s electronic harvest reporting systems.

Is DWR eliminating the need to report the harvest of bear, deer, elk, turkeys, and bobcats in the future?

No. Mandatory game checking remains in effect, but will only be available through Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app, internet, or telephone reporting systems. Data collected from mandatory game checking has been a cornerstone of DWR’s game management program for more than 70 years, and the collected data will remain vital for game management in Virginia for many years to come.

What if I don’t have cell phone or internet service where I harvested my game?

For hunters using the Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app to report their harvest, there is no problem if you do not have service at the location where the animal is recovered. Hunters can enter all the appropriate information into the mobile app, and the mobile app will automatically upload that information when service is available. When using the telephone or internet harvest reporting systems to report a harvested animal, the hunter must validate the appropriate license tag at the location of recovery then transport the animal to a location where it can be reported via the telephone or internet system. However, as has been the case for many years, hunters must report their harvest upon vehicle transport or at the conclusion of hunting hours, whichever occurs first and without unnecessary delay.

I don’t have a smart phone or computer access—how can I report my game?

Hunters can use any telephone to report their harvest via the Department’s telephone harvest reporting system (866) 468-4263 or (866) GOT-GAME.

Do I still need to carry a paper copy of my hunting license?

Hunters who are required to purchase a license must carry either a paper copy or an electronic copy of their hunting license.

Why are check stations and the distribution of check books being discontinued?

Over time, increased use of DWR’s three electronic harvest reporting systems (telephone, internet, and mobile app) has resulted in the vast majority of hunters utilizing these systems to report their harvest. During the 2020 hunting seasons, 88% of all deer and elk, 96% of fall turkeys, 100% of spring turkeys, 100% of bobcats, and 68% of bears were reported using the electronic harvest reporting systems. The cost of printing, distributing, and collecting check books, as well as factors such as hunter convenience, is driving the shift to electronic harvest reporting for all harvested bear, deer, elk, turkeys, and bobcats.

Is DWR concerned that the switch to electronic reporting will reduce the quality of the data it receives on harvested bear, deer, elk, turkeys, and bobcats?

No. DWR staff have been reviewing the quality of the electronic data since options for electronic reporting were implemented in 2004. Data collected via the electronic checking systems meets or exceeds the standards of data collected at game check stations.

Which game species must be reported to the Department through the electronic harvest reporting systems?

Hunters (and trappers who take a bobcat) must report any deer, turkey, bear, or elk, and bobcat they harvest.

What electronic harvest reporting systems are available for hunters to report deer, bears, turkeys, elk, and bobcats?

Individuals harvesting a deer, bear, turkey, elk, or bobcat must report their harvest using either the Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app, internet, or telephone (866-468-4263 or 866-GOT-GAME) harvest reporting system.

Reporting a Deer Harvest Using Special Tags

How do I report a deer I harvested using a Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) tag?

You may report the deer using the internet or telephone systems; however, deer harvested using a DMAP tag cannot be reported using the eNotch feature of the GoOutdoors app. Within the internet or telephone harvest reporting system you will be prompted to select the type of tag used to report your harvest; please select DMAP.

How do I report a deer I harvested using a Damage Control Assistance Program (DCAP) tag?

You may report the deer using the internet or telephone systems; however, deer harvested using a DCAP tag cannot be reported using the eNotch feature of the GoOutdoors app. Within the internet or telephone harvest reporting system you will be prompted to select the type of tag used to report your harvest; please select DCAP.

How do I report a deer I harvested using a Deer Population Control Permit (DPOP) tag?

You may report the deer using the internet or telephone systems; however, deer harvested using a DPOP tag cannot be reported using the eNotch feature of the GoOutdoors app. Within the internet or telephone harvest reporting system you will be prompted to select the type of tag used to report your harvest; please select DPOP.

How do I report a deer I harvested using a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Management tag?

You may report the deer using the internet or telephone systems; however, deer harvested using a CWD Management tag cannot be reported using the eNotch feature of the GoOutdoors app. Within the internet or telephone harvest reporting system you will be prompted to select the type of tag used to report your harvest; please select CWD Management tag.

Reporting a Bear Harvest

Do I still need to submit a tooth for a harvested bear?

Yes. Successful hunters are required to submit a tooth from a harvested bear. The reporting system will direct the hunter through several simple steps and an official tooth submission envelope will be sent to the hunter at the address listed on their Go Outdoors Virginia account.

When using an electronic harvest system, how do I submit a tooth from the bear I harvested?

You will need an official envelope to record basic information and secure a tooth from your bear. We will mail you the envelope to the address associated with your Go Outdoors Virginia customer account. For instructions on removing and submitting the premolar tooth, please see a diagram and video at How to Remove and Submit Bear Teeth for Aging.

Why do I need a customer account to check a bear?

Having a customer account will ensure that a hunter receives the materials they will need to submit a bear tooth for aging. They will need an official envelope to record basic information and secure a tooth from their bear. The Department will mail the envelope to the address associated with their Go Outdoors Virginia customer account. Hunters/customers may also print a prepaid mailing label to submit their tooth.

Setting Up a Customer Account

Do I need an email address to set up a customer account?

It is strongly encouraged that you provide an email address, as it is the primary means of contacting you. You may visit a DWR license agent or call customer service at (804) 367-1000 to set up your account if you do not have or do not wish to provide an email address.

When using an electronic harvest reporting system, how do I request a CITES tag for my bobcat?

If you have a Go Outdoors Virginia customer account, you can request a CITES tag as part of the bobcat reporting process. If you do not have a Go Outdoors Virginia customer account, you will need to contact the Department’s customer service (804) 367-1000 or a Department of Wildlife Resources regional office.

How do I set up a Customer Account in Go Outdoors Virginia?

Simply navigate to Go Outdoors Virginia. Enter your date of birth, last name and a second identifier to create or confirm your customer account. You will be asked to confirm your residency, mailing and physical addresses (if different).

What does it cost to set up a Customer Account in Go Outdoors Virginia?

It is free and easy for a hunter to set up an account at Go Outdoors Virginia. If you have any problems, please call (804) 367-1000.

Using the Electronic Harvest Reporting System

What should I do if I have trouble using an electronic harvest reporting system?

Please call (804) 367-1000 during business hours. If after hours or on a weekend, please send an email to harvestreport@dwr.virginia.gov to document the issue and we will follow up with you as soon as possible.

If I have trouble using the internet, how can I set up my customer account?

By calling customer service at (804) 367-1000 or visiting one of over 500 DWR license agents.

I am not required to have a hunting license, how do I report my harvest using an electronic harvest reporting system?

The internet and telephone harvest reporting systems offer options for license exempt hunters to report their harvests without a customer account, except that a customer account is required to report a bear. You can also report license exempt harvests through your customer account by selecting “no tag required” during the reporting process.

What should I do if the electronic system I am trying to use to report my harvest indicates the system is not operable?

Our electronic reporting systems operate at 99% uptime, but unforeseen issues can occur. If the internet is not available, try the telephone reporting system or vice versa.

After completing the harvest reporting process, what should I do if I realize I made a mistake during the harvest reporting process?

Call customer service at (804) 367-1000. Harvest reporting errors will not be corrected in the database, but an explanatory note will be added to the record. License tags validated in error will not be replaced. Individuals may receive a call from the Department for further details on their reporting error.

How does a young hunter without a license report a deer?

Resident youth deer hunters who are less than 12 years of age do not have to purchase a license and will not have deer tags. They are still required to report their deer and they have two options for reporting the deer, the Internet harvest reporting system at Go Outdoors Virginia or the telephone harvest reporting system at 1866GOTGAME or 1-866-468-4263. In order to use the Internet or telephone harvest reporting systems to report a deer the license-exempt youth deer hunter will need to:

  • Select “exempt hunter” when prompted to enter his/her license type.
  • Enter his/her date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY) and last four digits of his/her social security number and 5-digit home zip (telephone system) or last name (Internet system).

When the reporting system asks them for the type of tag, they should select “None.”

Deer killed by youth or apprentice deer hunters on this weekend should not be reported on the accompanying adult’s license tag.

After the deer is reported, the youth deer hunter will need to create a personal check card. A personal check card may be written on any type of paper using a pen and must include the hunter’s full name, date of kill, and confirmation number. The personal check card must be kept in possession with the carcass until it is processed or transferred to another individual. If possession of the carcass is transferred to another individual, the personal check card should be given to that individual. If the carcass is left unattended, the personal check card should be securely attached to the carcass.

What do I need to have ready/handy when using the telephone harvest reporting system?

You will need your hunting license (unless exempt) and a pen and paper to write down your confirmation number on your paper license or to create a personal check card (if exempt).

How long does it take to report my harvest using the telephone harvest reporting system?

For first time users, it will likely take 5-7 minutes, depending on the species being reported. With experience, call times can be reduced to 3-5 minutes.

What steps are involved in reporting my harvest in the harvest reporting system?

  1. Call Got Game: (866) 468-4263.
  2. Listen to the instructions and select the appropriate options.
  3. Record your confirmation number on your paper license or create a personal check card.

How do I get a confirmation number using the telephone harvest reporting system?

At the end of the call, the system will provide you with an 8-digit confirmation number.

What should I do if I don’t receive a confirmation number when using the telephone harvest reporting system?

Please call back and start over. Unless a confirmation number is given, the report is incomplete.

Can I report multiple animals on a single telephone call when using the telephone harvest reporting system?

Yes. After you report your first animal, there will be instructions on reporting a second animal.

What do I need to have ready/handy when using the internet harvest reporting system?

You will just need your hunting license and/or your customer account information to log in.

How long does it take to report my harvest using the internet harvest reporting system?

For first time users, it will likely take 2-4 minutes, depending on the species being reported. With experience, reporting time can be reduced to 1-3 minutes.

Can I use the internet reporting system on my smartphone?

Yes, and there are two options. You can go to Go Outdoors Virginia or you can select Harvest Reporting at the top of the “Hunt” menu within the Go Outdoors Virginia app.

Is the internet harvest reporting system included in the Department’s mobile app?

Yes, you can select “Harvest Reporting” from the Hunt section of the Go Outdoors Virginia app.

Will the internet harvest reporting system store my harvest information if I don’t have service on my smartphone?

No. You must have enough service to obtain a confirmation number at the end of your session.

eNotch

What is eNotch?

eNotch is an electronic harvest reporting system that doesn’t require a hunter to maintain a paper hunting license with the associated license tags. eNotch affords a hunter the opportunity to go “paperless” by enabling the hunter to validate a license tag on their electronic hunting license.

What do I need to report my harvest using eNotch?

You will need a smartphone (or tablet) loaded with the Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app. Additionally, within the Go Outdoors Virginia mobile app, you will need to download your hunting license by touching the “My Licenses” tile on the mobile app home page. You will then be prompted to “Add A License” or “Add Another License” at which time you can enter your date of birth, last name, and a third personal identifying feature to download an electronic copy of your current DWR issued licenses. Once you have downloaded a valid hunting license containing license tags, you will be ready to use the eNotch harvest reporting system. NOTE: eNotch can only be used with electronic licenses containing electronic license tags.

How long does it take to report my harvest using the eNotch feature in the Department’s mobile app?

When using eNotch, it takes less than a minute to validate a license tag and report your harvest.