IVR system helps track Ky. wildlife

IVR system helps track Ky. wildlife

Kentucky is the first state to manage its wildlife populations using an IVR system.

BY DONNA YOUNG | GCN STAFF

Kentucky has become the first state to manage wildlife populations using an integrated voice response system.

The Fish and Wildlife Resources Department deployed a new automated integrated voice response system from Anexsys LLC of Chicago for hunters to report harvested deer and wild turkeys.

Hunters in the state are required by law to report harvested animals and place a confirmation number on the tag portion of hunting permits before transporting carcasses.

Jon Gassett, deer and elk coordinator, said instead of driving to walk-in reporting stations to check in deer or turkeys, hunters now can call the state's automated toll-free number to receive confirmation numbers.

'Hunters don't have to spend their time driving around trying to find a station that is open late at night or on a holiday,' he said.

The state deployed the system in time for the November opening of deer gun hunting season. The system received about 43,000 calls the first weekend in use.

Before the state mandated immediate reporting of harvested animals, hunters voluntarily completed mail-in check cards.

Gassett said the new system helps the state more easily manage wildlife data.

'The old way was unreliable,' he said. 'Now I have a more accurate way to gather data.'

Gassett said he uses the data to set hunting seasons and limits on the number of animals that can be hunted for the next year.

'We make decisions about our hunting seasons in February,' he said. 'It was difficult for me to make recommendations about animal populations and to know whether to make a season longer or shorter for the next year based on the cards we received.

'The mail-in cards used to be voluntary and we had to rely on hunters to return the cards. Many of the cards that did come in were often stained or had been sitting in a glove box for several days and had gotten mangled. But now we get the data automatically, and we can make more accurate decisions.'

Hunters using the system press numbers on the telephone keypad to report the type of animal, sex and characteristics about the animal, such as number of antlers. Hunters are given the toll-free number with their hunting permits.

Daily updates

Anexsys hosts the system and sends raw data in batch files over secure e-mail on a daily basis to the department for statistical analysis.

The Anexsys software resides on a 120-MHz Pentium III Lucent Conversant MAP100 with 64M of RAM and running UnixWare. The system uses Integrated Services Digital Network primary rate interface lines connecting to Lucent Difinity G3R private branch exchange switches.

Gassett said the new system also helps local law enforcement control poachers.
Police officers can easily call the IVR system or access the state's database to check if a hunter's confirmation number is legitimate, Gassett said.

The state also posts deer and turkey hunting results gathered from the IVR system on its Web site, at www.kdfwr.state.ky.us.

The state plans to add an option for goose hunters to the IVR system next year.

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