By Mr. Patrick K Hodges (Fort Knox news)June 16, 2017
The Fort Knox wildlife management program went digital this year when it adopted the use of i-Sportsman -- changing the way it does business with those wishing to visit the installation for sporting purposes.
i-Sportsman is a website that allows hunters and fishermen to check-in and out of the installation's 95 designated hunting areas, purchase hunting/fishing permits, and check harvested game. The system also provides information about the wildlife programs on post, Hunt Control hours of operation, season dates and weapons registration.
The i-Sportsman program is centrally funded by Installation Management Command and is currently in use by about 15 Army installations.
"People have asked for this for years," said Fort Knox Wildlife Biologist Jimmy Watkins.
The new system provides both convenience and efficiency for Hunt Control and its customers.
"It used to be that that a person had to check-in in-person and get a pass to put in on their dash. Now they can check-in and print their own i-Sportsman pass without coming in -- it eliminates the pen and paper aspect of the process for the customer and us," said Watkins.
Watkins would like to clarify that when harvested game is checked using the i-Sportsman system, the animal must still be checked using Kentucky's Telecheck system.
Additionally, the new system makes it a lot easier for a hunter to change hunting areas without the hassle of having to come back to Hunt Control office, said Watkins.
It also provides installation game wardens with an up-to-date list, and location of anyone currently checked into the hunting areas. This not only helps alleviate potential safety and accountability issues, but helps wardens determine if individuals are trying to undermine installation regulations.
"There may be a temptation for a hunter to drive around the installation and when he or she sees something, immediately check into that area and start hunting --that's a violation post regulations," Watkins said. "When a game warden stops an individual in an area they aren't already checked into, information they have from iSportsman can help them evaluate the situation and act accordingly."
While most everything can now be done online, Watkins said that when an individual initially sets up an account, they must come to Hunt Control in-person just once to show identification and have their account verified. After that is complete, they can do everything online.
Hunt Control also plans to conduct this year's quota gun deer hunt lottery through i-Sportsman.
"We hope to do all of this year's quota hunt applications through i-Sportsman. People will register online. If selected, they'll get a congratulatory email and digital information packet about their hunt," Watkins said.
The website is very user friendly and easy to navigate, said Watkins. However, for those who don't own a computer or who aren't sure how to use the website, Hunt Control provides kiosks in its lobby. Additionally, anything that can be done on i-Sportsman can still be done in-person at the Hunt Control office.
The Fort Knox i-Sportsman page can be found at https://ftknox.isportsman.net/.