Several outdoor activities remain open on Fort Gordon to include hunting, fishing and bicycling. In fact, since the COVID-19 pandemic, more people appear to be taking advantage of Fort Gordon’s landscape.
“We’ve actually seen quite an increase of probably 25 to 30% in the number of check-ins for hunting and probably 48% increase of check-ins for fishing since the first of March,” said Steven Camp, wildlife biologist, Fort Gordon Natural Resources Branch, Directorate of Public Works.
And while now is as good a time as ever to get outdoors, officials want to remind patrons that they must use iSportsman while in certain areas.
iSportsman is an online system that allows patrons to check in and out of recreation activities conducted in the Range Training Area Complex. The reason for this is multi-fold, but it all comes down to safety.
“If the military is training out there in training areas 1, 2, 3, 4,… then they need to have the ability to close those areas so that recreation isn’t occurring in the area where military is training,” Camp explained.
The program also is crucial in helping the Natural Resources Branch plan resource management events.
“When you sign in, we can go right into our system and see who’s in what area and how many,” Camp said. “For example, if we wanted to do a controlled burn in an area and we look and see there are people out there doing outdoor rec, we can make contact with those folks and tell them to sign out, or we can pick another area.”
One of the other safety aspects is lets safety officials know if someone has not checked out by day’s end and could potentially be in danger. Although iSportsman is equipped to send a reminder text message 30 minutes prior to mandatory checkout, occasionally patrons still forget to sign out.
“At the end of the day, [the Directorate of Emergency Services] is responsible for making sure everybody is home safe,” Camp said.
And failure to sign out could result in someone knocking at your door along with possible suspension of privileges, but Camp reiterated that it’s for everyone’s safety.
“DES will try to make contact with them through their phone, call their house, the emergency number listed,… if they’re still unable to make contact, they may call the local county sheriff’s department to do a house check,” Camp said.
Beyond safety, iSportsman is a convenient tool for patrons to purchase hunting and fishing permits, record harvesting of forest products, and see how many people are in a particular area – all from the touch of a mobile device or computer.
For more information on iSportsman, to included getting started, visit https://ftgordon.isportsman.net.
Patrons may also call 706-791-2397/706-726-0098.
Hunting and fishing
Hunting and fishing is open to active duty and retired military personnel, active and retired Department of Defense civilians, and families of these individuals. A public access lottery allows a certain number of individuals from the general public to purchase a hunting or fishing permit. Applications for the lottery will be available July 1-15.
Those wishing to hunt and fish on Fort Gordon must have a valid state of Georgia Hunting or Fishing License. All hunters, regardless of age, must possess proof of completion of a state-approved hunter education course. All individuals under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a licensed individual 18 years old or older.