Fort McCoy News October 25, 2013

i-Sportsman provides services to hunters, anglers

STORY & PHOTO BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

A new online system at Fort McCoy will help hunters and anglers as they visit the installation by providing a one-stop site to check-in and obtain any information they may need, such as which areas are closed due to training.

Photo for i-Sportsman article
Tim Wilder of the Natural Resources
Branch checks information at the
i-Sportsman kiosk, which is located
near the hunter information point on
South Post.

The i-Sportsman, or Interactive Recreational Sports Management System, became operational at Fort McCoy Oct. 1. The new system provides 24/7 access for hunters/anglers to get information, obtain hunting applications, hunting and fishing regulations, review areas open to hunting/fishing activities and to find answers to many of the questions they have, said David Beckmann, Fort McCoy wildlife biologist.

"We introduced the system to improve communication and share information with those who hunt and fish at Fort McCoy," Beckmann said. "i-Sportsman provides real-time data collection and review to offer up-to-the minute information, which can be important to people hunting or fishing on a military installation."

The system also will include a kiosk on South Post near the hunter information point to allow hunters/anglers to receive any last minute announcements, check area closures and sign-in for hunting, Beckmann said. People also can check-in and access relevant information with their computer, cell phones or smartphones.

Hunters/anglers can access the system without a user account to obtain general information and view area closures. A user account must be established by providing their name and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) customer number and is needed to sign in for hunting and scouting activities. Beckmann said people planning to hunt on Fort McCoy must have this information to purchase licenses/permits through the WDNR's Automated License Issuance System (ALIS). Fort McCoy permits/licenses still need to be purchased through ALIS.

i-Sportsman has the capacity to accept a lot of information and consolidate and automate many processes. Beckmann said, in the future, this system feature can allow sportsmen to apply for quota hunt permits online, view hunting application status, access fact sheets on specific hunts, wildlife or fish programs, etc.

Other potential possibilities include adding hunting opportunities, he said. For example, with the current contract with ALIS, it is not cost effective to add hunts that may only harvest a few animals. Beckmann said the installation would not incur the same costs with i-Sportsman, so it would be possible to consider having these hunts.

Hunters and anglers must continue to post index-sized cards with their contact information in the windows of their vehicles.

Beckmann said the i-Sportsman system has the capability to accept this data so it may be able to incorporate this step into the system in the future.

The GAME LINE is more automated under i-Sportsman. The old system required calling a Fort McCoy number 608-388-4263 (GAME), which is no longer active, and hearing a recorded message. Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security provided this information, which had to be created and entered manually. i-Sportsman can generate the recordings from data input.

The Fort McCoy i-Sportsman website is www.mccoy.isportsman.net or http://ftmccoy.isportsman.net and the new toll-free Fort McCoy GAME LINE number is 1-866-277-1597.

Installation personnel will monitor the use of the system to see what capabilities should be incorporated into the system's software, Beckmann said.

Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott said in a letter to hunters that i-Sportsman will update and expand on the installation's use of technology to increase the flow of information.

The system has been successfully implemented at several other military installations or bases, including Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Drum, N.Y.; Joint Base Elmendorf-Fort Richardson, Alaska; and Naval Air Station Patuxent River-Solomons Recreation Center, Md.