Sport and commercial hunting are fun, long-held traditions for so many people. Not only does hunting provide food and test survival skills, but it’s also highly educational! Hunters have to learn about different kinds of wildlife in order to outsmart their targets.
Best of all, many hunters have a high respect for nature. They do their best to participate in hunting without putting wildlife or their communities in danger. This means working openly with wildlife officials to follow laws and regulations. In fact, hunters pay yearly for a hunting license that funds state habitat conservation, including wildlife habitat patrols.
But wildlife habitats can be difficult to patrol — especially in harsh weather. So what can wildlife officials do to improve their patrolling?
One tool that supports better patrolling is checkpoint stations.
What Are Wildlife Checkpoint Stations?
Wildlife officials use checkpoint stations to promote safety, education, and compliance with wildlife laws and regulations. This helps protect wildlife and promote safe sportsmanship.
When approaching a wildlife checkpoint, officers:
- Ask if you have been hunting or are transporting wildlife.
- Check that you have all necessary licenses and permits.
- Count the game.
- Note hunter success information.
- Collect samples of big game animals to check for disease.
- Take action if any wildlife or other state laws are violated.
Overall, wildlife checkpoint stations are one way for wildlife officials to enforce wildlife laws. At the same time, they also allow individuals to learn more about the role they play in protecting local ecosystems.
How Checkpoint Stations Help Wildlife Officials
Wildlife habitats are often very large, rugged, and remote, making them incredibly difficult for officials to fully patrol. But checkpoint stations make patrolling easier for wildlife officials by offering a routine way to gather intelligence and detect crime. They can also use it as a chance to prevent crimes before they occur.
Beyond crime prevention, checkpoints are also used for harvest submissions in conservation efforts.
For example, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced a Lionfish Challenge this year. The goal is to promote the removal of lionfish from Florida waters, and to reward recreational and commercial divers who do so. Divers also use checkpoint stations to submit their harvests for prizes!
Considerations for Wildlife Checkpoint Stations
It’s clear that having wildlife checkpoint stations is helpful for wildlife officials and individuals of the community alike. Here are a few things wildlife officials might consider to make well-running checkpoint stations, for everyone involved.
Where to Locate Checkpoints
First, wildlife officials should consider the best place to locate their checkpoint stations. Ideally, according to the UNODC Wildlife and Forest Crime Analytic Toolkit, checkpoint stations should be positioned along any of the following:
- Main roads
- Trade routes and interchanges
- Key entry points to national parks
Typically, checkpoint stations are positioned at well-known landmarks. Sometimes, this can mean the checkpoint is at an existing structure, like toll booths at recreational area entrances. But sometimes there aren’t existing structures to accommodate checkpoint stations. In these cases, stops at highway mile-markers might be used.
Permanent vs. Portable Checkpoints
Another thing wildlife officials might consider for a well-running checkpoint station is using portable or temporary structures — especially when a permanent structure isn’t available.
There is a major benefit to having a portable checkpoint…
That is, some wildlife checkpoints are active for only a few days each month throughout a certain season. Not to mention, they might need to move around to different locations during that time.
For instance, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources set up several checkpoints across various weekends this past summer to prevent invasive quagga mussels from spreading outside of Lake Powell. The checkpoint stations switched locations each weekend.
As a result, having a portable checkpoint station can be a fantastic alternative to searching for a permanent structure to use. Plus, portable structures allow for checkpoints to be set up in more remote locations that might not have a permanent facility.
Safety and Comfort Year-Round
Finally, something to consider when building checkpoint stations is the safety and comfort of staff members.
Since checkpoint stations are outdoors, wildlife officials manning the station may have to work in extreme weather conditions, like:
- High winds
- Hot or freezing temperatures
- Heavy rainfall or snow
When selecting a checkpoint station, wildlife officials may want to consider how the structure of the station will keep officers safe and comfortable enough to do their jobs well.
Conducting checks without an actual building can be challenging, especially in harsh weather conditions. On very sunny days, officers standing outside for long hours will be exposed to the harmful UV rays from the sun. This can lead to fatigue, heatstroke, or dehydration.
Similarly, on rainy or snowy days, it can be difficult for officers to keep themselves and their equipment dry and warm, or even see well if weather conditions interrupt their checks.
So, having a weatherproof structure to conduct checks can help:
- Protect wildlife officials from the harsh sun.
- Keep officers and their documentation and equipment dry and warm.
- Shelter hunters, fishers, and others as they stop at the checkpoint.
In addition, insulation can also be considered for even more comfort during long patrolling shifts.
Using Fabric Structures for Checkpoint Stations Results in Better Wildlife Patrolling
Putting those considerations together, wildlife officials can improve their patrolling by building checkpoint stations with structures that:
- Can be set up in a wide range of locations
- Are easy to take down and relocate
- Shelter everyone at the station from harsh elements
- Have insulation against harsh temperatures (hot and cold climates)
A checkpoint station with all of these qualities will support wildlife officers so they can do their job best. But where can a structure with all of that be found in the middle of a forest or along the riverside?
Well, that’s where fabric structures come in!
Fabric structures, like those from WeatherPort® Shelter Systems, cover all the bases of a fantastic checkpoint station. With their versatility and durability, they are the perfect solution to help wildlife officials do their job best.
Benefits of Fabric Structures for Checkpoint Stations
Fabric structures outperform metal buildings, container buildings, and conventional construction because they:
- Are quick to set up
- Have minimal foundation and tool requirements
- Designed for portability and for easy relocation
- Can be used seasonally or year-round
- Can be equipped with insulation and stoves, heaters, or HVAC systems
- Use energy-efficient systems to reduce operating costs
- Have unmatched durability
- Require virtually no maintenance
You can even select your color scheme and add your local wildlife department logo to your fabric structure!
[Related: How Yurts Benefit Government Agencies]
Contact Us About Building a Checkpoint Station Using Fabric Structures
Of course, no two checkpoint stations are exactly the same. You’ll want to customize your fabric structure to best suit your habitat and the size of your team.
Ready to work with a friendly WeatherPort building specialist to complete the custom design process? Let’s discuss the specifics of your wildlife checkpoint station needs!
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons