WDFW Director Issues Statement On Vendor Software Special Hunt Draw Fiasco

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind is expressing disappointment and apologizing about a third-party vendor’s software issue that screwed up the special permit draw for hundreds of hunters across 22 of 27 application categories.


A statement from Susewind out today says that 723 applicants who weren’t selected in June 12’s draw should have been and another 738 who were told by WDFW they’d been picked shouldn’t have been.

WDFW says the former applicants have since been “issued the special hunt permit that they should have originally been drawn for,” while for the latter, “WDFW worked hard to secure hunting opportunities for these individuals by increasing the number of permits, where biologically feasible, to allow those hunt applicants incorrectly awarded a permit with the ability to continue to hunt. However, in these circumstances the hunt choice may have changed.”

It’s causing a lot of confusion online, so in addition to the director’s statement, WDFW has posted a draw update with FAQs and a 12-minute YouTube video.

“All hunt applicants that applied for a special hunt permit will be contacted by WDFW by email and postcard encouraging them to check their licensing system profile to confirm the correct status of the draw results. Some applicants will also receive a telephone call from a contracted call center,” the FAQ states.

The vendor in question was later identified as Brandt Information Services of Florida.

The agency says it will not be redoing the draw and that the majority of 2024 applicants’ “draw results did not change after correcting this error.”

The most coveted draw categories were all affected, including Quality Deer, Quality Elk, Any Antlered Bull Moose and Sheep – Any Ram.

The only ones that weren’t were Fall Turkey, Moose Youth, Disabled Hunter Bighorn Sheep Ewe, Disabled Hunter Juvenile Ram and Sheep Youth.

The snafu was discovered by a puzzled applicant.

“WDFW was contacted by a customer asking why the weren’t awarded their first-choice hunt when there were still tags available for their first hunt choice after the draw was completed,” the FAQs state. “This prompted WDFW to investigate the results from that draw, which revealed the nature of the software error.”

Further investigationn showed it was spread across 22 of the 27 special hunt categories.

“I cannot overstate my disappointment in this situation and the impacts to hunter,” Susewind said in his statement. “As hard as it is to implement these corrections, we know that the hunting community expects and deserves an accurate draw that operates within the stated rules that we’ve established. The Department is working diligently with the software vendor to ensure that this never happens again. We have also investigated past years’ data and there is no evidence this error has occurred in the past.”

In his YouTube video, he apologized for the situation.