OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold a new drawing for 2008 multiple-season hunting permits after invalidating a drawing conducted last week due to a technical error.
The new drawing for 1,500 multiple-season deer permits and 500 multiple-season elk permits will be completed by Friday, April 11. Approximately 8,500 people purchased applications for the drawing.
Winners of the new drawing will be eligible to purchase special permits allowing them to participate in multiple general hunting seasons - including archery, muzzleloader and modern-firearm hunts - rather than just a single type of season.
WDFW Director Jeff Koenings said the department will initiate a new validation process - involving additional agency managers and a citizen representative - to provide broader oversight over future drawings and ensure the results are valid.
"We all agree that the problems we have experienced with permit drawings are unacceptable," Koenings said. "Our customers deserve better, and we are dedicated to putting a new system in place that will ensure accurate and transparent results the first time."
Dave Ware, WDFW game manager, said the initial drawing was invalidated because groups of hunters were allowed to apply for the permits. Group applications are allowed for most special-permit hunts, but participation in multiple-season permit drawings is limited to individuals under state regulations.
"Including those group applications changed the results of the initial drawing, so we need to redraw to ensure a fair outcome," Ware said. "We apologize to any hunters who were inconvenienced or disappointed by the invalidation of the first drawing."
Although WDFW did not formally announce the results of the initial drawing, results of that draw were reflected in hunters' online accounts with the department, Ware said. Some department personnel also advised hunters about the results of the initial drawing before realizing it was invalidated, Ware said.
About a half-dozen hunters who purchased permits based on that information will be allowed to use them this season, Ware said.