WDFW Director's statement on 2024 special hunt permit draw updates

Photos

Click to display full size or right-click to save to your device.

Director's statement

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) conducted the special hunt permit draw for the 2024-25 hunting season on June 12. On June 27, WDFW was made aware that the third-party vendor software used to conduct the draw did not correctly allocate hunt choices in many special hunt categories due to a coding error. This error caused the software to incorrectly allocate hunt choices for special permits in some instances.

The software properly ranked drawn hunt applicants but, in some instances, improperly assigned hunt choices. Some hunt applicants were assigned the wrong special hunt permit, some hunt applicants were not assigned a special hunt permit when they should have been drawn (i.e., shown as “not selected”), and some hunt applicants were assigned a special hunt permit (i.e., shown as “selected”) when they should not have been drawn.

Here’s what we are doing to try and make it right:

WDFW is not re-doing the special hunt permit draw. The original draw on June 12 developed a correctly ranked list of hunt applicants to assign available hunt choices based on tag availability. However, because the allocation of permits was incorrect due to a software error, WDFW is re-allocating special hunt choices to correct the mistake.

Different hunters may be impacted in different ways:

  • The majority of 2024 special hunt permit applications’ draw results did not change after correcting this error. 
  • Some applicants may have been assigned one hunt choice at the time of the initial draw and have now been assigned a different hunt choice after we corrected this mistake. In some of these cases, the applicant is awarded a more preferred hunt choice based on what they indicated in their application, and others might have received a less preferred, but correct hunt choice based on the allocation of available permits.
  • There were 723 hunt applicants not initially selected in the June 12 draw that should have been selected. These hunt applicants were issued the special hunt permit that they should have originally been drawn for.
  • There were 738 hunt applicants that were incorrectly selected and told by WDFW that they received a special permit after the June 12 draw. 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.

Hunters should check their licensing profile for updates to their special hunt permit draw results. WDFW and the software vendor are issuing additional emails, phone calls, and postcards to special hunt permit applicants to inform them about this situation. Applicants can find more information on WDFW’s website.

I cannot overstate my disappointment in this situation and the impacts to hunters. 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.

We know this situation is frustrating and confusing, and we’re here to help. For questions not answered through your licensing profile or on our website, please contact the Department’s Licensing division for assistance (360-902-2464, licensing@dfw.wa.gov).

Thank you,

Kelly Susewind, Director
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.