FWP News: FWP to fix mistake in moose, big horn sheep draw
By angelamontana

Posted: May 17, 2023

HELENA – A mistake in last week’s drawing for some moose and big horn sheep licenses will result in fewer licenses issued than were originally drawn.

The mistake occurred when quotas were incorrectly entered into the drawing system by licensing staff and resulted in more licenses being drawn in some districts than what the quota dictated.

The affected sheep licenses are:

  • 482-20: drew 20 applicants, but the quota was 15.
  • 482-30: drew 40 applicants, but the quota was five.
  • 622-30: drew 20 applicants, but the quota was 10.
  • 680-31: drew 40 applicants, but the quota was 30.

The affected moose licenses are:

  • 270-50: drew three applicants, but the quota was two.
  • 332-00: drew eight applicants, but the quota was six.
  • 341-50: drew three applicants, but the quota was two.

“We know this is disappointing for the people affected by this mistake, and we’re very sorry. We are putting the resource first, and here that means following the science for population management and ensuring that we meet hunters’ expectations for a quality hunt,” said FWP Deputy Director Dustin Temple. “In this circumstance, that means pulling back some of the licenses drawn to ensure the health of the sheep and moose populations in these areas.”

During drawings, FWP’s system allocates licenses in order, meaning the system knows which hunter was the first to be drawn, the second, third and so on. Because the drawings are done in this fashion, FWP staff can determine who was mistakenly awarded licenses beyond the appropriate quota.

“This is the fairest way we know to fix this mistake, but it will mean some hunters who thought they were successful in the drawing, will not get a license,” Temple said.

Quota ranges are determined by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. FWP biologists set annual quotas for many species within the ranges approved by the commission. For instance, the commission might approve a quota range for a moose license of 1 to 10. FWP biologists look at numbers on the landscape, as well as other factors, and set a quota of two for that license.

This solution will be implemented as soon as possible. The moose, sheep, goat and bison drawing occurred May 12. Staff realized the error May 16 and put a block on the ability for successful applicants in the affected districts to purchase their license. FWP staff are removing successful applicants based on their place in line in the original drawing. Once the system completes the corrections, the affected hunters will be notified by phone and email, and their MyFWP accounts will be updated. At this point, successful applicants will be able to purchase their licenses.

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