New Deer Tag Drawing System

Is California's DFG Listening To Deer Hunters?

What follows is a press release from California's Department of Fish and Game. The press release comes this week in the middle of the process that the Fish and Game Commission uses to get input from the public regarding proposed new hunting regulations. In 1998 and again in 2000, proposals from hunters and hunting groups were submitted for a Preference Point System to distribute deer tags. At the present time it is unclear why the DFG has taken the step below.

Stand-by for more information next week on a Preference Point System for California and how you can join us and other hunters in getting your voice heard. In the meantime, let us know what you think of the present system, the new system below, and the need for a Preference Point System —
e-mail us at

DFG Press Release
California deer hunters may soon have a better chance of hunting in their first-choice deer zone, thanks to a new tag drawing system being implemented for this June's deer tag drawing, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced today.

DFG has been examining drawing options and is implementing this new drawing system, called "draw by choice," in response to concerns about the old system, where it was possible for some hunters to receive premium tags with their second or third choice over hunters who selected the same zone for their first choice.

Under this system, each hunter will be assigned a random number by the computer. The new draw-by-choice system will then sort all hunt applications by the hunter's first-choice zone, making sure that all hunters who have selected the same hunts will compete together in the same draws.

Hunters, in order of lowest random number, will then be awarded tags until quotas are filled or all applications have been processed. Remaining applications will be sorted by second and third choice until all hunts are filled or until all applications are processed.

DFG looked at several alternatives to the old system before implementing the new draw-by-choice system. "No system is perfect," said Mike Vader, chief of the DFG's License and Revenue Branch, which oversees the deer tag drawing process. "All the different methods we looked at had pros and cons. The draw-by-choice system was attractive to us not only because we believe it will satisfy more hunters but also because it was the only one of several options we looked at that could be implemented at no added cost to hunters," Vader said.

"Whenever you have a situation where there are more applicants than there are tags, you will have some hunters who are unhappy because they didn't get drawn," Vader said. "This change is part of our ongoing efforts to refine the drawing system so that it is fair, cost-effective and satisfies the majority of hunters."

DFG also plans to conduct a comprehensive statewide survey of deer hunters this year to gather data about how to better meet the needs of hunters.

Hunters wanting more information about the new drawing system can obtain the Department's "2000 Big Game Hunting Guide" or "Tracks," the big game hunting magazine. Both will be available from license agents and DFG offices beginning in mid-April 2000.

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