Jan/Feb 2009Drawn to Hunt
When hunters apply for the draw hunts on Category I Designated Waterfowl Areas, their applications are handled by one patient, dedicated person. Her name is Patty Castine, public draw hunt coordinator, and this represents just one of her many responsibilities.
Last year more than three thousand folks applied for hunts on the fourteen Category I areas, and 1,009 were drawn. Winners, Patty calls them, and she's right.
Each year unsuccessful applicants are awarded a preference point. These can accumulate with no maximum, but most are selected with two or three preference points. The annual draw begins with that pool of applicants having the most preference points, thus ensuring their selection if they continue to apply. The system is perfectly fair and equitable and is designed to enhance the prospects of those hunters not previously drawn.
Patty offers these tips for hopeful duck hunters:
- Remember, the system selects the applicant based upon the person on the application with the least number of preference points.
- Applying singly increases your chances of being drawn because the computer routinely discovers openings for one hunter after groups have been accommodated. She calls it "looking for odd slots."
- Be flexible. Applications for "any site, any day" have the best chance of being drawn. Certainly there are favored WMAs, and last year's harvest rates are available online, but it can be difficult to get drawn for these because, obviously, they are most sought after.