Whitehorse Daily Star

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Gord Zealand and Roxanne Stasyszyn

YG error having ‘significant impact’ on hunters

Some hunters in the territory are upset after learning a redraw is being done in a lottery for the issuing of permit hunt authorizations for a number of species in the territory.

By Palak Mangat on July 9, 2018

Some hunters in the territory are upset after learning a redraw is being done in a lottery for the issuing of permit hunt authorizations for a number of species in the territory.

That’s according to the Yukon Fish and Game Association, which said it began hearing concerns from some of its members last week.

“People were notified one minute that they were successful and the next that they were going to have to be placed on hold,” executive director Gord Zealand told the Star this morning.

He said it’s unfortunate that the Department of Environment had to call for a redraw, but understands why it had to be done.

“Obviously we’re not in a great situation, but at the same time, we want to make sure that everything is fair,” he said.

That fairness is something the government saw as potentially compromised in the initial draw.

“We had to make this decision, which was not easy,” Roxanne Stasyszyn said today.

She is the director of communications and public engagement with the department. She said the decision was made in an effort to ensure public confidence in the lottery system while still trying to “balance transparency and fairness with that timeliness.”

“It was not a fair draw; we couldn’t stand behind” it, Stasyszyn added.

The issue arose and was noted the day successful applicants were notified of results from the initial draw.

A department webpage lists that the Yukon Bureau of Statistics “recommended a redraw after an error was discovered in the data relating to permit returns and reissuances from the 2017-18 year.”

Lottery results for hunting permits of caribou, moose, sheep and mountain goat are in the process of being redrawn after this error.

“It has a significant impact; there’s no two ways about it,” Zealand said.

“I do know that sheep draws are the most sought after,” he noted, while ones for goats are a bit harder to get.

Sheep permits available for this year are 115, while there are just three for goats, Stasyszyn said.

“What happened was the data didn’t reflect any returns or reissuances,” she added, referring to the weighting system that the department uses.

Once applicants are awarded a permit, their weighting drops down to zero, meaning they have a lower chance of being awarded another permit come the following year.

Applicants who are not offered a permit for a longer period of time have a higher likelihood of being chosen next year.

“The more you apply and are unsuccessful, the better your chances get” at being picked for the following years. “Your weight increases,” Stasyszyn explained.

This time around, though, that data did not take into consideration the weighting from the previous year – meaning the results might have been unfair.

“Last year, anyone who returned a permit or accepted a reissued one, their weighting didn’t change going into this year’s data,” Stasyszyn said.

“The returns and reissuances process is quite cumbersome,” she admitted.

Stasyszyn did sympathize with the frustration of some applicants, though.

“As a department, we know that reasonable hunters are well-prepared hunters,” she said.

Getting time off from work, having the ability to travel and prepping for gear and some physical training means some hunters need as much notice as possible, she added.

The department accepts applications in May of each year, and usually notifies successful applicants by the end of June.

“Generally, our species sweet spot is five years; you need to apply for five years to have a really good” chance, she added.

There are more than 200 permits available for this year, with the breakdown as follows: 34 for caribou, 38 for moose, one for Kluane sheep, three for goats, four for elk, and 12 for deer.

The greatest number of permits available are for sheep, at 115.

“The redraw is happening as we speak,” Stasyszyn explained, noting that the Yukon Bureau of Statistics is the body in charge of it.

The department hopes to notify those who are successful from the redraw by as early as Tuesday, even though applicants are able to return it within a 10-day grace period of it being offered.

Stasyszyn pointed out that means that “just because you don’t get a call (on Tuesday), it doesn’t mean you won’t get offered a permit” as hunting season draws closer.

She did note, though, that as the calendar inches toward August, it becomes more common for some to reject the offer of the permit.

That’s mainly because of the short notice people have to prepare by buying gear, planning vacations and even physically training to hunt some species.

Zealand echoed this, saying the main concern was the unfortunate timing of the error.

With just under a month left until hunting season gets underway, he said it simply takes away from how long hunters have to prep and scout for the season, if they choose to do so.

“It’s going to be a bit of a scramble, to say the least,” he said, adding that some have been waiting years to be picked.

Stasyszyn acknowledged this, saying “it is a lottery in the true sense of the word.”

Hearing of a mix-up regardless of how quickly the department reacted “is not great news to receive.

“I’ve been on the phone with many angry hunters,” she said.

The department realized “within a day that something went wrong here,” Stasyszyn said.

She added that last Thursday was when she began reaching out to those applicants who were successful to let them know of the “inadvertent error.”

Still, Zealand said he can “understand the cards are on the table; what’s done it done.”

He added he is grateful to the department for catching the error – the first of its kind, Stasyszyn confirmed – and trying to remedy it as soon as possible.

The department noted that it does not expect the redraw to push back the Aug. 1 date, which is the absolute last day it tries to reissue returned permits by.

Lottery results already drawn for elk, deer and Kluane sheep will not be impacted.

Comments (15)

Up 4 Down 2

BnR on Jul 12, 2018 at 6:57 pm

Mieky(?) From the pedantic to full-on mansplaining! Bold move my friend, bold move.
BTW, when you refer to "can't stop progress etc", I guess you are referring to this YG cockup? Well, if that's progress, I'll go back to the "good old days" when the PHAs were sent out without this sort of fiasco.
PS, I'm betting you sport both a beard AND a man bun.

Up 3 Down 4

Kon on Jul 12, 2018 at 5:05 pm

Bandit you are insulting and hurtful, you 2 opinion and bnr. you cannot accept the valid views of others so you resort to insults. That is sad. So, so Sad.

Up 3 Down 7

woodcutter on Jul 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Here's an idea, how about we shut down the hunting for trophy's ? All you wanna be "men" who get your s**s and giggles killing animals now argue because you didn't win a murder lottery, are now turning on each other. It's great to see. Perhaps then I would not have to contend with gun fire around the bush while I am working, or have quads with camo draped pot bellied goateed baseball caps wearing hunters encroaching on my work space.

It would be nice to enjoy nature, for natures sake and not worry if this is the year some gun totting Yukoner mistakes me, my dogs, my equipment for a "trophy" and blows holes thru it.

It's obvious no ones happy with it, with all the conservative sniveling going on. Blaming the elected members, arguing about spelling and just being big man babies. Shut it down then you'd make me happy, as well as the wildlife.

Up 1 Down 0

AL. FEDORIAK on Jul 12, 2018 at 4:31 pm

It is obvious that the DM & ADM have something that they are focused on other than their Job description. They and other know where their priorities lie or are laid.

Up 12 Down 2

Bandit on Jul 12, 2018 at 3:39 pm

BnR & My Opinion
Shame on the 2 of you. Youv'e got poor Mikey so rattled he/she can't even spell their name. So is it Mikey, Mickey or Mieky?

And yes, the Westmark is still the Travelodge, The Benn Elle AKA the Gold Rush Inn, The 4th avenue residence AKA The Hi Country Inn CIBC sits on the footprint that once was the Whitehorse Inn etc. etc. etc.
Sorry to get off topic but Mikey there are still a lot of us "hang on to the good old days' Yukoners" still around and your family may have been here in the "50s but it sounds like they left before you were born. And I still say The Yukon.

Up 3 Down 11

Mieky on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:28 pm

@ BnR
Thanks for perpetuating the stereotype of ill informed, unable to progress/learn and 'hang on to the good old days' Yukoners. Thank God they are a dying breed.
You can't stop progress no matter how pigheaded you are. It must just drive you crazy when you see 'Outsiders' building a better life than you in just a few short years, eh? Those young whipper-snappers with their book-smarts and shiny cars.

@ My opinion
Thanks for the assumptions but my family came here in the early 1950s with the Army. Oh, and news flash being an oldtimer doesn't weigh your vote or opinion over someone who just arrived. They still pay taxes, vote and contribute to the community/society.

Up 11 Down 2

BnR on Jul 11, 2018 at 6:35 am

Mikey, glad to see a pedant showed up, just in the nick of time too!
Regardless, those of us who have lived here for any length of time will know exactly what is being referred to. Thanks for helping out though.

Up 13 Down 1

My Opinion on Jul 10, 2018 at 7:53 pm

You are obviously a newcomer and are likely part of the problem, as you seem to know your way through the directory. Oh, and by the way, I call this place "The Yukon" and if you do not like it, you can go back to where you came from. Ontario Likely.

Up 3 Down 11

BB on Jul 10, 2018 at 6:39 pm

News goes out at the end of June, and on June 5, the people were contacted to be told the draw would be held again in order to ensure people who had not won in years past were weighted to win this year.

I know this is a big disappointment kids, but be strong and carry on. And if you do not 'win' the chance to kill something, you can always go camping anyway and not kill anything. How 'bout that! Takes all the fun out of it for some people I guess, and that's not right. Get out there and enjoy yourselves anyway.

Up 13 Down 2

Yukon Watchdog on Jul 10, 2018 at 3:31 pm

YG couldn't stand behind it because it was unfair? Say what? That would be a first in the history of all time! YG only cares about things being unfair when it helps them, not at ANY other time.

I bet the real reason is some Minister's friend didn't get a permit.....

Up 6 Down 19

Mikey on Jul 10, 2018 at 2:00 pm

@ BnR: 'Renewable' hasn't been a thing for more than a decade. It's the Department of Environment.

@ My Opinion: YTG also hasn't been a thing for more than a decade, It's YG or Yukon Government.

Time to get a 2018 copy of the Whiners Dictionary fellas.

Up 9 Down 4

My Opinion on Jul 9, 2018 at 10:06 pm

YTG can't get anything right these days. Have to roll out everything again. Maybe some heads should roll. If this was your job and you blew it, maybe you need to get a different job.

Couldn't get the Tire and Computer Tax correct either. Do your job guys.

Up 8 Down 4

YFGA Member on Jul 9, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Gord Zealand is the executive director for the Fish and Game Association.
Why is our president not speaking on this?

Up 10 Down 5

BnR on Jul 9, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Another screw up under the Libs? Say it isn't so!
Word has it that morale in renewable is at an all time low. Look in the YG jobs, they have lost a few very good biologists recently. It's almost like incompetence is the new MO under the Silver gov.

Up 7 Down 1

What? on Jul 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm

So Gord is in favour of a draw that doesn't include all eligible hunters?

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