MDC working to prevent Quick Draw errors

JEFFERSON CITY–The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is taking action to ensure against the recurrence of an error that affected the Quick Draw (QD) waterfowl drawing system at one area for one day.

The error occurred on Nov. 10, when MDC technicians were editing the QD system to increase the number of hunting spots available at Grand Pass Conservation Area (CA). Heavy rainfall had increased the amount of flooded acreage there, allowing the area to accommodate five additional hunting parties. When updating the system, a technician inadvertently deleted more than 900 applications that had been submitted up to that time. The deletions occurred a little more than an hour before the end of the application period at 3 p.m.

As a result, the only applicants who were included in the drawing for Nov. 16 at Grand Pass were hunters who applied after the update.

MDC became aware of the problem on Nov. 14, after a hunter checked to see if he had drawn a reservation for Nov. 15, 16 or 17. The QD system showed he was not drawn for Nov. 15 or 17, but it did not show any record of his application for Nov. 16. He contacted MDC to find out why. MDC personnel immediately tracked down the cause of the problem.

MDC Wildlife Programs Supervisor Shawn Gruber said the agency will send e-mail or text messages to the affected hunters apologizing for the error and promising action to ensure the problem is not repeated.

“It’s ironic that this happened as a result of efforts to provide the maximum hunting opportunity allowed by an increase in wetland acreage,” said Gruber. “The system worked as designed, randomly assigning hunting opportunities to those hunters who applied after the error. Nineteen parties were drawn to hunt, the same as if the deletions had not occurred.”

Noting that “the human element” was the problem in this case, Gruber said MDC is making changes to QD system programming to prevent deletions of existing applications.

MDC initiated QD last year to allocate hunting spots at Grand Pass, Eagle Bluffs and Otter Slough CAs. The system was designed to give hunters more control over when they hunt and to encourage wider participation in hunting opportunities at intensively-managed MDC wetland areas. More information about QD is available at mdc.mo.gov/node/8945.

-Jim Low-