A moose-stake has left officials feeling sheepish. And some hunters who thought they were getting licenses will not be.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has admitted to, and apologized for, mistakes in last week’s drawing for some moose and big horn sheep licenses. And it will result in fewer licenses issued than were originally drawn. FWP feels the only fair way to correct the error is on a "first-drawn-first-served" basis.

SO, WHAT HAPPENED?

Montana FWP explains that the mistake occurred when quotas were incorrectly entered into the drawing system by staff. The end result was more licenses being drawn in some districts than what the quotas actually were.

It appears that a total of nearly 65 hunters whose names were drawn will not be getting the license they were expecting. The affected districts and numbers of bighorn sheep and moose licenses affected breaks out this way:

SHEEP

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.

Image courtesy of Getty Images, William Watson
Image courtesy of Getty Images, William Watson
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MOOSE

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.

Image courtesy of Getty Images, UrmasPhotoCom
Image courtesy of Getty Images, UrmasPhotoCom
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A Montana FWP spokesperson, Deputy Director Dustin Temple, was quoted as saying, “We know this is disappointing for the people affected by this mistake, and we’re very sorry. We are putting the resource first...that means pulling back some of the licenses drawn to ensure the health of the sheep and moose populations in these areas.”

BACK TO THE "DRAWING" BOARD

During any license drawings, FWP’s system allocates the licenses in order. That means   the system knows the order in which hunters' names were drawn. And of course, this also means FWP can determine who was mistakenly awarded licenses beyond the actual quotas.

Deputy Director Temple also said, “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.” Hard to argue with that.

Because of supply and demand, moose and bighorn sheep tags are not easy draws for Montana hunters. No doubt some hunters are pretty bummed out, thinking they had that tag, then being informed otherwise.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

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