Yes, it’s a screw-up.
But it could have been worse.
Some 19,000 hunters who entered Minnesota’s black bear license lottery will get a do-over. The Department of Natural Resources had completed the lottery, and thousands of hunters checked online to see if they got a license.
But then DNR officials discovered that the computer had used data from 2009 instead of 2010 to determine hunter preference for the 7,050 available licenses.
“We have a new licensing system, and this is the first time we’ve run the bear lottery with it,’’ Dan Stark, DNR wildlife specialist, said Friday. “We’ll rerun it.’’ The tainted results were posted on the DNR’s website, and some 6,000 people viewed the results.
Some hunters now may wrongly think they’ll be getting a license, while others who thought they failed to get drawn may end up with a license. The good news is the DNR hadn’t sent out postcards to lottery winners yet. And no bear hunters were able to buy licenses.
Stark said the DNR hopes to rerun the lottery the first week of June and post the winners soon thereafter. And then the traditional postcards will go out to winners, too.
“Our job is to conduct a fair and accurate lottery and that’s what we will do,” said Dennis Simon, DNR wildlife section chief.
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The Department of Natural Resources will have field testing stations in Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Swift and Todd counties.
Results mirror results in Minnesota, South Dakota.
Previously, the DNR said it would wait until an annual fall walleye survey was complete on Mille Lacs before determing whether winter walleye fishing could begin Dec. 1.
Deadline to apply is Sept. 24