By Arizona Game and Fish Department
It started decades ago with names being scribbled on small pieces of paper, inserted into empty capsules and then deposited into a container from which the lucky few would be drawn, often by a youngster chosen from the crowd in the State Capitol Annex Building.
Over the years, actual paper applications would be dumped into a raffle ticket drum and given a spin under the guidance of law enforcement officials — and under the watchful eye of hopeful hunters who would be packed into the annex building’s rotunda.
Eventually, applications could be mailed or dropped off at any department office throughout the state. Then, beginning in 2012, a commitment was made to move forward and venture into the world of doing business online.
My, how far the application process for hunt permit-tags issued through the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s random draws has come over time.
Game and Fish continually strives to deliver online products and services that better serve its customers. A major goal was recently achieved when the department, using several process improvement tools within the Arizona Management System (AMS) that Gov. Doug Ducey has brought to state government, was able to reduce the amount of time and manpower required to process applications. The state’s hunters, who only a few years ago waited 40, 50, even 65 days to receive draw results, now are getting the news in 25 days or less.
Case in point: A record 392,658 total applicants vied for hunt permit-tags in last year’s three big game draws (pronghorn and elk, fall, and spring). Those applicants learned whether or not they would be participating in a hunt in a record 24 days for both the pronghorn and elk, and fall draws.
The news only gets better.
In the recently concluded 2020 spring draw for turkey, javelina, bison and bear — the first draw in which the department transitioned to a totally paperless application process — applicants were able to obtain their results by phone or through their portal account in a record 22 days.
“The department has worked long and hard to reduce the amount of time it takes for hunters to get draw results,” said Jennifer Stewart, customer service branch chief. “That was so important to us from a customer service standpoint. We understood the anxiety that comes with having to wait, often for weeks, to get results.”
The department already is gearing up for the next draw. In early January, the application service will become available for elk and pronghorn hunters. The largest of the three annual draws saw a record 178,323 total applicants contend for 26,190 hunt permit-tags back in early 2019.
That’s just a few more applications than would fit into a raffle ticket drum.