The lottery hunts suck as they stand right now. I had a meeting a couple of years ago with Bob Ellis from the DGIF over several issues including the lottery hunt system. The amount of money the DGIF gives away to a vendor in New York is crazy. If you do the quick math on the entire lottery system, you will see a very large sum of money that could be used right here in Virginia. (After they changed the law on what to do with revenue generated to keep it out of the hands of other departments) There are several thousand applicants for the swans hunt alone. TIMES $7.50 each equaled about $10k for just the swan hunt last season. Then you add in Hog Island, Back Bay Impoundments, Back Bay float hunts, Deer hunts, bear hunts, rabbit hunts etc. You see a huge pile of money starting to build. With the money, the DGIF could hire two full time administrators (for the entire year), buy a random number generator program and still have money left over for added benefits to the commonwealth. The lottery suck and it is here to stay unfortunately.
The way the waterfowl hunts are run poorly. Why do they only allow only one day of hunting on the Back Bay and Hog Island Impoundments? If you take the number of Saturdays (It used to be Wednesdays at Back Bay until I asked them to change it) in the season and multiply it by four (the number of hunters selected for the day) you end up with forty four hunters selected for the entire season at Back Bay. I think it was eleven days available to hunt. I say that is not nearly enough hunts days for these areas and scientific surveys have proven, hunting more than one day per week does not hurt the population. NOT PLANTING A VIABLE FOOD SOURCE OR PUTTING WATER IN THE IMPOUNDMENTS DOES THAT. Last season, there was once again no water in the WATERFOWL impoundments. The State waits until the weekend before to send resources to the area to begin flooding and there is a stiff north wind blowing....ahah....no water to be found in the ditches leading from the bay.
As for the floating blind hunts on Back Bay, why can’t the DGIF issue a hunter a single number for the entire year? Many states use this method with success. Simply give the person a single number they drop in a hat when they arrive and have someone draw out the numbered tags to get the blind for the day. Then hang your number on the board and when you are done hunting, remove it from the board. (A built in safety check system) When you sign in to put your name in the hat, all members in your party are required to sign in too. (No double dipping) One tag in the hat per hunting party and there are no exceptions. Also add you boat id number. That system was way too complicated for the state to implement. They say there will be cheating. Sort of like having everyone you know draw for numbers and drag them hunting. This is why we now have numbers into the six hundreds when the high numbers were in the two hundreds three seasons ago. My sons are guest, not hunters, so they do not get numbers. This year they will. Last season, I had two numbers under 100 as did many of my friends and hunting partners. We draw for blinds each day so this method is no different than the system in place except not know you have a certain number for a specific date. All the guys who seem to always get number one, two or three will be upset. Every season the DGIF screws the system up somehow. Two seasons ago, some members were dropped out for the Jr. Sr. name thing and they were not allow to get numbers as they were all drawn and sent out to applicants. Others were dropped out due to using one email address or one credit card. If they went to a single number for the entire season, they could issue a new number at any time due to clerical errors. FYI, the DGIF employees gave up their numbers selected in the lottery system to give to non-DGIF employees due to several mishaps in the system. That was not fair to ask of them because many of the guys who gave up their numbers, we not allowed to hunt. It was a voluntary thing however.
I do not have an opinion on the hog, deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, or quail hunts as I do not put in for those. I imagine they are run pretty smooth as they are completely different than waterfowl hunts.
I'm off my soapbox now.