Computer Glitch Awards—Then Takes Back—Over 2,000 SD Bighorn Sheep Tags

Imagine after years of applying for a coveted hunting tag, you open your email inbox one morning and find a message from the state fish and game office with the word "congratulations!" in the subject line. Then imagine the sinking feeling half an hour later when you receive a follow-up email from the same office saying, "Oops, our bad. Sorry, you're not a winner. Better luck next year."

There's a good chance you know exactly what I'm talking about if you applied for one of South Dakota's two bighorn sheep licenses. Last week a computer glitch inside the South Dakota's Game, Fish & Parks' system incorrectly notified approximately 2,000 bighorn sheep applicants they won one of the prized tags.

Fortunately for the state, there were no errors with the lottery drawing itself, just the manner in which applicants were notified, and someone spotted the oversight and the agency was able to distribute a retraction within 30 minutes.

"We know the high regard that hunters hold for these licenses, and we apologize for the erroneous notification that was sent," Shon Eide, license office supervisor for the Game, Fish and Parks Department said. "At the same time, we want all applicants to know that this was not a security breach within the license system. An incorrect file was downloaded as part of the message process within the secure system. All personal information is safe."

A fish and game representative contacted the two REAL winners by phone, and no, I was not one of them.