Arizona's Hunters’ Passion for Draw Results Overwhelms Website; Results Now Available
Draw results site for elk, pronghorn antelope hunts is now accessible
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s online hunt draw system website, hosted by an outside vendor, became unavailable from Monday afternoon through early Tuesday morning as thousands of hopeful hunters tried to log on and learn whether their applications had been drawn for the upcoming elk and pronghorn antelope season.
Officials have attributed the problem to extraordinary demand on the system to view draw results, and not a failure of the hunt draw or application processes.
Draw results were posted early Monday afternoon, and the draw results system initially worked as planned. But as large numbers of people tried to access the system simultaneously, it slowed dramatically and ultimately shut down, which impacted the ability of the public to access it. The vendor temporarily disabled the site to work on the problem.
The high demand not only temporarily disabled the draw results website, but also temporarily affected other Arizona state agency websites served by the vendor. Neither the vendor nor the Arizona Strategic Enterprise Technology Office (ASET - Arizona’s IT agency), had seen that magnitude of load, as no other state website draws it.
Department officials stated the vendor and ASET worked on the problem through the night to implement measures enabling hunters to access their draw results, and the draw results site is now available. Bonus points are being updated throughout the day and they should be fully updated by close of business today.
The department worked extensively with its vendor to prepare for this draw. Officials emphasize that the online application process went smoothly and the draw itself worked exactly as it was intended.
The problem occurred with the system for accessing results. The vendor was advised of the potential demand to which the system would be subjected once draw results became available. But despite estimates of heavy demand and the vendor’s assurances that the system had been adequately load-tested, the actual demand far exceeded those estimates.
“Hunters are passionate about their sport, and they were so eager to discover the draw results that the power of numbers was simply overwhelming,” said Larry Voyles, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “But this situation is unacceptable and our customers deserved better. We’ll be conducting a detailed review of the process and procedures internally and with the vendor to fix problems to ensure they don’t occur in the future.”
On another front, department officials also addressed an inaccurate rumor circulating on some online chat boards that there was a security breach of the department’s customer information database. This did NOT happen. Arizona Game and Fish customer information remains secure.
Some large credit card processors and bank-issued debit and credit card holders across the nation were affected by a data breach discovered in late March. Shortly thereafter, the department was contacted by a small number of people (fewer than 10 at this point) who used credit cards for the draw that were denied by their banks as a result of the breach. Those people contacted us to advise that the credit card they used for the draw had been compromised and they had to cancel their cards.
For those individuals, this occurred after the cut-off date for changing/updating their method of payment for the draw. The department is researching options for the commission and department to deal with the loss of bonus points that could result from a denied credit card and will work on the rules necessary to enable us to deal with identity-theft-driven bonus point issues in the future. While we believe the number of our customers affected by the credit card data breach is small, we will continue to monitor this situation.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department apologizes for any inconvenience customers experienced as a result of the problems with the draw results website.