Fish and Game Home

Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Drawing Hunt Permits Information

How Does the Random Drawing Work?

There are 4 types of permit hunts: drawing, registration, Tier I, and Tier II. Only drawing permit hunts require fees and are awarded by lottery.

All drawing permit applications are entered into a computer database. Once entered, each application is carefully checked for 18 potential problems such as duplicate applications for the same hunt, correct hunt numbers, date of birth, hunting license information, etc.

The computer then randomly assigns a number to each hunt on each valid application. The random number is referred to as your "draw number." Party hunt applications receive one draw number for each hunt. That is, both applicants on the party hunt application receive the same draw number per hunt, so if that number is drawn, both party members receive a permit.

Permits are awarded to applicants with the lowest randomly assigned draw numbers up to the number of permits allocated for that particular hunt. If five permits are to be awarded for a particular hunt, the five permits will be given to the first five lowest draw numbers until the total permit allocation is awarded. For example, if four of the five permits have been awarded, and a party application has the next random number, the party application will be skipped. This is because there is only one permit left available, and two permits would have to be awarded for a party application (one for each member of the party). The permit will instead be awarded to the next individual applicant whose number is selected.

After all permits have been tentatively assigned for a particular big game species, the listing is gone through to identify whether any individual has been selected for two permits for that same species. When this occurs, the individual is awarded a permit based upon their first, second or third choice of hunts on the permit application. The other permit is then made available to the first individual applicant with the next lowest draw number.

Alternate lists are used in a few specific hunts to maximize hunting opportunity. The alternate list is generated from all remaining (unselected) applicants using the draw order already assigned in the original random draw. If the applicant originally drawn does not notify the department of intent to hunt by the date required, the next applicant(s) on the alternate list will be offered a permit, until all permits have been awarded.

How can I improve my chances of being drawn for a permit?

  • Apply early! By applying early, there is more time to verify your application and provide you with an opportunity to correct any error.
  • Prior to applying for drawing permit hunts, you must obtain or have applied for an Alaska hunting license.
  • Read the drawing permit hunt application instructions carefully (the instructions are included with the application form). Fill out your application accurately, and submit the correct amount of money with each application.
  • In 1999 about 3,500 hunt applications of the 82,000 submitted were rejected. The most common errors were applying for more than 3 hunts per species, missing or invalid hunting license information, duplicate applications for the same hunt, incorrect or missing residency information, and applications for a hunt which had been won in the previous year. In addition, hunt applications of one party member were invalidated due to errors of the other party member.
  • Apply for a maximum of three hunts per species. Note: you may apply for a total of three hunt choices per big game species, and the chance of winning a permit for a particular species usually increases with each additional hunt applied for. For example, 17% of the hunters who applied for only one caribou hunt number won a permit, while 33% of the hunters who applied for two caribou hunt numbers won a permit, and 46% of those who applied for three caribou hunts won a caribou permit.
  • Apply for less popular hunts (see the table on the bottom of the Drawing Permit Hunt Supplement for the odds of being drawn for any particular hunt).