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Digital tag-application results lack old-school wallop

We live in a time when everything is going digital. While that has made aspects of our life more convenient, I miss some of the old school ways.

Take greeting cards for example. There was a time when my family received several during the holiday season. They came from family members, friends and even mere acquaintances. And there were some from hopeful politicians I didn’t know but who wanted my vote.

My wife and I enjoyed the colorful pictures on these cards and the messages written inside by our loved ones. The fact that greeting cards filled the mailbox where bills normally laid did much to lift our holiday spirits. We always looked forward to receiving those cards and enjoyed our seasonal trips to the mailbox.

Sadly, many of those greeting cards have been replaced by text messages with an animated GIF or an email with a digital photo or two. Where a collection of cards once stood on display during the holiday season there are now just a few. Though digital messages get the job done, there is something missing in the experience.

The same is true when it comes to the results of tag applications. There was a time when waiting for the envelope holding your draw results to arrive was part of the experience. Anticipation built with each daily trip to the mailbox. Then one day the envelope finally arrived. You checked the return address and verified it was the envelope you had been waiting for. Your feelings were a mixture of excitement and anxiety.

What if you were unsuccessful? Then again, what if you weren’t?

In their excitement, some hunters opened the envelope right there at the mailbox. While others carefully carried the treasured envelope back to their house where they could open it in a more personal setting. There they carefully opened the envelope and slid out the contents.

Today those results generally come in a digital envelope of sorts. Just the other day I received an email with a subject line that read, “UDWR 2022 Turkey Draw – Results.” There were no daily walks to the mailbox, just a multitude of checks on my smartphone. Then one day the results dinged their way into my digital inbox.

There was no envelope to examine or carry back home. Instead, I simply closed the inbox and waited for a quiet moment of the day to click on the email. There was still some excitement and that old familiar feeling of anxiety. I double-checked the return email address. When satisfied I touched the screen.

The attachment opened to a simple email that said, “Thank you for applying in Utah’s Turkey hunt drawing. Your results are as follows …”

I was eager to know the results but at the same time was anxious about the contents. After a minute or two I read on.

The next line was simple and to the point. “UNSUCCESSFUL: Turkey.”

It was then I realized that some things don’t change with technology. Not completely anyway. The results of my turkey tag application may have come in a digital package rather than in a paper envelope, but their impact was just the same as if they had been on paper.

I was disappointed. I suppose that had I been successful, I would have been just as excited as if they had come in an envelope.

Here’s hoping future emails carry different draw results for each of us.

In the meantime, the Arizona Game Fish Department is now accepting applications for its 2022 pronghorn and elk permit tags. The deadline is Feb. 8. You, can apply online at www.azgfd.gov.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com

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