Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Deer Season Questions and Answers

Every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department receives questions from deer hunters who want to clarify rules and regulations. Some common questions are listed below. Hunters with further questions are encouraged to visit big game, white-tailed and mule deer, under the hunting link at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov., or call 701-328-6300, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays.

 

What licenses do I need for deer gun season? A general game and habitat stamp or a combination license, and the deer license. Gratis license holders need only the gratis license. The deer license is mailed after the general game and habitat license is purchased.

 

I have a concurrent season license. When can I use it? The license can be used during the archery season with a bow; the deer gun season with a bow, rifle or muzzleloader; or the muzzleloader season with a muzzleloader. You are restricted to the type of antlerless deer printed on the license and must stay in the unit to which the license is assigned.

 

I can’t find my deer license. What should I do? You must obtain an application for a duplicate license from the Game and Fish Department. Fill out the form, have it notarized and return it to the Department along with a fee. You may not hunt without the deer license in your possession. If you find the original license after receiving a replacement, you must return the original to a local game warden or Game and Fish office.

 

Can hunters age 13, 14 or 15 (in 2019) with a youth season license who did not harvest a deer during the youth season, hunt the regular deer gun season with this license? Yes, but you are subject to the restrictions listed on the license.

 

I was unsuccessful in filling my mule deer buck license in a restricted unit during the youth season. Can I hunt the remainder of the state during the regular gun season? No. You are restricted to the same unit as during the youth season.

 

I shot a deer, but it is rotten. What can I do? You must take possession of the animal by tagging it. A license only allows you the opportunity to hunt. It is not a guarantee to harvest a deer, or to the quality of the animal.

 

What should I do if I find a wounded deer? Contact a game warden. Do not shoot the deer unless you want to tag it or are instructed by the warden to do so.

 

Is camouflage blaze orange acceptable for the deer gun season? No. You must wear both a hat and outer garment above the waistline totaling at least 400 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange.

 

I hunt with a bow. When do I have to wear orange? Only during the regular deer gun season.

 

Can I hunt road rights-of-way? Do not hunt on road rights-of-way unless you are certain they are open to public use. Most road rights-of-way are easements under control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed to hunting.

 

Can I hunt on a section line if it is posted on both sides? No. If the land is posted on both sides, the section line is closed to hunting, but is still open for travel.

 

Can I hunt over bait on private land? It is unlawful to hunt over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, in deer hunting units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 north of U.S. Highway 2, 3B1, 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

 

What if I want to have a mount made by a taxidermist and take the meat to a butcher shop? How do I keep the tag with it all? The tag should remain with the antlers and the carcass tag should remain with the meat.

 

I shot a deer in a unit that has carcass transportation restrictions (3A1, 3B1, 3F2). What field dressing restrictions must I follow? Hunters cannot transport the whole carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit. Exceptions: meat that has been boned out; quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; meat that is cut and wrapped either commercially or privately; hides with no heads attached; skull plates with antlers attached having no hide or brain tissue present; intact skulls with the hide, eyes, lower jaw and associated soft tissue removed, and no visible brain or spinal cord tissue present; antlers with no meat or tissue attached; upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers or ivories; and finished taxidermy heads. However, hunters can transport the whole deer carcass between units 3A1 and 3B1 during any open deer season.

 

Can I retrieve a wounded deer from posted land? If the deer was shot on land where you had a legal right to be and it ran onto posted land, you may retrieve it. However, you may not take a firearm or bow with you. The department suggests contacting the landowner as a courtesy prior to entering.

 

What if the landowner says I cannot retrieve a deer from posted land that was shot on land where I had a right to be? Contact a game warden.

 

Can I drive off a trail on private land to retrieve a deer? Unless prohibited by a landowner or operator, you may drive off-trail on private land once a deer has been killed and properly tagged. You must proceed to the carcass by the shortest accessible route and return to the road or trail by the same route.

 

Can I transport someone else’s deer? Yes, but you will need a transportation permit from a game warden. The license holder, person transporting the animal, and the carcass must be presented to the game warden before the permit is issued.

 

May I carry a pistol when I am hunting with a deer rifle? Yes, but the handgun must meet minimum requirements listed in the deer hunting regulations to be legal for taking deer.

 

Can I carry both bow and gun afield during deer gun season if I have both licenses? Yes, but only if you are going to fill your gun license. No firearms, except handguns, may be in the hunter’s possession while hunting with a deer bow license. However, handguns may not be used in any manner to assist in the harvest of a deer with an archery license.

Hunters Use Caution on Roadways

With wet conditions abating enough to allow many North Dakota producers to start or continue row crop harvest, the State Game and Fish Department reminds hunters to avoid parking along roadways or field approaches where vehicles could block travel by farm machinery.

“We’ve received numerous calls from farmers who are unable to get machinery around vehicles parked along rural roadways,” said Jeb Williams, wildlife division chief for Game and Fish. “As fields continue to dry out, we’ll see more and more harvest activity, and we urge hunters to keep that in mind as they are choosing where to park when accessing hunting areas.”

Williams said traveling hunters should also watch for approaching farm machinery and pull well to the side of the road or find an approach when meeting combines, grain trucks or tractors pulling equipment. “The window for harvest is tight this year,” Williams added. “We urge hunters to keep that in mind until harvest activity winds down.”

CWD Surveillance Continues

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2019 hunting season by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease from units in more than half of the state.

 

Samples from hunter-harvested deer taken in the eastern portion of the state will be tested from units 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F1, 2F2, 2G, 2G1, 2G2 and 2L. In addition, deer will be tested in the northwest from units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 (that portion of the unit north of U.S. Highway 2) and 3B1, in the west from units 4B and 4C, and in the southwest from units 3C (the portion of the unit west of the Missouri River), 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

 

Game and Fish wildlife veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson said surveillance is conducted to estimate where CWD is located, and to determine the infection rate in the area. He said the department uses the information to guide its efforts in managing the impacts of the disease.

 

“CWD has not been found in the eastern third of the state and our surveillance goal in that area is to confidently say that it is still not present in the area,” Bahnson said. “We need to test a lot of deer to reach that conclusion, so it is important for hunters to consider dropping off their deer for testing.”

 

Bahnson mentioned it’s likely that additional positive deer will be found this fall in units 3A1, 3B1, 3F2 and 4B where CWD has been previously detected. “Infection rates are relatively low in those areas, but only a small portion of hunters have submitted heads for testing,” he added. “Most infected deer will look perfectly healthy and the only way to tell is by having them tested.”

 

Hunters are encouraged to drop off the head of an adult or yearling deer at one of nearly 100 collection sites across the state. Hunters wishing to keep the deer head can bring it to a Game and Fish district office during business hours to have it sampled. Fawns and head-shot deer cannot be tested. Testing results will be provided to hunters within 2-3 weeks by email or text message, based on their preferred communication method listed on their Game and Fish account. To add or update contact information, visit My Account at the department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

 

Hunters should note a carcass or head of a white-tailed deer or mule deer taken from deer hunting units 3A1, 3B1 or 3F2; a moose from moose hunting unit M10; or an elk from elk hunting unit E6; may not be transported to a collection site outside of the unit. Exceptions: deer heads taken in units 3A1 or 3B1 may be transported between those units, and moose heads taken in unit M10 may be delivered to the collection sites at the Williston Game and Fish office and at the North Dakota State Fair grounds in Minot.

 

More information on CWD, including transportation restrictions, is available at the Game and Fish website.

 

Hunters are encouraged to drop off deer heads at the following locations:

 

  • Alexander – Sather Lake Recreation Area
  • Beach – Gooseneck Implement
  • Belfield – Badlands Taxidermy, Superpumper
  • Bismarck – 3Be Meats, Game and Fish Department, West Dakota Meats
  • Blaisdell – BJ Taxidermy
  • Bottineau – Mattern Family Meats
  • Bowbells – The Joint
  • Cando – K&E Meats
  • Carrington – Barton Meats
  • Casselton – Casselton Tesoro
  • Cooperstown – Miller’s Fresh Foods, OCD Taxidermy
  • Crosby – Cenex/New Century Ag
  • Devils Lake – Lake Region Sportsmen’s Club/City Sanitation Department, Game and Fish Department
  • Dickinson – Game and Fish Department, Wildlife Creations
  • Dunseith – Wayne’s Food Pride
  • Edgeley – Cenex
  • Elgin – Gunny’s Bait and Tackle, Melvin’s Taxidermy
  • Ellendale – True Value
  • Enderlin – Maple Valley Lockers
  • Fargo – NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Prime Cut Meats
  • Flasher – 8 miles east on N.D. Highway 21
  • Fordville – Jelinek Brother Taxidermy
  • Fort Yates – Prairie Knights Quik Mart
  • Glen Ullin – Kuntz’s Butcher Shop
  • Grafton – Tractor Supply
  • Grand Forks – Grand Forks Gun Club
  • Grassy Butte – Sweet Crude Travel Center
  • Great Bend – Manock Meats
  • Grenora – Farmer’s Union
  • Gwinner – Stoppleworth Taxidermy
  • Hettinger – Dakota Packing
  • Horace – J&K Taxidermy
  • Jamestown – Game and Fish Department, Windish’s Deer Processing
  • Kenmare – Farmer’s Union, Jessica Ware’s Taxidermy
  • Lakota – Zimprich Taxidermy
  • LaMoure – LaMoure Lockers
  • Langdon – Farmer’s Union Cenex, Hursman Taxidermy
  • Larimore – E-Z Stop Convenience Store
  • Linton – BP Taxidermy, Bosch’s Meat Market, Scherr’s Meats
  • Lisbon – Sheyenne National Grasslands Office
  • Mandan – Butcher Block Meats
  • Mapleton – Jason’s Taxidermy
  • Mayville – Cenex
  • Milnor – Milnor Locker
  • Minot – AAA Taxidermy, Blom’s Locker and Processing, Frenchy’s Taxidermy, State Fairgrounds, Wallen’s Taxidermy
  • Mohall – Engebretson Processing, Farmer’s Union
  • Mott – 4 Corners Car Wash
  • New Leipzig – Hertz Hardware, and 12 miles south on N.D. Highway 49
  • New Town – Three Affiliated Tribes Fish and Wildlife Office
  • New Rockford – Risovi Taxidermy Studio
  • Oakes – Butcher Block
  • Park River – Jim’s Super Valu
  • Powers Lake – Farmer’s Union
  • Ray – Horizon-Cenex
  • Reynolds – Weber’s Meats
  • Rolette – The Meat Shack
  • Rugby – Cenex
  • Scranton – Wolf’s Meat Processing
  • Selfridge – Cenex
  • Sheyenne – Wild Things Taxidermy
  • Solen – Hettich Salvage
  • Stanley – Ace Hardware
  • Tioga – Recycling Center
  • Valley City – Valley Meat Supply
  • Wahpeton – Aber Taxidermy, David’s Taxidermy, J&R Taxidermy
  • Walcott – Brantley’s Antlers
  • Walhalla – North Dakota Forest Service
  • Watford City – Farmer’s Union Cenex
  • West Fargo – West Fargo City Sanitation
  • Williston – Bickler Taxidermy, Dave’s Heads or Tails Taxidermy, Mounts By Mert, Game and Fish Department, Zerr’s Taxidermy

CWD Detected in McKenzie County

Two mule deer taken in September have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, including one taken during the archery season from deer gun unit 4B in McKenzie County, where CWD had not previously been found. The other deer was harvested during the youth season in unit 3A1 in Divide County where CWD was first detected last fall.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson said the finding in 4B marks the first detection of CWD in the badlands.

“This is an iconic place to hunt big game where people travel to from across the state,” Bahnson said. “By no means does this first detection spell doom for hunting in this area, as long as we are proactive in trying to keep infection rates from climbing. We also need to reduce the chance of CWD spreading to new areas.”

Game and Fish will review its CWD management strategy after the deer rifle season and will consider making revisions for next season. While unit 4B does not have carcass transportation restrictions in place for 2019, Bahnson does recommend that hunters in 4B submit their deer for testing, and avoid transporting high-risk carcass parts, such as the brain and spinal column, outside of the hunting unit.

More information on CWD, including transportation regulations, can be found by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov/cwd.

General Game and Habitat License Required for Deer Hunters

Deer hunters are reminded of a state law that requires hunters to purchase a general game and habitat license before receiving a deer license.

 

North Dakota Century Code 20.1-03-02 reads “a person may not acquire any resident or nonresident license to hunt, catch, take or kill any small game or big game animal unless that person first obtains an annual general game license.”

 

Just like last year, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is not mailing deer licenses until the recipient has purchased the general game and habitat license. Game and Fish recommends that deer hunters who do not yet have a general game license should get theirs well in advance of the planned hunt to allow for adequate delivery time to receive the deer license through the mail.

 

The general game and habitat license can be purchased online by visiting My Account at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

 

Also, it’s important to locate your deer license and check it for accuracy, making sure the unit and species is what is intended.

 

Deer hunters who can’t find their deer license and who have already purchased their general game and habitat license, can get a replacement license by printing out a duplicate (replacement) license application from the Game and Fish website, or can request an application by calling 701-328-6300.

 

The form must be completed and notarized, and sent back into the department with the appropriate fee.

General Game and Habitat License Required for Deer Hunters

Deer hunters are reminded of a state law that requires hunters to purchase a general game and habitat license before receiving a deer license.

 

North Dakota Century Code 20.1-03-02 reads “a person may not acquire any resident or nonresident license to hunt, catch, take or kill any small game or big game animal unless that person first obtains an annual general game license.”

 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will only mail deer licenses after the general game and habitat license is purchased. It is important to buy this license well in advance of the planned hunt to allow for adequate delivery time to receive the deer license through the mail.

 

The general game and habitat license can be purchased online by visiting My Account at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

 

Also, it’s important

Motorists Warned to Watch for Deer

Motorists are reminded to watch for deer along roadways this time of year because juvenile animals are dispersing from their home ranges.

 

October through early December is the peak period for deer-vehicle accidents. Motorists are advised to slow down and exercise caution after dark to reduce the likelihood of encounters with deer along roadways. Most deer-vehicle accidents occur primarily at dawn and dusk when deer are most often moving around.

 

Motorists should be aware of warning signs signaling deer are in the area. When you see one deer cross the road, look for a second or third deer to follow. Also, pay attention on roadways posted with Deer Crossing Area caution signs.

 

Deer-vehicle accidents are at times unavoidable. If an accident does happen, law enforcement authorities do not have to be notified if only the vehicle is damaged. However, if the accident involves personal injury or other property damage, then it must be reported.

 

In addition, a permit is required before taking possession of a road-killed deer. Permits are free and available from game wardens and local law enforcement offices.

 

A few precautions can minimize chances of injury or property damage in a deer-vehicle crash.

  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Don’t swerve or take the ditch to avoid hitting a deer. Try to brake as much as possible and stay on the roadway. Don’t lose control of your vehicle or slam into something else to miss the deer. You risk less injury by hitting the deer.
  • If you spot deer ahead, slow down immediately and honk your horn.

Deer Season for Young Hunters Opens Sept. 13

Friday, Sept. 13 at noon Central Time signals the start of a nine-and-a-half-day deer hunting season for youth, and hunters are reminded that a 2019 general game and habitat license must be purchased before the state Game and Fish Department mails the youth deer license.

 

Hunters are encouraged to purchase the required license early, since it takes a couple of days to receive the deer license in the mail.

 

Licensed residents ages 11, 12 and 13, and 10-year-olds who turn age 11 in 2019, are allowed to hunt statewide, but only for antlerless white-tailed deer.

 

Resident deer gun hunters age 14 or 15, and 13-year-olds who turn age 14 in 2019, with a “youth season” license, can hunt statewide for any deer, except a special license is required to hunt antlered mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

 

After opening day, hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Solid daylight fluorescent orange vests or coats, and hats, are required for all young hunters and their adult mentors.

 

Each youth deer hunter must be under direct supervision of an adult while in the field.

 

The youth deer season closes Sunday, Sept. 22.

Applications for Remaining Deer Licenses due July 24

North Dakota residents who were unsuccessful in the initial deer lottery are reminded the deadline to submit an application for a remaining license is July 24.

Unsuccessful applicants must apply online by visiting the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. More than 6,000 deer gun licenses remain in 19 units.

In addition, hunters should note that Game and Fish will not mail deer licenses to successful applicants until after they purchase a valid 2019-20 hunting license. All deer hunters, regardless of age, are required to have a general game and habitat license in addition to their deer license. Hunters who have already purchased this 2019-20 license do not have to purchase another one.