Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Deer Lottery Held, Licenses Remain

North Dakota’s deer gun lottery has been held and individual results are available online at the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

Chief of administrative services Kim Kary said moving to an online lottery has resulted in reducing the time between the application deadline and the lottery run date.

“It’s a major benefit in moving to an all online lottery application process,” Kary said.

More than 6,200 deer gun licenses remain. Only resident applicants who were unsuccessful in the lottery can apply for remaining licenses.

More than 81,000 individuals applied for a deer gun lottery license, in addition to about 12,600 gratis applicants. The 2020 deer gun proclamation allows for 69,050 deer gun season licenses.

Unsuccessful applicants can apply online for remaining licenses beginning July 1. The deadline for applying is July 22.

Remaining Deer Gun Licenses

(B = Any Antlerless   C = Antlered Whitetail   D = Antlerless Whitetail   F = Antlerless Mule Deer)

Unit Type Available
2H B 110
3A1 B 527
3B1 D 88
3B2 D 117
3B2 F 147
3B3 D 521
3C D 397
3D1 B 28
3D1 D 223
3D2 B 40
3D2 D 154
3E1 D 216
3E2 B 41
3E2 D 180
3F1 B 172
3F1 D 446
3F2 B 1018
3F2 C 96
3F2 D 786
4B D 130
4C D 86
4D D 95
4E D 113
4F D 359
4F F 185

Leave Baby Animals Alone, Watch for Deer

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department offers a simple message to well-intentioned humans who want to pick up and rescue what appear to be orphaned baby animals this time of year – don’t touch them. Whether it is a young fawn, duckling, cottontail rabbit or a songbird, it is better to just leave them alone.

 

More often than not, young animals are not abandoned or deserted, and the mother is probably nearby. Young wildlife are purposely placed into seclusion by their mothers to protect them from predators.

 

Anytime a young wild animal has human contact its chance for survival decreases significantly. It’s illegal to take wild animals home, and captive animals later returned to the wild will struggle to survive because they do not possess learned survival skills.

 

The only time a baby animal should be picked up is if it is in an unnatural situation, such as a young songbird found on a doorstep. In that case, the young bird could be moved to the closest suitable habitat.

 

Citizens should also steer clear of adult wildlife, such as deer or moose that might wander into urban areas. Crowding stresses animals, and this could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

 

In addition, motorists are reminded to watch for deer along roadways. During the next several weeks young animals are dispersing from their home ranges, and with deer more active during this time, the potential for car‑deer collisions increases.

Deer Gratis Application Online

Landowners who are interested in a 2020 deer gratis license can start the online-only application process now by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. The deadline for applying is June 3.

The general deer and muzzleloader lottery applications will be available online in early May, also with a deadline of June 3.

Since 2018 the Game and Fish Department has opened deer gratis applications a month earlier than prior years to allow additional time for online applications for landowners who are busy with spring farm and ranch activities.

Gratis applicants who have previously applied online will automatically have their land description carried forward to this year’s application. However, any changes with land descriptions from last year’s application must be made prior to submitting the 2020 application.

Applications must be submitted online using a computer or smartphone.  License vendors are unable to process deer gratis applications.

2019 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 57,949 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 37,250 deer during the 2019 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish made available 65,500 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 64 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.3 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 64 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 58 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 78 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 79 percent.

Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 68 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 65 percent.

Game and Fish issued 11,981 gratis licenses in 2019, and 9,767 hunters harvested 5,416 deer, for a success rate of 56 percent.

A total of 1,206 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2019, and 1,040 hunters harvested 426 white-tailed deer (222 antlered, 204 antlerless). Hunter success was 41 percent.

A total of 27,582 archery licenses (24,902 resident, 2,680 nonresident) were issued in 2019. In total, 21,960 bow hunters harvested 8,978 deer (7,988 whitetails, 990 mule deer), for a success rate of 41 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2020. In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, Game and Fish staff monitor other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

Nonresident Any-Deer Bow Licenses

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 780 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2020.

 

Applicants can apply online beginning March 15 on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. The deadline for applying is April 15.

 

Up to five hunters can apply together as a party. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. A total of 1,209 people applied in 2019.

 

The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation.

 

 

There are 780 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents this year. Applicants can apply online at https://gf.nd.gov/buy-apply. The application deadline is April 15.

Note: The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation.

Deer Test Positive for CWD

Eight deer taken during the 2019 North Dakota deer gun season tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Charlie Bahnson, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

All were antlered deer taken from areas previously known to have CWD – six from unit 3F2 and two from 3A1. Bahnson said six of the eight were mule deer, with two whitetails from unit 3F2. CWD was not detected in any deer harvested in the eastern portion of the state where hunter-harvested surveillance was conducted last fall. In addition, no elk or moose tested positive.

“Only about 15% of hunters submit heads for testing in units where CWD has been found, so the infection rate is more meaningful than the raw number of positive animals found,” Bahnson said. “Approximately 3% of harvested mule deer were infected with CWD in unit 3F2, and roughly 2% in unit 3A1. Our infection rate in whitetails in 3F2 was about 1%.

“Overall,” he continued, “we could probably live with these current infection rates long-term, but they suggest an upward trend and we’ve certainly seen an expansion in the known distribution of the disease. We need to continue to try to limit the spread within our herds as best as we can. CWD is a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked.”

Bahnson said the eight positive deer put the total at 11 detected since Sept 1. As previously reported, two mule deer taken in September tested positive for CWD – one was harvested during the archery season from deer gun unit 4B and one during the youth season in unit 3A1. CWD was also detected in a white-tailed deer from unit 3F2 that was euthanized in December following a report from the public that it appeared sick and was displaying erratic behavior.

Game and Fish will use its 2019 surveillance data to guide its CWD management strategy moving forward. More information about CWD can be found at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov/cwd.

 

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.”