FAQ About Proposed Changes To 2015 Deer License Regulations

November 19, 2014 by  

By Doug Leier

Every fall, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meetings, which typically start the day after deer gun season ends, are a forum to talk deer hunting.

141119advisory meetings

Deer management in North Dakota will likely be a topic of interest at upcoming Game and Fish advisory board meetings starting the week of Nov. 24.

This year, there’s a new proposal for distributing deer licenses on the table for 2015, which will no doubt add to the conversation.

Many avid deer hunters have known that distribution of licenses for archery, regular gun and muzzleloader has been discussed for years. Last winter Game and Fish held eight special “deer management” meetings around the state, followed by the spring round of advisory board meetings where deer license distribution was a primary topic.

All throughout this time, Game and Fish was also encouraging input from state deer hunters, with a promise that a decision on any changes would be brought forward well in advance of the 2015 season setting process.

So a few weeks back when Game and Fish released its preferred alternative, many hunters already knew that some type of adjustment for 2015 was under consideration.

Since then, many questions have been asked and answered. Here’s a few that seem to come up the most.

Would this new plan change the application process?

The application period and deadline would still be the same. The system would just be programmed so it will not issue more than one license to any individual.

Is the application for a bow license now a part of the deer gun lottery?

No. Bow licenses would be issued the same as in the past. If a hunter applies for a deer gun license and does not receive one, he or she will remain eligible to purchase an archery license, which is good for any legal deer statewide.

How would it work for hunters who still want to apply for both gun season and muzzleloader licenses?

In the past, there have been two separate applications and drawings. The new system would have one application and one drawing, and hunters who apply for both gun and muzzleloader will select a preference on the application. The way this will work is, when an applicant’s name comes up in the lottery, and if both a first-choice gun and muzzleloader license are available, the computer will issue the preferred license, and the applicant’s name will be removed from consideration for the other license. If you apply for both and your preferred choice is not available when your name comes up, the computer will issue the other choice.

Will anyone lose accumulated bonus points if they just don’t apply for one license or the other?

No. If you apply for both deer gun and muzzleloader and are drawn for one of them, you would not lose your points for the other one, but you will not gain a bonus point for that choice either. If you only apply for one type of license, you will not lose your points for the other type.

If someone draws a license in the deer gun lottery, could they also use that license during the bow season as well, as long as they hunt with a bow?

Yes. Hunters who draw a unit deer gun license can also pursue that deer with a bow during the entire length of the bow season as long as the tag is not filled. But, that license is only valid in the specific unit, and for the deer type listed on the license.

Anyone who wants to learn more about this new plan can check out the November issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine, now online at the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. Dates and locations of the fall advisory meetings are also featured on the Game and Fish website.


Leier is a biologist with the Game and Fish Dept. He can be reached by email: [email protected]



Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.