Common Questions on Deer Hunting Regulations

February 20, 2009 by  

By Doug Leier

Forget the remaining ducks and geese, step aside roosters and turkeys. It’s deer season. Officially the regular gun season runs Nov. 9 through Nov. 25, but make no mistake, deer season takes center stage until the tags are filled and garages are transformed into makeshift processing plants.

Between the hash marks of the season, there’ll be many questions that arise. Here’s a quick rundown of the more common inquiries that come into Game and Fish Department offices across the state.

What licenses do I need for deer gun season? A fishing, hunting, and furbearer certificate, the general game and habitat stamp or a combination license, and the deer license. Gratis license holders need only the gratis license.

My son was unsuccessful in filling his mule deer buck tag in the youth season. Can he hunt the regular gun season? Yes, but he is restricted to the same unit as during the youth season.
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.

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.

I hunt with a bow. When do I have to wear orange? During the regular deer gun season you must wear orange. During the muzzleloader season, however, bowhunters do not need to wear orange.

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

What if the landowner says I cannot get the deer? Contact a game warden.

Can I transport someone else’s deer? Yes, but you will need a 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.

Can I drive off a trail to retrieve a deer on a state wildlife management area? No. You may not drive off-trail on state wildlife management areas, national wildlife refuges, waterfowl production areas, or state school land. In addition, a travel policy confines most motorized vehicles (except snowmobiles) to existing roads and trails on all U.S. Forest Service public land in North Dakota, including the Little Missouri, Sheyenne and Cedar River national grasslands.

What if I am going to take my deer head to a taxidermist and meat to a butcher shop? How do I keep the tag with it all? The tag should remain with the head and the carcass tag should remain with the meat.

Are muzzle-loading handguns legal for deer hunting? Yes. They must be .50 caliber or larger.

I shot a deer, but it is rotten. What can I do? You must take possession of the animal by tagging it. If the department gets a confiscated deer, we may be able to give it to you.

One last clarification to save some headaches when it comes to questions about tagging requirements.

Immediately after an animal has been killed, the hunter must indicate the date of kill by cutting out the appropriate month and day from the tag provided with the license. The tag must be peeled off the license and attached to the base of the antler on bucks, or through a slit in the ear on does.

When the tag is removed from the antler or head for taxidermy work, the tag is to be fastened to the back of the mount and remain there.

Tags are not transferable, and a big game animal has to be properly tagged in order to possess or transport it. The tag has to remain with the antlers or head until Jan. 31 of each calendar year.

For those hunters who want to take the head to a taxidermist and the carcass or meat to a processor, the carcass tag goes to the processor. The tag must stay with the carcass until Jan. 31, or until the meat is consumed.


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