North Dakota – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/27/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

North Dakota

Is the information easy to find?

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department hunting web page was at the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

Finding answers to the usual questions, how to get a license, when to hunt, and where to hunt, are quickly and easily located. This is a very user friendly web site, with information sorted logically and clearly labeled.

Grade: A

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

North Dakota uses a lottery system for nonresident hunters, if the hunter is not selected for a license, all but the $5.00 application fee is refunded.  There is a points system to increase the chances of a nonresident hunter who applies over multiple years getting drawn, included in this system is a one year ‘grace period’ that allows a hunter to skip a year and not loose points.

How do bonus points accrue in the weighted lottery?
An applicant unsuccessful in drawing his or her first choice permit in the first lottery this year receives a bonus point for next year’s lottery. See the following table:  (Note that in years 2, 3 and 4, the points are doubled; and, for years 5 and beyond, they are cubed to increase the applicant’s chances of drawing a permit.)

This system appears to be weighted towards ensuring hunters patient enough to apply over half a decade earn the license they have been working towards.  It would be interesting to see the statistics on the highest amount of points accrued before a license was granted.  The page does note that there is NO guarantee, and particularly for Antlered Mule Deer tags, demand far outweighs the number of tags available, therefor there would be many applicants with the same or more points competing for the tags.  In situations where a group applies for licenses together, the account with the LOWEST points sets the point value for the group.  Also, if hunters get drawn in the second lottery, they do NOT lose their preference points.

It’s worthwhile to note that while researching the hunting seasons, the following quote seems to indicate that whitetail deer licenses are unlimited in North Dakota:

White-tailed deer: the number of licenses is unlimited.

This is found on the Deer: Archery Season page.  This indicates that yes, there is a lottery, but certain zones or species are ‘unlimited’ in quota, therefor the lottery is maintained in case this changes in the future.

Grade: B

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident licenses in North Dakota cost $20.00 for a gun permit, $20.00 for an archery permit, plus $1.00 for a fishing and hunting certificate, and $13.00 for a general game certificate.  Nonresident licenses cost $220.00 for the deer gun first lottery, $200.00 for the deer bow lottery.  The language is a bit confusing on the deer gun lottery:

Deer Gun (1st Lottery) – $220 (includes general game and habitat stamp, $13; nonresident hunting, fishing, furbearer certificate, $2; and a $5 application fee. All but application fee is refunded if application is unsuccessful. After second lottery is held, a nonresident deer gun license is $50.

The typographical error (lack of closing parenthesis) makes it a bit difficult to interpret, but it seems as though it’s saying that all of the other fees are included in the $220.00.

Regardless, the fees are reasonable, even though the lottery system instantly converts ‘we’re going to North Dakota to hunt this year’ into ‘we might go, have to see if we get a license first.’   The ‘unlimited’ notation in the Archery Seasons page for ‘white-tailed deer’ makes a choice of gun or bow simple.

Grade: B

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

The North Dakota hunting seasons information is broken into pages by species. The Deer page has sub-sections by type of season with links that forward the user to the appropriate line of the page.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

The Wildlife Management Area PDF seems to be the only WMA specific information distributed on the North Dakota hunting web site, however there is a more involved Private Land Open to Sportsman page, called PLOTS.  The PLOTS page divides the state into 44 sections, providing a high-resolution map for each section.

While the PLOTS system is nice, more interactive detail on Wildlife Management Areas would have been nice.

Grade: B

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

North Dakota has found game animals that test positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, the Wildlife Diseases page details all of the regulations for importing or exporting game animals.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade B

The lottery system is somewhat problematic when planning a hunt, but the quote above about ‘whitetail deer licenses are unlimited’ seems to indicate that a little research would pay off in terms of what to hunt in North Dakota, and what method to use to hunt.  The prices for licenses are reasonable, and the web site is pleasant, the only real negative in terms of information is the limited data presented for the Wildlife Management Areas.

States CompletedAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware,

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndiana, IowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMaryland

MassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew Hampshire

New JerseyNew MexicoNew York, North Carolina


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