Archive of Hunting Reports


Deer Application Deadline is June 6

Posted: May 26, 2012

North Dakota deer hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting applications for the 2012 gun season is June 6. Hunters are encouraged to apply online at the State Game and Fish Department website,

The deadline applies to muzzleloader, regular gun, gratis and nonresident landowner, and youth antlered mule deer applications (specifically for antlered mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, and 4A-4F).

The deadline for regular statewide youth licenses is Sept. 1. In addition, the deadline for submitting an antlerless white-tailed deer gun application for ages 12 and 13 is Sept. 1. Hunters are reminded that completion of a hunter education course is required before applying.

Hunters who choose not to apply online can print out an application to mail at the Game and Fish Department website. Applications are also accepted by calling (800) 406-6409, and paper forms are available at county auditors, license vendors and Game and Fish offices.

Anyone mailing applications to the Game and Fish Department is advised to mail early because some post offices use the following day’s postmark for mail received after regular hours. The department’s online application feature will be deactivated June 6 at midnight.


CWD Proclamation Signed

Posted: May 14, 2012

The 2012 proclamation establishing guidelines for transporting deer, elk and moose carcasses and carcass parts into and within North Dakota is now in effect as a precaution against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease.

Dr. Dan Grove, State Game and Fish Department wildlife veterinarian, said three consecutive years of surveillance in deer hunting unit 3F2 have resulted in a total of three CWD positive animals. “The harvest locations of these animals are clustered within an area in 3F2 along major waterways and extend close to surrounding units,” Grove said. “Using a combination of data from winter surveys in 2009, 2010 and 2011, new research into the spread of CWD on the landscape conducted in Alberta and Nebraska, and a proactive approach to managing disease, it has been decided to extend the baiting ban into the deer hunting units surrounding 3F2. This ban will help curb the potential spread of CWD and artificial movement of deer via man-made causes.”

Therefore, hunting big game over bait is prohibited in deer units 3C, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2. Bait, in this case, includes grain, seed, mineral, salt, fruit, vegetable nut, hay or any other natural or manufactured food placed by an individual. Bait does not include agricultural practices, gardens, wildlife food plots, agricultural crops, livestock feeds, fruit or vegetables in their natural location such as apples on or under an apple tree, or unharvested food or vegetables in a garden.

In addition, hunters harvesting a big game animal this fall in North Dakota deer unit 3F2 cannot transport a carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit unless it’s taken directly to a meat processor. The head can be removed from the carcass and transported outside of the unit if it is to be submitted to a State Game and Fish Department district office, CWD surveillance drop-off location or a licensed taxidermist.

If the deer is processed in the field to boned meat and the hunter wants to leave the head in the field, the head must be legally tagged and the hunter must be able to return to or give the exact location of the head if requested for verification. 

Hunters are prohibited from transporting into North Dakota the whole carcass, or certain carcass parts, of deer, elk, moose or other members of the cervid family from areas within states and provinces with documented occurrences of CWD in wild populations, or from farmed cervid operations within states and provinces that have had farmed cervids diagnosed with CWD. Only the following portions of the carcass can be transported:

  • Meat that is cut and wrapped either commercially or privately.
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Hides with no heads attached.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers or ivories.
  • Finished taxidermy heads.

The following game management units, equivalent wildlife management units, or counties have had free-ranging deer, moose or elk diagnosed with CWD, and importation of harvested elk, white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose or other cervids from these areas are restricted.

  • North Dakota – Deer unit 3F2. Gutted/eviscerated carcasses being taken to a North Dakota meat processor are exempt, as are heads removed from the carcass and taken to a licensed taxidermist or provided to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for submission for CWD surveillance purposes.
  • Alberta – Wildlife management units 150, 151, 163, 234, 236, 256, 728.
  • Colorado – All game management units.
  • Illinois – Counties of Winnebago, Boone, McHenry, DeKalb, Ogle, LaSalle, Stephenson.
  • Kansas – Counties of Cheyenne, Decatur, Rawlins, Sheridan.
    • Minnesota – DPA 602.
    • Nebraska – Upper Platte, Platte, Plains, Sandhills, Frenchman, Buffalo and Pine Ridge units, which include the counties of Cheyenne, Kimball, Sioux, Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Sheridan, Box Butte, Dawes, Banner, Cherry, Hall, Garden, Keith, Red Willow, Deuel, Grant, Arthur.
    • New Mexico – White Sands Missile Base (GMU 19), GMU 28, GMU 34.
    • New York – Any deer taken within the CWD containment areas of Oneida and Madison counties.
    • Saskatchewan – All wildlife management units.
    • South Dakota – Prairie units WRD-21A, WRD-27A, WRD-27B; Black Hills units BHD-BH1, BHD-BD3, BHD-BD4.
    • Utah – 16A, 16B, 16C, 13A, 13B, 8A, 8B, 8C, 9A, 9B, 9C, 9D.
    • Virginia – Frederick County.
    • West Virginia – Hampshire County.
    • Wisconsin – Any deer registered with a Wisconsin DNR Red Registration Tag from the area designated as the Disease Eradication Zone or Herd Reduction Zone including deer management zones 54B-CWD, 70-CWD, 70A-CWD, 70B-CWD, 70C-CWD, 70D-CWD, 70E-CWD, 70F-CWD, 70G-CWD, 71-CWD, 73B-CWD, 73E-CWD, 75A-CWD, 75B-CWD, 75C-CWD, 75D-CWD, 76-CWD, 76A-CWD, 76M-CWD, 77A-CWD, 77B-CWD, 77C-CWD, Washburn County.
    • Wyoming – All deer and elk units.

In addition, the following states and provinces have had farmed deer, elk, moose or other cervids diagnosed with CWD, and importation of farmed deer, elk, moose and other cervid carcasses or their parts are restricted: Alberta, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Additional areas will be added as necessary and listed on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website,

Because each state and province has its own set of rules and regulations, hunters should contact the state or province in which they will hunt to obtain more information.

Hunters with questions can contact the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at (701) 328-6300, or email


North Dakota’s Deer Season Set, Online Apps Available May 9

Posted: May 7, 2012

North Dakota’s 2012 deer season is set, with 65,300 licenses available to hunters this fall, 44,650 fewer than last year and the lowest since 1988.

Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said the decline in the deer population is a result of increased adult mortality and reduced fawn production following the severe winters of 2008-10. In addition, the extreme winter conditions followed nearly a decade of aggressive deer management featuring large numbers of antlerless licenses in many units.

“It is expected there will be very few, if any licenses remaining after the initial lottery,” Kreil said. “Therefore, there is not a concurrent season this year.”

Hunters are able to draw one license for the deer gun season and one for the muzzleloader season, and purchase an archery license. Unlike the past several years, however, Kreil said a hunter will not be able to receive more than one license for the deer gun season.

Low deer numbers are evident in all portions of North Dakota, Kreil said, as all but two hunting units are below management goals. The statewide hunter success rate in 2011 was 52 percent, the lowest on record and well below the typical 70-75 percent success rate experienced by North Dakota deer hunters.

“The large decrease of licenses in 2012 is necessary to allow the deer population to grow toward management goals,” Kreil said.

The mule deer population in the badlands was also stung by three consecutive harsh winters, with the three lowest years of fawn production observed from 2009-11. Survey numbers indicate mule deer in the badlands are down 23 percent from last year and 52 percent below 2007.

As a result, no antlerless mule deer licenses are available for the 2012 deer season in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F, Kreil said. “This restriction applies to regular gun, resident and nonresident any-deer bow, gratis and youth licenses,” he added.

The number of licenses available for 2012 is 1,200 antlered mule deer, a decrease of 3,350 mule deer licenses from last year; 1,282 for muzzleloader, down 826 from last year; and 120 restricted youth antlered mule deer, a decrease of 130 from last year.

North Dakota’s 2012 deer gun season opens Nov. 9 at noon and continues through Nov. 25. Online applications for the regular deer gun, youth, muzzleloader, and resident gratis and nonresident landowner seasons will be available about May 9 through the Game and Fish Department’s website at Also, paper applications will be at vendors throughout the state the week of May 14. The deadline for applying is June 6.

Total deer licenses are determined by harvest rates, aerial surveys, deer-vehicle collision reports, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

2012 Deer License Questions and Answers

In past years, hunters have been able to receive more than one license that is valid during the deer gun season. Will that be the case this year?

No. The number of licenses remaining after the first drawing will be small, if any at all. Therefore, hunters can receive only one license for the deer gun season. If any licenses remain after the first and second lotteries, they will only be available to those who applied in the first lottery and still have not received a license, or for those who did not submit an application for the first lottery.


If I receive a deer gun license, will I still be able to receive a muzzleloader license or purchase an archery license?

Yes, hunters can draw one license for the deer gun season and one for the muzzleloader season, and purchase an archery license. However, there won’t be any additional antlerless deer licenses available this year, that in the past could be used during the archery or muzzleloader season in the unit designated on the license.


Can I use my deer gun license during the muzzleloader or archery season?

No. The deer gun license is valid for only the regular deer gun season. That option in past years was only available for second, third, or additional antlerless licenses.

I want a deer license this year so I want to increase my odds and apply for a doe license as a first choice. If I receive the license, will I lose my preference points?

Yes, preference points are based on your first choice. If you receive your first choice, you lose your preference points.


Can I use my gratis license to take a mule deer doe?

Gratis hunters whose land is located in 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F may not take a mule deer doe with their gratis license. Gratis hunters in all other units may take any deer, including mule deer does.


As a landowner, if I apply in the regular lottery for a buck license as my first choice and a doe for my second choice, and receive a doe license, can I still submit a gratis application to get a license to hunt a buck?

No. If you submit a regular lottery application and receive a deer gun license, regardless if it is for a buck or doe, you are not able to receive a gratis license, as only one deer gun season license per hunter is allowed this year.


Since only one deer gun season license is available this year, does that mean landowners can receive either a gratis license or a lottery license, but not both?

That’s correct. If a landowner applies for and receives a license in the regular lottery, he or she cannot also receive a gratis license. Landowners who apply in the regular lottery and are not drawn for a license can still receive a gratis license as long as there are unissued licenses.


I am a landowner, and often delay submitting a gratis license application until I know if I will have time to hunt deer. If I wait until later in summer to apply, will I still be able to get a gratis license?

Gratis licenses can be issued as long as licenses remain. However, with the dramatic reduction in licenses this year there is no guarantee that any licenses will be available after the initial lottery. Once all licenses are issued, Game and Fish is not able to provide further gratis licenses. Therefore, we suggest that landowners eligible for gratis licenses submit their application prior to the June 6 deadline to ensure receiving a license.


May Highlights Safe Boating

Posted: May 1, 2012

A public awareness campaign held annually in May emphasizes the need for boaters to wears life jackets.

Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the message reinforces the importance of personal flotation devices.

“Facts prove there is no safety substitute for wearing a life jacket while recreating on public waters,” Boldt said.

Failure to wear a PFD is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents. Boldt said each year, about 700 people nationwide die in boating-related accidents. Nearly 70 percent are caused by drowning, and eight of 10 victims were not wearing a life jacket.

North Dakota law requires Coast Guard approved PFDs in the following circumstances:

  • On watercraft less than 16 feet in length, one wearable PFD must be on board for each person.
  • Anyone being towed on water-skis, surfboard, or a similar device must wear a PFD.
  • No person may operate or permit the operation of a personal watercraft without each person on board wearing a PFD.
  • Watercraft of 16 feet or longer must have one wearable PFD for each person on board, and one throwable flotation device.
  • On any vessel less than 27 feet in length, all persons 10 years of age or younger must wear a properly fastened, Coast Guard approved PFD.

Boaters are reminded to test life jackets for serviceability and fit. All straps and buckles must be intact and there should be no rips or tears in the fabric.


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