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North Dakota Deer Hunting Laws & Regulations

Hunting Season Dates and Regulations for Deer in Various Forms

Deer Bow Season

  • Duration: September 1 (12 noon CT) - January 7
  • Location: Statewide
  • Key Restrictions:
    • Special Herd Reduction Deer Bow Seasons apply.
    • During the regular gun season, all bowhunters and those accompanying apprentice license holders must wear orange clothing.
    • Nonresidents must adhere to the species of deer specified on their license, while residents can hunt any deer.

Deer Gun Season

  • Duration: November 10 (12 noon CT) - November 26
  • Location: All units
  • Key Restrictions:
    • Hunters are limited to the type of deer and unit as described on their license.
    • Mandatory wearing of orange clothing for all hunters, including those accompanying apprentice and youth license holders.
    • Notable exception: white-tailed deer hunting in units 4B, 4C, 4D, and 4E (refer to the map on the back for unit descriptions).

Youth Deer Season

  • Duration: September 15 (12 noon CT) - September 24
  • Location: Statewide
  • Key Restrictions:
    • Age-specific legal catches:
      • Ages 11-13 (in 2023): Only antlerless white-tailed deer.
      • Ages 14-15 (in 2023): Any deer is legal.
    • In units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, and 4F, special licenses are needed for hunting antlered mule deer.
    • Youth hunters must be under the direct supervision of an adult, who is not allowed to carry a firearm or bow during the youth season.
    • Orange clothing is a requirement for both youth hunters and their mentors.

Muzzleloader Season

  • Duration: December 1 (12 noon CT) - December 17
  • Location: Statewide
  • Key Restrictions:
    • Restricted to antlered or antlerless white-tailed deer as specified on the license.
    • No unit restrictions, but orange clothing is mandatory.

Special Provisions for Youth Deer Licenses

  • Antlerless White-tailed Deer (Ages 11-13 in 2023):
    • Restricted to antlerless white-tailed deer, valid statewide.
    • If unsuccessful in the youth deer season, the license is also valid during the regular deer gun season.
  • Youth Deer (Ages 14 and 15 in 2023):
    • Restricted youth antlered mule deer licenses are limited in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, and 4F.
    • Regular youth licenses are valid statewide for any deer (except antlered mule deer in specified units) and are not limited.
    • If unsuccessful in the youth deer season, these licenses also apply during the regular deer gun season.

Hunting Hours Regulations

General Hunting Hours

  • Duration: 30 minutes before sunrise (with the exception of opening day) to 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Important Compliance Notes:
    • At the end of the designated shooting hours, all hunting activities must cease.
    • Hunters are required to leave their stands or blinds.
    • By the close of shooting hours, hunters should be actively in the process of exiting the field.
    • It's crucial for hunters to adhere to these timings to ensure legal compliance and maintain safety standards.

Licensing Requirements for Different Deer Hunting Seasons

Deer Bow License

  • Resident Licenses:
    • Valid for hunting any deer.
    • There is no limit on the number of licenses issued.
  • Nonresident Licenses:
    • White-tailed deer licenses are unlimited and valid statewide.
    • Any-deer bow licenses are limited. The cap is set at 862, which is 15% of the total mule deer gun season licenses issued in the previous year.

Deer Gun License

  • License Limitation:
    • A maximum of 53,400 licenses, including gratis licenses, will be issued.
  • Special Permits:
    • Included as part of the gun license, specifying the type of deer and the unit for hunting.

Muzzleloader License

  • Allocation:
    • State law permits 2% of the total number of white-tailed deer gun licenses available each year for muzzleloader licenses.
    • For 2023, this means 1,022 muzzleloader licenses.
  • Distribution:
    • Split evenly: 511 for antlered white-tailed and 511 for antlerless white-tailed deer.
  • Area of Validity:
    • Muzzleloader licenses are valid statewide.

General Compliance

  • Format:
    • Licenses can be in paper or electronic format.
  • Presentation Upon Request:
    • Hunters must promptly show their license to a game warden or other law enforcement officer when requested.

Eligibility Criteria for Deer Hunting Seasons

General Eligibility

  • Residents and Nonresidents:
    • Both groups are eligible to apply for deer bow, deer gun, and muzzleloader seasons.

Specific Age-Based Eligibility

  • For Antlerless White-Tailed Deer License:
    • Residents who turn age 11, 12, or 13 in 2023 are eligible.
  • For Youth Deer License:
    • Resident deer gun hunters turning age 14 or 15 in 2023 are eligible, provided they have never received a youth season deer gun license before.
    • Note: Having received a license at age 11, 12, or 13 does not affect this eligibility.

Hunter Education Requirement

  • Mandatory Course:
    • Hunters born after December 31, 1961, must have completed a certified state or provincial hunter education course to purchase a North Dakota deer hunting license.
  • Exemptions:
    • Individuals hunting only on land they own or operate are exempt.
    • Those aged 12 and older without hunter education can receive an apprentice hunter validation for one license year, allowing them to hunt deer.

Minimum Age Requirements

  • Bow License:
    • No minimum age for purchasing.
  • Antlerless Whitetail Deer Gun License:
    • Minimum age is youth turning 11 in 2023.
  • Youth Deer, Deer Gun, or Muzzleloader License:
    • Minimum age is youth turning 14 in 2023.

Nonresident Licensing

  • License Allocation:
    • State law allocates 1% of deer gun and muzzleloader licenses in any unit to nonresidents (up to the second deer gun lottery).
  • Guide/Outfitter Allocation:
    • Half of the nonresident allocation for antlered white-tailed deer licenses (up to 100 licenses) is available to licensed guides or outfitters.
  • Post-Lottery Application:
    • Nonresidents can apply for a deer gun license after the second lottery at a fee of $50.
  • Full-time Students:
    • Nonresident full-time students in North Dakota may qualify for nonlottery resident licenses.

Military Eligibility

  • Eligibility for Active Duty Personnel:
    • North Dakota residents on federal active duty outside the state during the 2022 deer gun season and who received an expeditionary medal or campaign badge can purchase one white-tailed deer gun license in a unit of their choice.
  • Application Requirements:
    • Must include documentation of their award or qualification with the application.
    • Late applications will be considered based on license availability.

Licensing Guidelines and Fees for Deer Hunting in North Dakota

General Licensing Rule

  • Non-transferability:
    • Licenses cannot be transferred, given away, bartered, or sold.

Specific Licenses Availability

  • Deer Bow:

    • Resident and nonresident licenses for white-tailed deer: Available at the Department’s Bismarck office, website, or participating vendors.
    • Nonresident any-deer licenses: Available only from the Department’s website.
    • Limitation: Only one regular deer bow license per season.
  • Antlerless White-tailed Deer (Ages 11-13 in 2023):

    • Licenses issued online via the Department’s website.
  • Youth Deer (Ages 14-15 in 2023):

    • Licenses issued online via the Department’s website.
  • Deer Gun:

    • Issued via a weighted lottery. Remaining licenses are distributed through a second lottery or on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Muzzleloader:

    • Issued via a weighted lottery.
  • Resident Gratis and Nonresident Landowner:

    • Eligibility: For those owning/leasing at least 150 acres in an open hunting area.
    • Validity: Only on land specified on the license.
    • Issued through the Department’s Bismarck office.
    • Deducted from the maximum number of deer gun licenses available.

License Fees

  • Resident Deer Bow:

    • 16 years and older: $30
    • Under 16 at the time of purchase: $10
  • Nonresident Deer Bow: $250

  • Youth Deer (residents 15 and younger at the time of application): $10

  • Resident Deer Gun or Muzzleloader:

    • 16 years and older: $30
    • Under 16 at the time of application: $10
  • Nonresident Deer Gun, Muzzleloader, or Landowner: $250

    • Note: Nonresident deer gun applicants also pay a nonrefundable application fee of $5.

Additional Licensing Requirements

  • Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate:

    • Residents: $1
    • Nonresidents: $2
  • General Game and Habitat License:

    • Standard: $20
    • Combination License: $50

Orange Clothing Requirements for Big Game Hunting

Mandatory Orange Clothing for Hunters

  • During Regular Deer Gun Season:
    • All big game hunters, including bowhunters, must wear orange clothing.
  • Youth Deer Season and Muzzleloader Season:
    • Hunters are also required to wear orange clothing.

Specifics of Legal Orange Clothing

  • Composition:
    • A head covering and an outer garment above the waistline.
  • Color and Visibility:
    • Must be of solid daylight fluorescent orange color.
  • Size Requirement:
    • The total area of the orange clothing should be at least 400 square inches.
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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.