North Dakota2024-02-29T02:56:34+00:00

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North Dakota Hunting Overview

North Dakota often gets overlooked when searching for western hunting opportunities, but robust wildlife populations and beautiful landscapes make it an excellent destination for big game hunting. North Dakota offers a range of species to target, with deer being the most popular and available. Over 100,000 hunters pursue opportunities annually, which also includes pronghorn, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department (NDGFD) manages hunting opportunities in the state. Most North Dakota hunting opportunities are managed and allocated through various draws in the state. Many resident deer tags are available over-the-counter in the state.

Big Game Species

North Dakota offers a range of big game species opportunities, including mule and whitetail deer, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and moose. Residents are eligible for all species, while nonresidents are only eligible for deer and bighorn sheep opportunities. That said, nonresident tag allocation for sheep is extremely low making it cost prohibitive for most nonresidents to apply.

Draw and OTC Sales and Dates

North Dakota has a tendency to finalize draw dates very shortly before deadlines arrive. Tentative closing dates are posted long in advance, and generally are finalized without changes, however it is important to check the NDGF website frequently to validate these dates. Opening dates below are estimates, as they are rarely posted and generally not “finalized” until after the draws are already open.

Below is a table of tentative and finalized dates for 2024 North Dakota applications.

North Dakota Spring Turkey ApplicationResidentTurkeyJanuary 22, 2024February 14, 2024
North Dakota Big Game DrawResidentBighorn Sheep, Elk, MooseMarch 14, 2024March 27, 2024
North Dakota Nonresident Any Deer Bow DrawNon-residentDeerApril 15, 2024May 15, 2024
North Dakota Deer DrawBothDeerMarch 10, 2024June 5, 2024 (tentative)
North Dakota Antelope DrawResidentAntelopeJuly 1, 2024August 7, 2024 (tentative)

North Dakota Hunting Point System

North Dakota uses a weighted bonus points system for deer gun, muzzleloader deer, nonresident archery deer, pronghorn, swan, and spring and fall wild turkey lotteries. This system behaves as a hybrid between standard bonus and preference point systems. However, the system provides a substantial increase in draw odds when reaching 4 points, based on the calculation system. The method of calculating total draw entries based on points is below, where “P” is the number of points an applicant has:

  • 0 to 3 points: (P * 2) + 1
  • 4+ points: (P^3) + 1

Applicants can miss one year and retain their points. However, if an applicant fails to apply for two consecutive years, they will lose their points for that species. Bonus points only apply to a hunters first choice in each lottery. A hunter can draw a tag on their second or later choice applications and still receive a point for that species.

North Dakota Point Types

DeerBonus PointBoth
PronghornBonus PointResident

How to build points

Points are acquired through the annual draws for each respective species. An applicant that is unsuccessful in drawing their first choice selection will receive a bonus point for the following year. Applicants can also choose to purchase a point only through the draw, and must pay a fee equivalent to the standard application fee for the species.

Tags, Licenses, and Pricing

A valid hunting General Game and Habitat License is required for all applications. Hunters must also get a Fishing, Hunting, Furbearer Certificate in order to apply for licenses or acquire bonus points. Below is a list of pricing for hunting licenses, fees, and tags in the state.

General License Pricing

ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Fishing, Hunting, Furbearer Certificate$1.00$2.00
General Game and Habitat License$20.00$20.00
Combination License$52.00

Species Specific Pricing

ItemResident PriceNon-Resident Price
Deer Tag$30.00$250.00
Deer Tag - Leftover Gun$50.00
Pronghorn Tag$30.00
Elk Tag$30.00
Moose Tag$30.00
Bighorn Sheep Tag$30.00$500.00
Application Fee - Firearm Deer$5.00
Application Fee - Moose, Elk, Sheep$5.00$100.00

North Dakota Hunting Regulations

Hunters Education

  • Hunters Education is required for individuals born after December 31st, 1961. The certification must be registered with the state prior to applying.

Age Restrictions

  • Hunters must be 12 years of age.

Archery Limitations

  • Mechanical broadheads and lighted nocks are allowed.
  • Telescopic sights, range finding devices, battery-powered or electronically lighted sights or other electronic devices attached to the bow, or the arrow, are not permitted.

Group Hunting

Group hunting applications are allowed in North Dakota. For non-resident any deer archery, up to 5 hunters may apply as a group.

When applying as a group, bonus points are based on the lowest party member’s points level.

North Dakota Hunting FAQ

Can nonresidents hunt pronghorn antelope in North Dakota?2023-06-26T16:24:23+00:00

No. Only residents may apply for the North Dakota Pronghorn draw and hunt antelope in North Dakota.

What are North Dakota “Gratis” licenses?2023-06-26T15:10:51+00:00

North Dakota offers resident gratis licenses and nonresident landowner licenses to residents and nonresidents who own at least 150 acres of land in an open hunting area. Additionally residents who lease such land for agricultural purposes and actively farm or ranch are eligible. These licenses are specifically valid for the designated land described on the license. Residents and nonresidents can utilize the resident gratis or nonresident landowner license for hunting during the deer bow, deer gun, or muzzleloader seasons until the license is filled.

Are bonus points used for North Dakota 2nd choice applications?2023-06-26T14:56:36+00:00

No. Bonus points are only used for first choice selections in North Dakota lotteries. If an applicant does not draw their first choice, they will be awarded a bonus point, even if they draw on a second or lower choice selection.

Waiting Periods

Youth Hunting

Landowner Tag Options

Weapon Restrictions

Return / Transfer Tags

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