Doug Leier: A few updates and reminders as North Dakota's June 8 deer lottery deadline approaches

North Dakota’s 2022 deer season includes 64,200 licenses available to hunters, down 8,000 from last year.

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Applicants for North Dakota’s regular deer gun, gratis, youth and muzzleloader licenses can apply online through midnight June 8, 2022.<br/><br/>
Mike Anderson / North Dakota Game and Fish Department
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Doug Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Reach him at

WEST FARGO – One of the most important aspects of drawing a North Dakota regular deer season lottery license is applying by the deadline. Seems simple enough, right? Our licensing folks could certainly entertain you with the many applications that come in the final 24 to 48 hours. Waiting until the last minute doesn’t improve the odds of anything other than forgetting and missing the June 8 deadline. Analyzing past application data and weighing odds of drawing a preferred tag in a unit with your bonus points are for naught if you miss the deadline.

2022 North Dakota deer season details:

  • North Dakota’s 2022 deer gun season opens at noon Nov. 4 and continues through Nov. 20.
  • North Dakota’s 2022 deer season includes 64,200 licenses available to hunters, down 8,000 from last year.
  • In total, any-antlered licenses decreased by 150 from last year, any-antlerless by 350, antlered whitetail by 4,150 and antlerless whitetail by 3,700. Antlered mule deer licenses remained the same, and antlerless mule deer licenses increased by 350.
  • In addition, muzzleloader licenses decreased by 168, and restricted youth antlered mule deer licenses remained the same.

“Epizootic hemorrhagic disease dramatically reduced white-tailed deer numbers along the Missouri River and parts of some western hunting units,” said Casey Anderson, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck. “As a result, license allocations in some units were dramatically reduced.”

The draft plan also sets out a framework for future decisions about whether to hold a wolf hunting or trapping season.
The Game and Fish Department continues to prioritize short- and long-term habitat for the maintenance and growth of wildlife populations.
“The decrease came as no surprise,” said R.J. Gross, upland game management biologist for Game and Fish in Bismarck.

A general game and habitat license is required when applying for a deer license. If the applicant has not already purchased one for the 2022-23 season, the license will be added to their cart upon checkout. The applicant has the option of having the general game and habitat license refunded if their deer license is not drawn in the lottery.

Gratis applicants who have previously applied online will automatically have their land description carried forward to this year’s application. However, any changes with land descriptions from last year’s application must be made prior to submitting the 2022 application.


Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline will qualify for an any-legal-deer license. As per state law, gratis applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery. Generally, only antlerless licenses remain.

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

In addition, hunters should also keep in mind the continued focus on chronic wasting disease:

  • As stated in the 2022-23 chronic wasting disease proclamation, hunters harvesting a deer in units 3A1, 3A2, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3E2, 3F2, 4B and 4C cannot transport the whole carcass outside the unit, with the exception that hunters can transport the whole deer carcass between adjoining CWD carcass-restricted units.
  • Also in the CWD proclamation, it is unlawful for an individual to hunt big game over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, in deer hunting units 1, 2B, 3A1, 3A2, 3A3, 3A4, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

“Last fall, 26 deer were harvested during the hunting season that tested positive for CWD, including three in new units,” Anderson said, while noting they were units 3C, 3D1 and 3E2. “This has consequently altered deer management strategies in those and surrounding units.”

Applicants for regular deer gun, gratis, youth and muzzleloader can apply online through midnight June 8, 2022, on the Game and Fish Department’s website at

Doug Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Reach him at
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