The 2019 North Dakota deer season is set. Before we get into the details, let’s take a look back at 2018.

2018 North Dakota deer season

  • 55,150 deer gun licenses were available last year. Overall hunter success was 64 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.

  • Hunter success for both antlered and antlerless white-tailed deer was 64 percent.

  • Mule deer buck hunter success was 81 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 83 percent.

  • A record 28,824 archery licenses (26,318 resident, 2,506 nonresident) were issued in 2018. In total, 22,666 bow hunters harvested 8,914 deer (7,927 whitetails, 987 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.

North Dakota’s 2019 deer season

  • 65,500 licenses available to hunters this fall, 10,350 more than last year.

  • Antlered mule deer licenses increased by 450 from last year.

  • Antlerless mule deer by 700.

  • Antlered whitetail by 700.

  • Antlerless whitetail by 1,250.

  • “Any antlered” by 3,150.

  • “Any antlerless” by 4,100.

  • Muzzleloader licenses increased by 184

  • Restricted youth antlered mule deer licenses increased by 45.

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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.

Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck, said during a recent “Outdoors Online” webcast that the number of regular gun season licenses for this fall is the most since 2011.

“That is definitely some positive news … we have been slowly increasing (licenses) the last several years,” Williams said, adding the department has been pretty conservative with licenses in an attempt to build deer numbers back up in areas where they have been below management goals.

Prospective hunters can apply for regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader licenses online through the Game and Fish Department’s website at or call (800) 406-6409. A service fee is charged for applications made through the 800 number.

Landowners must apply for gratis licenses online – the toll-free licensing telephone number is not set up to receive gratis applications. 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.

Applicants should note that those who miss two consecutive years of applying in the lottery will lose accumulated bonus points.

Applicants who do not have access to a computer or smartphone can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.

North Dakota’s 2019 deer gun season opens at noon Nov. 8 and continues through Nov. 24. The deadline for applying is June 5.

The muzzleloader season is Nov. 29-Dec. 15, and youth season is Sept. 13-22. Archery season is Aug. 30-Jan. 5.

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