North Dakota Outdoor: Framework set for 2024 deer gun season in ND

Submitted Photo High-quality deer habitat is not abundant, which has limited the potential for population recovery. Photo from NDGF.

Take it from a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, success is a subjective word. For many, success will only be found in a Super Bowl. Others feel making the playoffs is success and just beating the Green Bay Packers can be considered a success.

Deer hunting in North Dakota isn’t much different. Draw your first buck tag in years and it’s the first step to success. Find a good-sized buck and fill the tag and it just might be your Super Bowl.

The framework for the 2024 deer gun season in North Dakota has been set. The Game and Fish Department has made available 50,100 licenses to hunters, down 3,300 from last year. In addition, muzzleloader licenses decreased by 66 and restricted youth antlered mule deer licenses remained the same.

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.

Casey Anderson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife division chief, said population, harvest and survey data indicate the state’s deer population is stable to decreasing in the southeastern part of the state.

“The 2023-24 winter was one of the mildest on record. However, fawn production was reduced following extreme winter conditions during 2022-23, which limited population growth despite reduced gun licenses during the 2023 hunting season,” Anderson said. “Modest license allocations are intended to maintain hunting opportunities while encouraging population growth in the state.”

High-quality deer habitat is not abundant, which has limited the potential for population recovery. If CRP contracts continue to expire, by 2026, Anderson said 85% of the once 3.4 million acres present in 2007 will be lost.

“Habitat does not have to be CRP but needs to fulfill winter and fawning habitat needs in particular for numbers to bounce back effectively,” he said.

The spring mule deer survey showed western North Dakota’s population is 1% higher than last year, following record low fawn production in 2023.

Those who didn’t apply last year will lose accrued points by not applying or purchasing a point this year. A general game and habitat license is required when applying for a deer license. If the applicant has not already purchased one for the 2024-25 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 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 2024 application.

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

North Dakota’s 2024 deer gun season opens Friday, Nov. 8, at noon and continues through Sunday, Nov. 24.

Applicants for regular deer gun, gratis, youth and muzzleloader can apply online through the Game and Fish Department. The deadline for applying is midnight Wednesday, June 5.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today