Deer Gun Season Questions and Answers

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The 2001 deer gun season opens at noon Nov. 9. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department issued a record number of licenses, 106,350, for this fall's season, an increase of 18,000 from last year. Game and fish issued 5,150 mule deer licenses, an increase of 1,500 from 2000. Muzzle-loader permits increased from 1,694 to 2,024. The regular deer gun season runs through Nov. 25.

Every year the department receives many questions from hunters wanting to clarify the rules prior to or during hunting season. Some of the more common ones are listed below. If the answer to your question is not here, call the department at 701-328-6300.

  • What licenses do I need for deer gun season? A fishing, hunting, and furbearer certificate, which is the paper to which all stamps are attached; the general game and habitat stamp or a sportsman’s license, and the deer license. Gratis license holders, however, need only the gratis license itself.
  • I can’t find my deer license and tag. What should I do? You can get a replacement license from the department. First you will need to obtain a petition for a duplicate license from the department (also available on web site at discovernd.com/gnf/licenses/index.html#replace. County auditors also have copies of this form). Fill out the form, have it notarized, and return it to the department. If the transaction is through the mail, it will take a few days. You may not hunt without the license and tag in your possession. The quickest way to get a duplicate license is to stop at the department’s Bismarck office. You can get a replacement license while you wait.
  • I shot a deer but it is rotten. What can I do? You must take possession of the animal by tagging it. If the department gets a confiscated deer, we may be able to give it to you.
  • My son was unsuccessful in filling his mule deer buck tag in the youth season. Can he hunt the regular gun season? Yes. But he is restricted to the same unit as during the youth season.
  • What if I have an antlerless deer permit and I shoot a deer with two-inch spikes, but I could not see them when I shot? Game wardens have some leeway about what is an antlered deer. However, it is always a hunter’s responsibility to fully identify your target before shooting.
  • Is camouflage blaze orange acceptable for the deer gun season? No. You must wear both a hat and outer garment above the waistline totaling at least 400 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange.
  • What should I do if I find a wounded deer? Contact a game warden. Do not shoot the deer unless you want to tag it, or are instructed by the warden to do so.
  • I hunt with a bow. When do I have to wear orange? During the regular deer gun season you must wear orange. During the muzzle-loader season, however, bowhunters do not need to wear orange. Can I hunt on a section line if it is posted on both sides? No. If the land is posted on both sides, the section line is closed to hunting but it is still open for travel.
  • Can I retrieve a wounded deer from posted land? If the deer was shot on land where you had a legal right to be, you may retrieve it. However, you may not take any weapons with you. The department suggests contacting the landowner as a courtesy prior to entering.
  • What if the landowner says I cannot get the deer? Contact a game warden to sort it out.
  • Can I transport someone else’s deer? To transport someone else’s deer you will need a permit from a game warden. The license holder, the person transporting the animal, and the carcass itself must be presented to the game warden before the permit is issued.
  • Can I drive off a trail to retrieve a deer on a state wildlife management area? No. You may not drive off-trail on state wildlife management areas, national wildlife refuges, waterfowl production areas, or state school land. In addition, a new travel policy confines most motorized vehicles (except snowmobiles) to existing roads and trails on all U.S. Forest Service public land in North Dakota, including the Little Missouri, Sheyenne and Cedar River national grasslands.
  • What if I am going to take my deer head to a taxidermist, meat to a butcher shop, and the hide to a buyer? How do I keep the tag with it all? The tag should remain with the carcass. Write down your deer license number, name and other details on notes and attach them to the hide and the head. If you happen to get stopped by a warden, you may be asked to produce the tag.
  • May I carry a pistol when I am hunting with a deer rifle? Yes, but the handgun must meet minimum requirements listed in the deer hunting regulations to be legal for taking deer.
  • How do I carry a revolver in a vehicle when hunting? The cylinder of a revolver must be completely unloaded.
  • How do I carry a muzzle-loader in a vehicle when hunting? Remove the cap from a percussion gun or the powder from the flash pan of a flintlock.
  • Can I use a bow to fill my regular deer gun tag? Yes. You may use any legal weapon during the regular deer gun season.
  • Can I use a gun to fill my bow tag? No. Archery tags may be filled only with bow and arrow.
  • Can I carry both bow and gun afield during deer gun season if I have both licenses? Only if you are going to fill your gun tag. To fill your archery tag, you may not have a gun in your possession. Are muzzle-loading handguns legal for deer hunting? Yes. They must be .50 caliber or larger.
  • Can I fill my second-deer tag with a bow during the archery season? Yes. Again, however, when afield hunting with a bow, you may not possess a gun. Also, you may hunt only in the unit for which the second license was issued and must comply with all the details listed on the tag.
  • Are the .22-250 and .243 legal for deer hunting? Yes. Center-fire rifles of .22 caliber or larger are legal.
  • My wife and I each have a gratis license for different pieces of land. Her land is located in a different unit across the highway from mine. Can we hunt each other’s land? No. In order for you to hunt each other’s land it must be located within the same hunting unit.