Special December Deer Season

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North Dakota's special deer season is set to run Dec. 17-31, and hunters are reminded that unused buck tags cannot be used to harvest a deer.

"The season is intended to focus hunting pressure on antlerless white-tailed deer only," said Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department. "The whitetail doe population is well above our management objectives in many units. The state does not have an overpopulation of bucks."

Also, the department is not allowing hunters with unused buck tags to take a doe. Game and fish decided against this for three reasons, Kreil mentioned. "First, we already have a problem with more than 80 percent of all first applications being for bucks. If we allowed people to convert buck licenses, the number of people applying for does in the first lottery will decline. The result would be reduced chances for drawing a buck license in the lottery. Second, if a person really wanted to shoot a doe, there were plenty of antlerless licenses available after the first lottery and a person could have received one. Third, the department did this once before and in some units more does were killed than expected, which resulted in a depressed deer population for several years."

Hunters who don't have a license for the December season can buy a remaining unissued antlerless deer license by accessing the game and fish website at discovernd.com/gnf, by submitting an application at the department's Bismarck office, or by mail through the Bismarck office.

In addition, all unused antlerless whitetail or any-antlerless licenses for units that are open during the special season can be used to harvest an antlerless white-tailed deer, but only in the unit listed on the license. Unfilled gratis licenses may be used to take an antlerless whitetail, but only in an open unit, and only on the land prescribed on the license. Hunters with unfilled youth licenses may take an antlerless whitetail in any open unit. Muzzle-loader hunters with an unused antlerless whitetail license are also eligible to participate, using a muzzle-loader only.

The special season is open in all units, except 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E in western North Dakota. More information on the December deer season is available by accessing the game and fish website.