Doug Leier: Your Deer Hunting Questions Answered



Every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department receives questions from deer hunters who want to clarify rules and regulations. Some common questions are listed below.

What is the proper procedure for tagging a deer?

The law says upon taking possession of your deer you need to immediately tag it. Cut out the date of the kill on your tag before you take the backing off the tag, and place it on the animal. On a buck, the tag goes around the base of the antler. On a doe you just make a slit in the ear. The process is a lot easier if you run the tag through the slit before you take the backing off the tag. If you take the backing off first, the adhesive side can get stuck on hair, your fingers, or the tag itself.

I hunt with a bow. When do I have to wear orange?

During the regular deer gun season bowhunters must wear orange. During the muzzleloader season, however, bowhunters do not need to wear orange.

Can I hunt road rights-of-way?

Do not hunt on road rights-of-way unless you are certain they are open to public use. Most road rights-of-way are under control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed to hunting.

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.

Can I use my deer gun license during the muzzleloader or archery season?

No. The deer gun license is valid for only the regular deer gun season.

Can I use my gratis license to take a mule deer doe?

Only if your license is valid in a unit other than 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.

Can hunters age 14 or 15 (and qualifying 13 year olds) with a youth season license who did not harvest a deer during the youth season, hunt the regular deer gun season with this license?

Yes, but you are subject to the restrictions listed on the license.

I was unsuccessful in filling my mule deer buck license in a restricted unit during the youth season. Can I hunt the remainder of the state during the regular gun season?

No. You are restricted to the same unit as during the youth season.

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.

Can I use a bow to fill my regular deer gun license?

Yes. You may use any legal firearm or bow during the regular deer gun season.

Can I carry both bow and gun afield during deer gun season if I have both licenses?

Yes, but only if you are going to fill your gun license. No firearms, except handguns, may be in a hunter’s possession while hunting with a deer bow license. However, handguns may not be used in any manner to assist in the harvest of a deer with an archery license.

As always, for more information, visit the Game and Fish website at; call the main office phone line at 701-328-6300; or email