Doug Leier: Answering Common Deer Hunting Questions


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.

I can’t find my deer license. What should I do?

You must obtain an application for a duplicate license from the Game and Fish Department – by calling (701) 328-6300 or printing it off the website at – or from a county auditor. Fill out the form, have it notarized and return it to the Department along with a fee. You may not hunt without the deer license in your possession.

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.

Can I retrieve a wounded deer from posted land?

If the deer was shot on land where you had a legal right to be and it ran on posted land, you may retrieve it. However, you may not take a firearm or bow with you. The department suggests contacting the landowner as a courtesy prior to entering.

What if the landowner says I cannot retrieve a deer from posted land that was shot on land where I had a right to be?

Contact a game warden.

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.

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.