North Dakota Banner Banner - visit
North Dakota Legendary - visit

Lottery Information

2016 Lottery Application Deadlines

Species/Season Application Deadline * Season Opening
Spring Turkey February 10 April 9
Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep March 23 See Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep Hunting Guide
Deer (gun/muzzleloader) June 1 See Deer Hunting Guide
Pronghorn August 3 See Pronghorn Hunting Guide
Fall Turkey September 7 See Turkey Hunting Guide
Swan August 17 See Waterfowl Hunting Guide

* Season opening dates listed here are tentative. Finalized dates will be listed on the species hunting proclamations and regulation guides.

See Printable License Applications or check Online Services to see which lottery applications are currently available.

Approximate Dates for Lotteries, Applications and Regulations

Season Dates Applications Available Lottery Results Regulations Available
Spring Turkey Late January Early March Early March
Moose, Elk, Bighorn Sheep Early-mid March Mid-late April Early-mid April
Deer Gun, Muzzleloader and Youth Deer Early-mid May Late July-early August Early-mid July
Fall Turkey Mid-August Mid-September Mid-September


Late August Mid-July
Swan Late July Late August Early September in Waterfowl Guide
Fishing N/A N/A Early March, every two years
Small Game N/A N/A Early-mid August
Furbearer N/A N/A Early-mid August

Weighted Lottery FAQs

What species are covered by the weighted lottery? 
First lotteries for deer gun, muzzleloader deer, pronghorn, swan, and spring and fall wild turkey.

How do I find out how many bonus (preference) points I have?
Current bonus points can be found on the Department's Online Services website (under 'Find Lottery Results/Bonus Points').

How does the one-year grace period affect an applicant's eligibility?
An applicant can miss applying for a year without losing points; however, the applicant loses bonus points by failing to apply for two consecutive years. 

How do bonus points accrue in the weighted lottery?
An applicant unsuccessful in drawing his or her first choice permit in the first lottery this year receives a bonus point for next year's lottery. See the following table:  (Note that in years 2, 3 and 4, the points are doubled; and, for years 5 and beyond, they are cubed to increase the applicant's chances of drawing a permit.)

Number of Times Applicant's Name Goes Into The Weighted Lottery




+ Current year's
= Total times
your application
goes in lottery
(year 1) 0 - + 1 = 1
(year 2) 1 x 2 + 1 = 3
(year 3) 2 x 2 + 1 = 5
(year 4) 3 x 2 + 1 = 7
(year 5) 4 cubed + 1 = 65
(year 6) 5 cubed + 1 = 126
(year 7) 6 cubed + 1 = 217
(year 8) 7 cubed + 1 = 344
(year 9) 8 cubed + 1 = 513
(year 10) 9 cubed + 1 = 730

In the previous example isn't the applicant guaranteed a permit in year four or five?
No. There is no guarantee. The lottery is a random drawing. In most cases when an applicant reaches this point he or she is likely to draw a permit. However, for some licenses, particularly antlered mule deer, where demand for tags vastly exceeds supply, many applicants have the same number of bonus points and thus, even for those with many points, there is considerable competition.

Why do applications ask for a social security number and do I have to give it?
Yes. State law requires social security numbers on all license applications in order for the state to receive human services funding from the federal government.  

If I receive a permit for my second choice license, do I lose my bonus points?

No, bonus points apply only to first choice in the first lottery.

If I have bonus points and apply with a party, how does this affect me?
On party applications the person with fewest points sets the level for the entire application. Applicants with more bonus points than others in the party have a better chance applying separately.