General Lottery Information

For a searchable listing of all season dates and application deadlines (tentative and finalized) see the North Dakota Hunting Seasons page.

Lottery Application Deadlines

Species/Season Season Opening
Spring Turkey See Spring Turkey
Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep See Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep Hunting Guide
Deer (gun/muzzleloader) See Deer Hunting Guide
Pronghorn See Pronghorn Hunting Guide
Fall Turkey See Turkey Hunting Guide
Swan See Waterfowl Hunting Guide

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 Late April Early-mid April
Deer Gun, Muzzleloader and Youth Deer Early-mid May TBD Mid-July
Fall Turkey Mid-August Mid-September Mid-September

Late July

Mid-late August Mid-late August
Swan Late July Late August Early-mid August; combined with Small Game 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; combined with small game guide

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.

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.

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.


Calculation: Existing Bonus Points * Multiplier + 1 (the current year's application) = Total times your application goes in lottery

Year Calculation
(existing points * multiplier + 1)
Total Times Your Application Goes Into the Lottery
1 0 * 0 + 1 1
2 1 * 2 + 1 3
3 2 * 2 + 1 5
4 3 * 2 + 1 7
5 4³ + 1 65
6 5³ + 1 126
7 6³ + 1 217
8 7³ + 1 344
9 8³ + 1 513
10 9³ + 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.