Guide to Lotteries
Licenses for the following species are allocated by lottery:
- Bighorn sheep
- Tundra swan
- Turkey (spring and fall seasons)
- White-tailed and mule deer
Note: Licenses left over after a lottery has been run may be purchased on a first-come, first-served basis.
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Hunter Education Requirements
Moose, elk, pronghorn, spring turkey, and the first fall turkey lottery are all open only to North Dakota residents. Residency rules can be found here.
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1) Before applying, review the appropriate License Availability page to see how many licenses are available in each unit. You are limited in the number of units for which you can apply (varies by lottery), so use the availability page to help you select the units you’d like to hunt.
2) Review last year’s lottery success statistics to get an idea of your odds of drawing a license in a particular unit. Again this can be used to help you decide what units you’d like to apply for.
The Lottery Success Statistics page also has a breakdown of drawing success by unit, license type and bonus points (where applicable).
Bonus Point Explanation: Some lotteries (first lotteries for deer gun, muzzleloader deer, pronghorn, swan, and spring and fall wild turkey) are “weighted” lotteries. You accrue bonus points each time you apply for one of these lotteries and are not drawn. These points give you a better chance of getting drawn the next year, however, if you do not apply for 2 consecutive years, you will lose any bonus points you had. You can purchase a bonus point online if you do not plan on applying for a lottery in the current year but want to continue accruing bonus points.
More information on weighted lotteries can be found on the General Lottery Information page.
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When to Apply
Approximate dates for lotteries, applications and regulation publications can be found here. (Note: Applications for a lottery are made available after season dates and licenses availability have been finalized and the governor has signed the proclamation.)
How to Apply
You can apply for lotteries online or by phone (1-800-406-6409).
For help using the online licensing and lottery system please see our TUTORIALS here.
(Note: As of 2018 paper applications for lotteries have been discontinued. See Online Only Lottery Applications Q and A for more information.)
Application Fees and License Prices
Applications must be in by midnight on the day of the deadline. Deadlines can be found on the species hunting pages.
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Lotteries are run and results available anywhere from about 2 weeks to a month after the application deadline depending on the lottery.
After a lottery has been run, applicants will be notified that results are available. This will be done via:
- email (if the applicant provided an email when applying)
- GovDelivery – text and/or email service that you can sign up for here
- the Department website
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If you are drawn, you must purchase the required licenses before your tag will be sent to you. See the Licensing Quick Reference page for licensing requirements.
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Where to Hunt
The Department has several resources for finding a place to hunt. Take a look at some or all of the following when searching for that perfect hunting spot:
- Where to Hunt webpage
- Map Index
- ArcGIS Explorer Mobile App (works with your smartphone's GPS)
- Geospatial PDF Viewer Avenza Mobile App (for areas with spotty or no cellular coverage)
If you successfully harvest an animal, you must tag that animal immediately. Tag it BEFORE you take photos with it. Instructions for properly affixing tags are printed on the back of each tag.
Hunting regulations can be found at here.
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