Mule deer buck lying in badlands

2016 Deer Drawing

Authors and Contributors

Ron Wilson

Following some difficult winters, a continuing loss of wildlife habitat on the landscape, and other influences, the number of deer gun licenses made available to hunters the last several years, with one exception, has declined.

The exception was 2016, when deer gun licenses increased, after a 37-year low in 2015, to 49,000. The number of licenses available in 2015 was 43,275.

Hunters in 2016 were again allowed to draw only one license for the deer gun season. With deer populations slow to rebound across the state, drawing just one license certainly wasn’t a sure thing.

In 2016, nearly 74,200 hunters applied for the 49,000 licenses allocated by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for the deer gun season. In comparison, about 69,800 hunters applied for the 43,275 licenses in 2015.

The number of buck licenses in North Dakota increased by more than 4,000 in 2016 as compared to 2015. Even so, drawing one of these licenses was difficult.

According to Randy Meissner, Game and Fish Department licensing manager, after 12,684 gratis licenses and 485 nonresident licenses were subtracted from the overall license allocation, just 19,818 buck licenses were available for the 63,379 hunters who applied for them as their first choice in the lottery.

For the first time in five years, as mule deer in western North Dakota continued to show signs of recovery, the Department allowed limited hunting of antlerless mule deer in three of eight badlands hunting units. The 2016 spring mule deer index was 21 percent higher than 2015, and 38 percent higher than the long-term average. This was the fourth consecutive year the index was higher than the previous year.

Also in 2016, the Game and Fish Department allowed a limited pronghorn hunting season for the third year in a row.

How It Works

No matter if you’re new to North Dakota’s deer gun season, or a veteran of wearing fluorescent orange each November, there are always questions on how the Game and Fish Department’s lottery system works.

Using deer as the example, though turkey works the same way, this is how it works.

If you fail to draw your first license choice in any given year, you receive a bonus point. You do not have to apply in the same unit, or for the same deer type each year, to qualify. You get an additional bonus point each year you apply and do not receive your first license choice. You maintain your accumulated bonus points as long as you apply in the first drawing at least once every two years.

You receive additional chances in the drawing for each bonus point accumulated. For points one through three, you are entered in the drawing two times the number of points you have. So, if you have two points you would get four additional chances to be drawn, compared to a person who got his or her first choice the previous year. If you’re both competing for the same license, you have five chances, he or she has one.

When you accumulate four or more points, the number of additional chances is determined by cubing your bonus points. So, when you have four points, you will be in the drawing 64 additional times, 125 times if you have five points, and so on. Bonus points are accumulated as long as you do not draw your first license choice and apply in the first drawing at least every other year. You do not receive bonus points in years you do not apply.

Each drawing is still random, but the more bonus points you have, the better your odds. When you receive your first license choice, you lose your bonus points and start over. Bonus points can only be earned, or used, in the first drawing for each species in each year.

The license lottery consists of four separate drawings, one for each choice on the application. First, we hold a drawing for the first unit/first deer choice. When those have been issued, we draw for the first unit/second deer choice, then the second unit/first deer choice, and finally the second unit/second deer choice.

2016 Lottery Bullet Points

  • 49,000 deer licenses were available, up from 43,275 in 2015.
  • 74,179 people applied for deer gun season licenses, up from 69,791 in 2015.
  • 63,379 applicants applied for buck licenses as their first choice; 19,818 buck licenses were available in the drawing after 12,684 gratis and 485 nonresident licenses were withheld.
  • Mule deer doe licenses were available for the first time in five years in three hunting units in the badlands.
  • The highest number of bonus points accumulated by any hunter in the 2016 deer drawing was 14.
  • Applicants who applied for a mule deer buck license accounted for nearly 24 percent of applicants with four or more bonus points.
  • About 7 percent of applicants with four or more bonus points applied for a muzzleloader buck license.
  • A buck license in unit 2E was the most difficult license to draw. The second most difficult was a buck license in unit 3C.
  • The number of spring turkey licenses (5,815) available to hunters in 2016 was the same as 2015. The number of applicants decreased from 5,880 in 2015 to 5,601 in 2016.
  • The number of fall turkey licenses available decreased from 3,655 in 2015 to 3,510 in 2016. The number of applicants increased from 3,040 in 2015 to 3,078 in 2016.
  • A limited pronghorn season was offered for the third consecutive year, with 730 licenses, 320 more than 2015.

2016 SPRING TURKEY LOTTERY RESULTS

Percent of applicants who received their first choice of license.

POINTS
LICENSE TYPE 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 OVERALL
2 S 98 97.7 100             90.3
3 S 82 100               94.1
4 S 100 100 100             100
6 S 83.3                 83.3
13 S 87.6 75               85.4
17 S 100 100 100 100           100
19 S 94.8 100               96.4
25 S 97.7 88.9               83.8
27 S 100 100 100             100
30 S 93.7 84.6 100             86
31 S 70.6                 70.6
37 S 100 100 100 100           100
40 S 90.2 100   100           90.5
44 S 100 100               100
45 S 94.4 100               87.8
47 S 83 100               90.9
50 S 100 100 100 100           100
51 S 97.3                 97.3
53 S 100 100 100             100
98 S 100 100 100 100           100
99 S 77.6 50               85.3

2016 FALL TURKEY LOTTERY RESULTS

Percent of applicants who received their first choice of license.

POINTS
LICENSE TYPE 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 OVERALL
2 F 100 100 100 100           100
3 F 91.2                 91.2
4 F 100 100 100             100
6 F 100 100               100
13 F 90.5 60               85.3
17 F 100 100 100             100
19 F 100                 100
25 F 95.5 100               92.4
27 F 100 100 100 100           100
30 F 96.1 83.3               88.5
31 F 66.7                 66.7
37 F 100 100 100 100           100
40 F 100 100               100
44 F 100 100               100
45 F 89.7 100               88.4
47 F 85.2                 85.2
50 F 100 100 100             100
51 F 95                 95
98 F 100 100 100             100
99 F 100                 100

2016 PRONGHORN LOTTERY RESULTS

Percent of applicants who received their first choice of license in the 2016 pronghorn drawing.

POINTS
LICENSE TYPE 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 OVERALL
01A A 0.1 0.2 0.6 0 3.9 8.4 21.4 26.1 37.5 2.4
02A A 0 4 3.5 4.9 34.6 45.5 71.4 100 0 8.8
02B A 0 0 0 3.3 17 41.2 42.9 0 0 5.1
03A A 0 6.5 2.2 0 25 63.2 75 50 100 16.7
03B A 0 0.4 1.6 0 4.9 12.7 37.5 47.6 50 5.3
04A A 0.2 2.4 2.1 3.5 31.2 43.4 60 47.8 60 9.2
04C A 0.5 0 1.4 3.7 24.3 42.1 45.5 25 100 7.4

2016 DEER LICENSE LOTTERY RESULTS

Percent of applicants who received their first choice of license in the 2016 deer drawing.

POINTS
LICENSE TYPE 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 OVERALL
1 A Any Buck 5.8 23.4 29 41.9 89.5 100       24.1
1 B Any Doe 92.1 100 87.5 100           93.3
2A A Any Buck 2 12.4 18.1 18.1 79.8 76.5   100   24.5
2A B Any Doe 35.1 65.5 72 80.6 84.2         76
2B A Any Buck 2.7 8.5 14 20 74.8         14.8
2B B Any Doe 27.4 58.3 60.6 52.8 80 100       42.3
2C A Any Buck 1.4 3.3 5.5 8.7 51.8 56.4       11
2C B Any Doe 2.7 11.5 17.9 12.9 75 100       15.3
2D A Any Buck 6.8 12.3 20.1 33 67.9         20.4
2D B Any Doe* 0 0 0 0 0 0       0
2E A Any Buck 0.5 1.6 1.7 3.3 27.4 41.7       9
2E B Any Doe 3.6 16.7 25.7 50 71.4         20.1
2F1 A Any Buck 31.9 63.2 77.1 85.7           53.9
2F1 B Any Doe 98 84.1 76.5             93.5
2F2 A Any Buck 9.8 29.8 43.8 55.2 91.3         31
2F2 B Any Doe 93.3 86.5 77.3 80   100       90.9
2G A Any Buck 11.9 28.6 40.2 48.3 91.8         38.3
2G B Any Doe 15.6 25.4 36.4 40 66.7         25.8
2G1 A Any Buck 4.3 9.7 15.1 20.9 76.9 85.7       18.7
2G1 B Any Doe 52.8 87 72.5 56.2 77.8         76.8
2G2 A Any Buck 15.2 32.1 51 52.5 80.7         33.8
2G2 B Any Doe 95.2 75 88.2             90.8
2H A Any Buck 26.8 60.3 75.1 86           49.7
2H B Any Doe 96.8 93.8 87.5   100 100       95.3
2I A Any Buck 11.6 34.1 51.5 60.4 93.8         34.7
2I B Any Doe 93.8 84.2 100     100       92.5
2J1 A Any Buck 11.2 35.3 44.2 59.7 93 85.7   100 100 37.1
2J1 B Any Doe 97.1 94.1 100 100           97
2J2 A Any Buck 23.3 54.2 71.3 70.3 72.2         45.6
2J2 B Any Doe 95.7 93 87.5 100     100     95.2
2K1 A Any Buck 6.4 16.2 19.7 29.6 85.1 81.2 100   100 22
2K1 B Any Doe 91.5 73.1 85.7 80 100         89.3
2K2 A Any Buck 14.8 38.1 49.2 59.6 75.3         34.9
2K2 B Any Doe 92.7 86.8 84 80 100 100       91.1
2L A Any Buck 21.5 50 64.6 82.1           48
2L B Any Doe 97.5 85.7 100             95.9
3A1 A Any Buck 1.1 4.6 10.4 12.6 69.5 76.8 84.4     20.7
3A1 B Any Doe* 0 0 0 0 0 0       0
3A2 A Any Buck 22.1 51.9 68.7 71.1 91.7         44.9
3A2 B Any Doe 95.5 84.3 100 100           93.8
3A3 A Any Buck 2 6.8 9.8 16.3 74.9 86.5       18.4
3A3 B Any Doe 86.1 76 84.6 70 66.7 100       93.3
3A4 A Any Buck 8.2 21 33.9 38.7 84       100 23.1
3A4 B Any Doe 93.1 81.2 61.5 80     100     89.5
3B1 C WT Buck 2.4 4.8 6.8 12.7 59.3 79.4     100 14.4
3B1 D WT Doe 90 81.2   100   100       83.8
3B1 E MD Buck 6.6 21.4 24.6 40.5 95.9 100 100     28.4
3B1 F MD Doe 100 100 66.7 100 100         89.5
3B2 C WT Buck 19.4 45.7 71.2 60 100 100       43.8
3B2 D WT Doe 91.1 100   100           93
3B2 E MD Buck 35.6 67.7 78.6 66.7 100 100       58.7
3B2 F MD Doe 100 100 100             100
3B3 A Any Buck 12.5 30.8 37.3 56.2 100 100       28.3
3B3 B Any Doe 68.1 85 100             84.2
3B3 C WT Buck 53.2 87 82.7 100 100 100       72.3
3B3 D WT Doe 98.9 100 100             99.3
3C A Any Buck 2.7 10.3 15.6 28.3 50 66.7 100     11.9
3C B Any Doe 49.5 86.5 100 100           70
3C C WT Buck 43.4 81.5 85.8 87.9           64.7
3C D WT Doe 96.9 95.2 100 100           96.3
3D1 A Any Buck 14.8 39.6 59 81.1 94.1     100   38.8
3D1 B Any Doe 92.2 60 100             90
3D1 C WT Buck 94.2 97.2 60 100 100     100 100 94
3D1 D WT Doe 66.7 100               75
3D2 A Any Buck 8.7 24.8 36.9 60 94.6   100     29.6
3D2 B Any Doe 94.6 80 83.3 100   100       92.8
3D2 C WT Buck 74.2 96.9 96 100   100       88.2
3D2 D WT Doe 100 100               100
3E1 A Any Buck 16.5 40.2 61 74.1       100   35.3
3E1 B Any Doe 94.7 88.9 100 100           94.1
3E1 C WT Buck 50.5 81.5 85.2 100           66.4
3E1 D WT Doe 83.3 100               90.5
3E2 A Any Buck 36.4 69.3 73.2 76.2 77.8 100       56.6
3E2 B Any Doe 95 82.4               93.7
3E2 C WT Buck 98.3 92.1               96.1
3E2 D WT Doe 96.2 100               96.6
3F1 A Any Buck 22.5 52.8 56 63.2 100         42.3
3F1 B Any Doe 96.6 92.9 100             95.9
3F1 C WT Buck 95.1 89.2 100 100   100       94.4
3F1 D WT Doe 89.9                 89.9
3F2 A Any Buck 25.3 55 78.5             45.5
3F2 B Any Doe 98.2 100 100             98.5
3F2 C WT Buck 97.5 89.1 72.7             94.4
3F2 D WT Doe 100 100               100
4A C WT Buck 28.4 64.1 80 82.8 80 100     100 56.8
4A D WT Doe 94.4 100   100           95.8
4A E MD Buck 3 6.3 8.6 17.3 70.7 77.1       20.3
4B C WT Buck 42.9 81.8 91.7 80 100 100       67.2
4B D WT Doe 100 100 100             100
4B E MD Buck 0.8 1.3 3.6 7.4 28.6 50.9 65.1     16.6
4C C WT Buck 71.5 90.7 85     100 100     82.9
4C D WT Doe 100 100 100             100
4C E MD Buck 0.5 1.9 2.5 1.9 23.8 38.4 52 55.3   15.4
4D C WT Buck 85.3 89.7 88.9 100 100   100     95.5
4D D WT Doe 83.3 100 100             85.7
4D E MD Buck 1.3 2.3 2.1 4 28.3 52.4 72.3 69.7   14.4
4D F MD Doe 82.1 78.6 100   100   100     83.1
4E C WT Buck 97.6 100 88.9 100 100         97.3
4E D WT Doe 100 100               100
4E E MD Buck 7.9 17.1 38.3 50.7 84.6   83.3     34.4
4E F MD Doe 95 100               95.6
4F C WT Buck 97.3 75 100   100     100   94.4
4F D WT Doe 92.3 100 100             95
4F E MD Buck 31.1 60.6 56 80 77.8         55.2
4F F MD Doe 100     100           100
MUZ C WT Buck 0 0.3 0.3 0.3 2.4 4.7 8.9 15 23.9 4.1
MUZ D WT Doe 31.9 69 78.9 96.9 100 100 100 100 100 52.5

*All available doe licenses were issued to gratis applicants prior to the lottery drawing.