Drawing a Deer License in 2018

Authors and Contributors

Ron Wilson

Following a law initially designed to phase out old Game and Fish Department paper license books, all hunters who applied for a deer gun license in 2018 did so electronically.

That was new.

The way the results of the deer drawing – plus drawings for pronghorn and spring and fall turkey – are presented to readers of North Dakota OUTDOORS is new this year, too.

The tables provided show the first-choice results in the first lottery. Using deer hunting unit 2B for any antlered deer as an example, the numbers read like this: 972 hunters, with zero bonus points, applied for an any antlered deer license and 11 were successful in drawing a license (11/972); 882 hunters, with one bonus point, applied and 36 were successful (36/882); 714 hunters, with two bonus points, applied and 51 were successful; and on it goes.

In short, the tables show the results for those hunters with the same number of bonus points applying for a particular license in a particular hunting unit.

It’s important to note that the deer lottery results do not include the 1 percent of licenses state law requires the Game and Fish Department make available for nonresident applicants every year.

Those nonresidents who do apply for a deer gun license in North Dakota compete only against other nonresident hunters for that 1 percent.

Also of note, the results in the 2018 deer gun lottery show only those hunters who were actually in the drawing, not those hunters who bought bonus points and had no intention of hunting deer last fall.

2018 Lottery Notes

For the third year in a row, the number of deer gun licenses made available to hunters increased in 2018.

Here’s a quick look:

  • 2016 – 49,000 deer gun licenses.
  • 2017 – 54,500 deer gun licenses.
  • 2018 – 55,150 deer gun licenses.

Drawing a buck license in 2018 was, like most years, not easy. Randy Meissner, Game and Fish Department licensing manager, said after 13,098 resident gratis licenses and 525 nonresident licenses were subtracted from the overall license allocation, just 22,559 buck licenses were available for the 66,998 hunters who applied for them as their first choice in the lottery.

For the fifth year in a row, following hard winters that significantly impacted the state’s population, Game and Fish made available 1,075 pronghorn licenses in 2018, or 665 more than 2017.

Ten pronghorn hunting units were open in 2018, five more than 2017.

How the Lottery Works

There are always questions concerning the Game and Fish Department’s lottery.

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 are 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.

2018 Deer License Lottery Results
  Bonus Points
(Successful Applicants/Total Applicants)
Unit License Type 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ Total Applicants
1Any Antlered Deer20/35348/20948/13439/8469/722/20/10/00/00/00/0855
1Any Antlerless Deer129/13519/228/81/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/0166
2AAny Antlered Deer15/30333/26330/15125/10478/8915/174/60/01/10/01/1935
2AAny Antlerless Deer130/14815/197/88/101/12/21/11/10/00/00/0190
2BAny Antlered Deer11/97236/88251/71465/640248/43496/13511/160/00/00/00/03,793
2BAny Antlerless Deer132/506161/28081/11845/6719/235/70/10/00/00/00/01,002
2CAny Antlered Deer4/5238/5008/27811/32598/36997/20324/470/10/00/00/02,246
2CAny Antlerless Deer2/1104/906/4010/5124/365/111/10/00/00/00/0339
2DAny Antlered Deer5/36418/27917/14132/179135/17616/162/20/00/00/00/01,157
2DAny Antlerless Deer75/808/88/98/96/60/00/00/00/00/00/0112
2EAny Antlered Deer1/4784/3302/1792/19141/18558/15528/4612/173/61/10/01,588
*2EAny Antlerless Deer0/1160/600/330/190/90/30/20/00/00/00/0242*
2F1Any Antlered Deer260/898407/616146/17331/3412/121/10/00/00/00/00/01,734
2F1Any Antlerless Deer279/28729/333/33/30/00/00/00/00/00/00/0326
2F2Any Antlered Deer80/806159/667147/38994/19055/614/60/01/10/00/00/02,120
2F2Any Antlerless Deer355/36737/4415/217/103/30/00/00/00/00/00/0445
2GAny Antlered Deer122/411146/23354/6443/4724/245/71/10/00/00/00/0787
2GAny Antlerless Deer22/1248/263/42/20/00/00/00/00/00/00/0156
2G1Any Antlered Deer27/83295/65993/47088/306200/21122/265/51/10/00/00/02,510
2G1Any Antlerless Deer395/49372/8820/2713/178/90/00/00/00/00/00/0634
2G2Any Antlered Deer145/813236/504163/25686/12541/433/31/10/00/00/00/01,745
2G2Any Antlerless Deer366/38032/3513/155/73/40/00/00/00/00/00/0441
2HAny Antlered Deer224/820340/537137/17035/4010/112/20/00/00/00/00/01,580
2HAny Antlerless Deer131/1369/135/50/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/0154
2IAny Antlerless Deer160/1119301/786207/394114/17272/772/30/00/00/00/00/02551
2IAny Antlerless Deer289/31231/3414/141/11/11/10/00/00/00/00/0363
2J1Any Antlered Deer164/752237/500138/22572/9128/280/02/21/11/10/00/01,600
2J1Any Antlerless Deer167/17018/206/62/20/00/01/10/00/00/00/0199
2J2Any Antlered Deer271/1,115364/650155/21852/619/92/21/10/00/00/00/02,056
2J2Any Antlerless Deer263/27123/278/80/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/0306
2K1Any Antlered Deer48/63494/436106/34190/213131/1368/102/21/20/00/00/01,774
2K1Any Antlerless Deer208/21922/239/112/20/10/00/00/00/00/00/0256
2K2Any Antlered Deer141/1,286276/1,017229/529136/24070/756/62/20/00/00/00/03,155
2K2Any Antlerless Deer354/36947/5619/215/71/11/11/11/10/00/00/0457
2LAny Antlered Deer72/24595/17537/499/1110/101/11/10/00/00/00/0492
2LAny Antlerless Deer81/837/71/13/30/00/00/00/00/00/00/094
3A1Any Antlered Deer123/1,008227/746225/469126/243116/12114/167/83/41/11/10/02,617
3A1Any Antlerless Deer119/12424/2710/103/36/60/00/00/00/00/00/0170
3A2Any Antlered Deer196/863292/560152/22171/8718/182/20/00/00/00/00/01,751
3A2Any Antlerless Deer304/32040/439/92/20/00/00/00/00/00/00/0374
3A3Any Antlered Deer56/838109/567130/385123/279186/19316/195/70/00/00/00/02,288
3A3Any Antlerless Deer310/32333/3816/229/115/51/10/00/00/00/00/0400
3A4Any Antlered Deer69/962165/669140/432148/326112/1166/73/31/10/00/00/02,516
3A4Any Antlerless Deer442/46349/5611/198/105/50/00/00/00/00/00/0553
3B1Antlered Mule Deer44/32073/24867/13741/6840/416/70/00/00/00/00/0821
3B1Antlered Whitetail 10/31524/24222/16825/13773/8611/123/40/01/20/00/0966
3B1Antlerless Mule Deer18/186/80/01/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/027
3B1Antlerless Whitetail 41/4212/131/10/11/10/00/00/00/00/00/058
3B2Antlered Mule Deer32/11466/10423/307/73/32/20/00/00/00/00/0260
3B2Antlered Whitetail 26/18954/11932/4514/186/61/20/00/00/00/00/0379
3B2Antlerless Mule Deer21/223/30/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/025
3B2Antlerless Whitetail 44/448/80/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/052
3B3Any Antlered Deer26/22379/14431/5229/412/50/01/10/00/00/00/0466
3B3Any Antlerless Deer127/1335/60/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/0139
3B3Antlered Whitetail 503/709218/22425/254/41/10/00/00/00/00/00/0963
3B3Antlerless Whitetail 156/15711/112/21/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/0171
3CAny Antlered Deer14/26126/19323/14027/8127/310/41/21/30/00/00/0715
3CAny Antlerless Deer69/10248/5111/141/11/10/00/00/00/00/00/0169
3CAntlered Whitetail 401/812298/35768/7517/199/90/00/00/00/00/00/01,272
3CAntlerless Whitetail 170/17411/133/32/20/01/10/00/00/00/00/0193
3D1Any Antlered Deer63/32990/18748/7216/237/72/20/00/00/00/00/0620
3D1Any Antlerless Deer48/485/51/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/054
3D1Antlered Whitetail 147/14918/191/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/0169
3D1Antlerless Whitetail 8/83/31/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/012
3D2Any Antlered Deer67/36692/25274/13241/6221/212/21/10/00/01/10/0837
3D2Any Antlerless Deer144/1455/54/41/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/0155
3D2Antlered Whitetail 129/19754/5810/103/32/20/00/00/00/00/00/0270
3D2Antlerless Whitetail 27/272/21/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/030
3E1Any Antlered Deer87/436134/29283/12629/379/92/22/20/02/20/00/0906
3E1Any Antlerless Deer85/8812/133/31/10/01/10/00/00/00/00/0106
3E1Antlered Whitetail 244/340110/11523/233/32/20/00/00/00/00/00/0483
3E1Antlerless Whitetail 17/171/12/20/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/020
3E2Any Antlered Deer213/603243/32086/9511/121/11/13/30/00/00/00/01,035
3E2Any Antlerless Deer181/18419/194/43/30/00/00/00/00/00/00/0210
3E2Antlered Whitetail 331/34224/241/11/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/0368
3E2Antlerless Whitetail 23/230/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/023
3F1Any Antlered Deer120/417149/21672/8820/226/60/00/00/00/00/00/0749
3F1Any Antlerless Deer62/627/73/31/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/073
3F1Antlered Whitetail 198/19812/131/11/12/20/00/00/00/00/00/0215
3F1Antlerless Whitetail 13/130/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/013
3F2Any Antlered Deer228/713283/419104/12025/285/50/00/00/00/00/00/01,285
3F2Any Antlerless Deer113/11517/172/21/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/0135
3F2Antlered Whitetail 338/33821/213/31/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/0363
3F2Antlerless Whitetail 13/130/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/013
4AAntlered Mule Deer6/24313/27313/17212/14278/10322/265/60/00/00/00/0965
4AAntlered Whitetail 55/23877/14834/4613/146/71/10/00/00/00/00/0454
4AAntlerless Whitetail 23/251/11/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/027
4BAntlered Mule Deer8/7058/62926/54426/363126/292103/16464/8423/303/30/00/02,814
4BAntlered Whitetail102/20953/5913/163/50/00/00/00/00/00/00/0289
4BAntlerless Mule Deer36/387/74/40/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/050
4BAntlerless Whitetail 15/152/21/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/018
4CAntlered Mule Deer5/67314/67619/49319/445109/34898/20774/11344/5212/152/23/33,027
4CAntlered Whitetail 104/19156/6312/130/11/12/20/00/00/00/00/0271
4CAntlerless Mule Deer46/477/74/41/11/11/10/00/00/00/00/061
4CAntlerless Whitetail 4/40/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/04
4DAntlered Mule Deer7/60527/51529/45029/333116/22790/11443/518/92/20/00/02,306
4DAntlered Whitetail 176/20127/308/101/24/41/10/00/00/00/00/0248
4DAntlerless Mule Deer61/636/72/30/01/10/00/00/00/00/00/074
4DAntlerless Whitetail 8/81/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/09
4EAntlered Mule Deer44/39175/29364/15242/7235/3912/150/00/00/00/00/0962
4EAntlered Whitetail 149/1508/84/41/13/30/00/00/00/00/00/0166
4EAntlerless Mule Deer25/262/20/01/10/00/00/01/10/00/00/030
4EAntlerless Whitetail 2/21/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/03
4FAntlered Mule Deer86/21365/10221/2210/104/41/10/00/00/00/00/0352
4FAntlered Whitetail 178/1805/52/24/40/00/00/00/00/00/00/0191
4FAntlerless Mule Deer12/140/01/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/015
4FAntlerless Whitetail 9/91/10/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/00/010
MUZAntlered Whitetail1/2,5683/2,4282/1,7790/1,25719/1,17333/1,12167/1,04387/933114/81874/524105/35714,001
MUZAntlerless Whitetail 180/556211/28567/7622/2413/131/11/13/34/51/12/2967
2018 Pronghorn Lottery Results
  Bonus Points
(Successful Applicants/Total Applicants)
Unit 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ Total Applicants
2018 Spring Turkey Lottery Results
  Bonus Points
(Successful Applicants/Total Applicants)
Unit 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ Total Applicants
2018 Fall Turkey Lottery Results
  Bonus Points
(Successful Applicants/Total Applicants)
Unit 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ Total Applicants

2018 Lottery Stats

  • Deer
    • 55,150 – Number of deer licenses available, up from 54,500 in 2017.
    • 79,406 – Number of people – not including 13,375 gratis applicants – who applied for deer gun lottery licenses, up from 77,622 in 2017.
    • 43.43 – Percent of successful applicants, excluding gratis and nonresidents, for deer gun and muzzleloader licenses.
    • 1.41 – Average number of bonus points of applicants who received their first choice.
    • 16 – Maximum number of bonus points for any applicant (nonresident mule deer buck applicants).
    • 12,683 – Applicants with four or more bonus points.
    • 13.39 – Percent of applicants with four or more bonus points.
    • 4,327 – Number of applicants with four or more bonus points who drew their first choice of license.
    • 34.68 – Percent of applicants with four or more bonus points who applied for a muzzleloader buck license.
  • Turkey
    • 5,662 – Number of spring turkey licenses available to hunters, down from 5,685 in 2017.
    • 71.2 – Percent of applicants who received their first license choice in the spring turkey drawing.
    • 3,710 – Number of fall turkey licenses available, up from 3,505 in 2017.
    • 80.2 – Percent of applicants who received their first license choice in the fall turkey drawing.
  • Pronghorn
    • A limited pronghorn season was offered for the fifth consecutive year in 10 hunting units.
    • 1,080 – Number of licenses available to hunters, up 667 from 2017.
    • 11,169 – Number of people who applied for available licenses, up 2,413 from 2017.