Landowners who are interested in applying for a 2018 deer gratis license can fill out their application online starting April 2 by visiting the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. The general deer lottery and muzzleloader applications will be available online in early May. The deadline for applying is June 6.
Chief of administrative services Kim Kary said the Game and Fish Department decided to open the deer gratis application period a month earlier than in past years, to provide additional time for landowners to get accustomed to the new online-only licensing system.
Gratis applicants who have previously applied online or by paper will already have their land description entered into the system. Kary said applicants will be able to copy the land description from the previous year into this year’s application. “Landowners will still need to bring up their land description and add the number of acres for each tract,” Kary added. “In addition, any changes to the land description from the previous year will have to be made.”
Online applications is part of the plan that was initiated by the state legislature in 2015, Kary said, which required Game and Fish to develop an all-electronic licensing system that went into effect two years ago. “When you factor in that more than 90 percent of regular lottery applications, and nearly 75 percent gratis, were already submitted online, it was the right time to eliminate paper applications and go completely online,” she said.
Kary mentioned the Game and Fish Department does not receive state tax dollars. “We are a self-funded agency relying on license revenue from sale of licenses and federal funds,” she added. “Eliminating paper applications saves our agency time and money without increasing license fees.”
Kary suggest landowners who do not have access to a computer can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor. The electronic system at vendors is not set up to handle lottery/gratis applications.
“Hunters should note we will continue to require all electronic applications as we move forward, which includes pronghorn, swan and fall turkey,” Kary said.