The state's deer hunters should soon learn whether or not they will be recipients of a deer gun license for 2013. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department expects to complete the deer gun lottery process this week. This year's lottery is being held later than usual due to changes approved in the recent session of the state Legislature.
"Folks are getting a little itchy, but it's coming just around the corner," said Greg Link, NDG&F. "We are a little later this year. That's the way it's going to be with a law change this year that required all gratis licenses to be in by the application deadline."
The deadline for submitting a deer gun license application was June 5. According to NDG&F licensing manager Randy Meissner, the changing time period for receiving gratis license applications means that applications submitted by paper, both from regular license applicants and those eligible for gratis any-legal-deer licenses, have to be entered into the department's computer system manually. The process necessarily takes more time than was the case in previous years.
Greg Link, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Conservation and Communications Division chief, searches a computer in response to a request from a visitor at the Conservation and Outdoor Skills Park on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds.
Meissner said he expects the end of July to become the new norm for holding the deer lottery. Previously the deer gun lottery was conducted in the first week of July.
For several years, deer gun licenses were so abundant that some hunters obtained multiple licenses. That is no longer the case. Only 59,500 deer gun licenses are available for the 2013 season, the fewest since 1983 and 5,800 less than in 2012.
"We had several tough winters that knocked us down," explained Link. "We've been rebounding from that. Last winter wasn't real bad but it held on until late April. We're not sure how that affect us. We feel like we're on a comeback with deer numbers and, hopefully, we'll get a reprieve from the tough winters the next few years and get back on track."
Applicants who applied online and provided an e-mail address to NDG&F will receive notification as to whether or not they were successful in the lottery. Results will also be available on the department's website at (gf.nd.gov).