Doug Leier: A Refresher on the North Dakota Hunting License Lottery and Bonus Points Process – Grand Forks Herald

Doug Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Contact him at [email protected]

WEST FARGO – Understanding how the Game and Fish department’s lottery and bonus point system works can help contestants make better decisions based on their expectations.

First, it’s about understanding the lottery system. Terminology is key when thinking of a bonus point versus the misnomer of a preference point. There is no preference. Just a bonus.

The licensing lottery consists of four separate designs, one for each choice on the application. First, we’re holding a raffle for the first choice of unit/first deer. When these are issued, we draw the first choice unit/second deer, then the second choice unit/first deer, and finally the second choice unit/second deer.

Next, keep in mind that bonus points and the lottery only impact the first pick.

If you fail to draw your first license choice in a given year, you receive a bonus point. You do not need to apply in the same unit or for the same type of deer each year to be eligible. You get an additional bonus point each year you apply and do not receive your first choice license. You keep your accumulated bonus points if you apply for the first draw at least once every two years.

You receive additional chances in the draw for each accumulated bonus point. For points one through three, you are entered into the draw twice the number of points you have. So if you have two points, you would have four more chances of being drawn, compared to someone who got their first choice the year before. If you are both competing for the same permit, 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 draw an additional 64 times, 125 times if you have five points, and so on. Bonus points are accrued as long as you do not draw your first licensing choice and apply to the first draw at least every two years. You do not receive bonus points in years you do not apply.

Each draw is always random, but the more bonus points you have, the better your chances. 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 draw for each species each year.

  • 79,857: Number of people – not including 12,113 pro bono applicants – who applied for deer gun lottery licenses, up from 79,999 in 2020.
  • 52.98: Percentage of successful applicants, excluding gratis and non-residents, for deer and muzzleloader firearms licenses.
  • 19: Maximum number of bonus points for any candidate (non-resident mule deer candidates).
  • 12,636: Candidates with four or more bonus points.
  • 1:59 p.m.: Percentage of applicants with four or more bonus points.
  • 50.83: Percentage of applicants with four or more bonus points who applied for a muzzleloader license.

Pulling a dollar license in 2021 was, like most years, not easy. Randy Meissner, head of game and fisheries department licensing, said after 11,811 free resident licenses and 722 non-resident licenses were subtracted from the overall license allocation, only 31,160 licenses were available to the 66,591 hunters who requested them as their first choice in the lottery.

Milton S. Rodgers