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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

ND Game & Fish license drawing process

I have to commend the North Dakota game and fish for a lot of things they do. Their dedication to the youth in the state is unmatched. From Hunter safety through the different youth seasons, the opportunities for youth in the state are endless. Upland game and waterfowl populations are at an all-time level. Big game have been affected by things no one could've predicted. But still the opportunities are plenty to fill a tag.

But one thing that needs to be addressed is the length of time it takes for drawing results for big game. In 2015 the game and fish tried to get everything electronic to speed up the process. In the last couple years the process has actually dragged out longer. One excuse is that there are still some who apply using paper applications. But this excuse doesn't hold any water seeing that other states also have the combination of paper and electronic applications and they get through the process much quicker.

When the game and fish is asked why the process takes too long, they of course say there are many factors. One factor they say is it takes a long time to process the gratis tags. This should have no bearing on the process at all. Other states have gratis tag systems like ours and it does not add any time to the drawing at all. If the state is auditing applicants who are applying for gratis, that shouldn't affect applicants in a whole different category. Or just make the gratis due date earlier.

Another argument is that is the game and fish needs to do their aerial surveys in order to find out how many animals are available to hunt. It is through the surveys that they determine how many licenses are available in each unit. The surveys are done in January and February because the snow covered ground makes it easier to spot game. So from beginning of survey through hunters actually receiving their tags, or knowing they are going to receive a tag, the process takes months. In other states this process takes weeks even sometimes just hours.

You might be thinking why we need the drawing results sooner. It is not because we as hunters are impatient, it is that we need to plan. Many people need months in advance to take vacation with their jobs. Getting lottery results in late July or August is not enough time for some people to plan and get time off from their jobs for the hunting season in November. A lot of time and money goes into every season for hunters. We all know waiting for the results is part of the process no matter if you are hunting your home state or applying in states throughout the US. It would be nice to know if you had a North Dakota tag so you can plan on hunting trips.

All we are asking for as hunters and sportsmen is that the process be sped up. There is no reason why with technology these days that the results need to drag out as long as they do. The quicker the results get posted the sooner sportsmen can plan, scout, get vacation, make arrangements and do their best to have a successful hunt. Like I said before, the game and fish does a lot of things great but the licensing division is one thing that needs an overhaul.

Examples from this year's drawing times:
  • North Dakota deer rifle applications were due June 7. The results came on July 31. - 54 days waiting for results. Seasons started November 10.
  • South Dakota West River deer applications were due July 19 at 8 AM and results were July 26. - 7 days waiting for results. Season started November 11.
  • South Dakota pronghorn applications were due at 8 AM August 16. Results were posted at 11 AM August 16. - 3 hours waiting for results. Season started September 30.
  • Montana big game - nonresident deer application deadline March 15, results were April 17. - 33 days waiting for results. Season started October 21.
  • North Dakota pronghorn applications were available July 18, 2017, results were August 21. - 34 days waiting for results. The season opened September 1.
  • Minnesota Bear Hunt Lottery - Applications available late March. The deadline was May 5. If you have been chosen to receive a 2017 quota bear license, you will receive a postcard as your notice in the mail by mid-June 2017. The season started September 1.
Thanks for reading, Clint

I have to give credit where credit is due. The North Dakota Game & Fish released the 2018 deer application results almost a month earlier this year than previous years. Good work.

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