Major spike in North Dakota moose licenses; online applications also available for elk, bighorn sheep

A record 334 moose licenses are available in 2018, an increase of 89 from last year and 203 more than in 2015, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department said in a news release Wednesday, March 7 announcing that online applications are available for moose, elk and bighorn sheep.

According to the release, most of the increase is antlerless licenses in units M10 and M11, due to an increasing moose population in those units. Hunting units M1C and M4 will remain closed due to a continued downward trend in moose numbers in the northeastern part of the state.

Prospective hunters may apply online at the state Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov to hunt elk and bighorn sheep in the state, too. General lottery applications may also be submitted by calling 800-406-6409. Preferential landowner (gratis) applications must be submitted online. Paper applications are no longer available for any lottery or gratis licenses, which will also include deer gun, pronghorn, swan and fall turkey.

The deadline for applying is March 28.

A total of 408 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, an increase of 19 from last year and the most since 2011. Coordination among state Game and Fish, private landowners and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will continue to highlight elk management in hunting Unit E6.

A bighorn sheep hunting season is tentatively scheduled to open in 2018, depending on the sheep population. The status of the bighorn sheep season will be determined Sept. 1, after summer population surveys are completed. The season was closed in 2015 due to a bacterial pneumonia outbreak.

Bighorn sheep applicants must apply for a license at the same time as moose and elk, but not for a specific unit. Once total licenses are determined for each unit in late summer, the bighorn lottery will then be held and successful applicants will be contacted to select a hunting unit.

Because the bighorn sheep application fee is not refundable as per state law, if a bighorn season is not held, applicants would not receive a refund.

Elk, moose and bighorn sheep lottery licenses are issued as once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota. Hunters who have received a license through the lottery in the past are not eligible to apply for that species again.

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