ND Game and Fish: more elk, fewer moose licenses available this year

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nd outdoors
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 12:32 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - North Dakota’s 2023 moose, elk and bighorn sheep license applications are due on March 29.

Drawing a moose, elk or bighorn sheep hunting license is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in North Dakota. In 2023, there will be fewer moose licenses available for hunters.

“We had a pretty good drop in licenses just over 140 less than last year, down to the point where it’s 257 licenses available. And that was due a little bit to winter tick and a little bit to the fact that we were trying to reduce the population,” said Casey Anderson, North Dakota Game and Fish wildlife division chief

This year there will be more elk licenses available for hunters to apply for.

“We’ve got 603 elk licenses this year. That’s just 40 more than we had last year. Population seems to be doing good to expanding and, so, the opportunity for more licenses was there,” said Casey Anderson.

Even though you apply for bighorn sheep at the same time as elk and moose, the number of licenses for bighorns won’t be determined until after the summer surveys are conducted.

“And that’s because of pneumonia outbreaks can sometimes catch us off guard and typically they show up in the summertime,” said Casey Anderson.

Once the number of bighorn sheep licenses is set, then the lottery is held.

“We do the drawing, start making the best phone calls of the year, calling down the list and telling folks they’ve gotten drawn for a bighorn sheep license,” said Casey Anderson.

There are things you can do to increase your odds in drawing a moose or elk license.

“If people just want to hunt an elk or a moose, the antlerless licenses, especially in some units, are an easier draw than the bull licenses or the any license. There are less people drawing for them. There are more licenses available. It may be a little easier to draw one, but it’s not going to be an easy hunt, and we want people to make sure that they’re aware of that. It’s not going to be like shooting a doe. It’s going to be probably a tougher hunt than even the any license, the bull license,” said Casey Anderson.