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Online applications for regular deer gun, youth, muzzleloader, and resident gratis and nonresident landowner licenses were made available May 4 through the Game and Fish Department’s website at Also, paper applications will be at vendors throughout the state by mid-May. The deadline for applying is June 1.

New this year is an option that allows unsuccessful applicants to donate their refund to the Game and Fish Department Private Land Open to Sportsmen or PLOTS program. The donation is not tax deductible. Proceeds from this donation fund would be focused on deer habitat and hunting access to deer habitat. The North Dakota State Legislature created this option in 2015 with nearly unanimous support.

State law requires residents age 18 or older to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driver’s license number or a North Dakota nondriver photo identification number. Applications cannot be processed without this information.

Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline (June 1) will be issued an any-legal-deer license. As per state law, gratis applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery – generally only antlerless licenses remain.

Total deer licenses are determined by harvest rates, aerial surveys, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.


When I think back to some of the earliest memories I have of my mom, they generally involve her sitting at her sewing machine surrounded by fabric, zippers, buttons, thread and all the other necessary stuff needed to create everything from elf aprons to leisure suits. The creations that fill the gap between elf aprons and leisure suits is not well defined in the sewing literature, but rest assured, if it could be constructed of cloth my mom has probably made it a time or two.

As a child I took the creativity and talent of my mom’s sewing abilities for granted. Mostly because she made it look so easy, but also because children are generally self-absorbed and lousy judges of creativity or talent. In the eyes of a child, someone who can fart the first verse of Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” is vastly more talented and creative than someone who can sew a one of a kind Rhinestone Cowboy satin snap-up western shirt with tassels and a velvet yoke. My mom did the latter, my brother attempted the former.

Actually, it wasn’t “one-of-a-kind,” my brother had one as well. Mine was black, his was cream-colored, and yes we asked our mother to make them for us. We held those shirts in such high regard that we wore them for our school pictures that year. Thankfully, by then everyone in town had grown accustomed to our “special ways” and we were spared ridicule or tassel tearing scuffles with satin and velvet opposed bullies. Lignite was such a nurturing, caring community. As they say, “It takes a village to raise an idiot.”

After a recent weekend project my appreciation of my mom’s sewing abilities has been elevated another notch or two on the Martha Stewart-O-Meter. This appreciation elevation was prompted by my attempt to sew curtains for our 1967 Aristocrat Camper. Technically, it was not an attempt, as I was successful in completing the curtain project, but I’m sure in the eyes of someone more skilled it would be classified as an “attempt.” I gave myself a C-, but I will have to wait for Mrs. Larsen, our high school home economics instructor, to swing by and issue the official grade.

I would have graded the project lower, but I gave myself extra credit for hardly using any foul language. I’m quite confident Mom could have completed the project in half the time with half the cursing. She could out-sew and out-curse me any day of the week, especially Saturdays. Keeping the people of Burke County in high fashion and raising nitwits prompted perfection in both arenas.

While I was sewing the curtains, the sound of the sewing machine kept taking me back to our old house in Lignite. The metallic click of the presser foot on the feed dogs (I googled sewing machine parts) slightly muffled by the fabric held firmly between them was a sound heard often in our house. I got so engrossed in the entire process that half a day went by without much notice.

Half a day. Precisely the time between the noon siren and the six-o-clock siren that marked the passing of each day during our youth. Now I know when Mom said, “Come home when the whistle blows” it was probably meant more as a command than a request. I had complete silence with no interruptions the entire time I was farting around with my curtain project. No worries of nitwit whereabouts, no progress interrupting lectures needed regarding why the sewing scissors should not be used to cut open freezie pops or trim your brother’s singed hair.

No fires to put out (literally), just peace and quiet punctuated by the click and hum of the sewing machine. I am my mother’s son, but thankfully, my kids are not like my mother’s nitwits.

“Like a rhinestone cowboy…”

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