With permit quotas reduced for the upcoming deer seasons, hunters may find tags easily obtained in the past will be in limited supply. Hunters can improve chances of getting a permit by applying during June and July.
Changes to permit quotas are driven by a severe decline in the 2022-23 deer harvest which was down 11% statewide, and down 22% from 2020. Mule deer buck harvest was the lowest since 1981; whitetail buck harvest was the lowest since 1994. As a result, nonresidents will find fewer permits will be available to them.
Overall, Game and Parks has reduced November firearm permits available to all hunters by 5.9% and Antlerless Only Season Choice permits by 7.4%.
Nonresidents will be limited to 10,000 total either-sex and buck-only deer permits. Youth and landowners are not included in that quota. Nonresidents will be limited to 15% of available November firearm permits in the following units: Frenchman Mule Deer Conservation Area, Platte MDCA, Pine Ridge MDCA, Upper Platte, Sandhills, Plains and Calamus West.
The statewide archery permit quota for nonresidents will be reduced to 3,000 from 5,000 in 2023. The permit will not be valid for mule deer in the Mule Deer Conservation Area. Nonresidents seeking to archery hunt in an MDCA unit must use either a Buffalo, Frenchman, Pine Ridge, Platte or Republican MD MDCA permit; the archery season has been added to that permit to accommodate that opportunity.
The statewide muzzleloader quota will be reduced to 1,000 from 2,000 in 2023. MDCA restrictions still apply.
As in previous years, antelope archery has a nonresident quota of 250 permits. General elk permits are not available to nonresidents.
Statewide whitetail harvest largely remained stable in the years after a large outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in 2012. But between increased harvest due to depredation complaints beginning in 2019 and minor to moderated EHD outbreaks in 2021 and 2022, whitetail numbers and harvest are down over much of the state.
Mule deer harvest has declined greatly from record and near-record levels in many western deer units. The decline in buck harvest and populations has been faster than anticipated. Additionally, cases of meningeal brain worm were reported in several central and southwest deer units, and fawn production has declined significantly.
Select “big game permits” for more information about big game species and permit application dates.