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Small Game Hunting Guide

Small Game Guide Header Photo

This guide is provided for informational purposes and is not intended as a complete listing of regulations. If you desire specific information on regulations and laws, visit the Game and Fish Department website (for season proclamations) or for North Dakota state laws go to http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/T201.html.

2014-15 Small Game Hunting Guide
2014-15 Small Game-Furbearer Proclamation

Season Dates, Times, Open Areas

CANADA GEESE (EARLY SEASON)

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: August 15
  • Closes: September 15 (Except in Missouri River Zone)
  • Daily Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: 45
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

Missouri River Zone

  • Open Area: See map
  • Opens: August 15
  • Closes: September 7
  • Daily Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: 45
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

*Hunters may not combine daily or possession limits from the two zones


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RUFFED GROUSE

  • Opens: September 13
  • Closes: January 4
  • Daily Limit: 3
  • Possession Limit: 12
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset
  • Open Area: Bottineau, Rolette, Cavalier, Pembina and Walsh counties. Also that portion of the J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in McHenry County lying south of the Upham-Willow City Road is open to ruffed grouse hunting.

SHARP-TAILED GROUSE

  • Open Area: Statewide (see exception below)
  • Opens: September 13
  • Closes: January 4
  • Daily Limit: 3
  • Possession Limit: 12
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

EXCEPTION – That portion of North Dakota bordered on the west by ND Highway 32, on the north by the Sheyenne River, on the south by ND Highway 11 and on the east by the Red and Bois de Sioux rivers; and an area in Grand Forks County bordered on the east by the Red River, the south by U.S. Highway 2, the west by ND Highway 18 and the north by the Walsh and Grand Forks county line.

HUNGARIAN PARTRIDGE

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 13
  • Closes: January 4
  • Daily Limit: 3
  • Possession Limit: 12
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

PHEASANT (MALE PHEASANTS ONLY)

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: October 11 (Exception: See delayed opener area)
  • Closes: January 4
  • Daily Limit: 3
  • Possession Limit: 12
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

Youth Pheasant Season - Legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger may hunt pheasants statewide on October 4-5. An adult of at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth pheasant hunter in the field. This adult may not carry a firearm and may not hunt any species of wildlife. Daily limit and hunting hours are the same as the regular season.

Delayed Opener - Opens October 18. Includes area in Williams and McKenzie counties starting where BN Railroad enters North Dakota, then east on the railroad tracks to the west boundary of the Trenton Wildlife Management Area (southwest of Trenton), then south and east on the boundary of the Trenton WMA to the Missouri River, then directly across the river, then west to the Yellowstone River, then south and west on the Yellowstone River to the Montana border, then north to the point of origin.

In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from October 11-17.

CROWS

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Fall Season: Opens: August 9 Closes: October 26
  • Spring Season: Opens: March 14, 2015 Closes: April 26, 2015
  • Daily Limit: There is no limit on crows.
  • Possession Limit: There is no limit on crows.
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

Crows may also be taken anytime when committing or about to commit depredation as specified in federal law (50CFR21.43).

DOVES

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 1
  • Closes: November 9
  • Daily Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: 45
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

In addition to mourning doves, the bag limit includes Eurasian collared doves. It is illegal to shoot doves or other birds resting on utility lines or fixtures adjacent to such lines.

FALCONRY (SPECIAL EXTENDED) SEASON

Licensed falconers possessing the appropriate licenses may hunt resident game species from August 9 through March 22, and also migratory game birds during their open hunting seasons. In addition, falconers may hunt snipe, ducks, mergansers and coots from September 8 through September 12 and September 15 through September 19. Contact the Department for details.

SAGE GROUSE – CLOSED IN 2014

PINNATED GROUSE (PRAIRIE CHICKEN) – CLOSED IN 2014

TREE SQUIRRELS

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 13
  • Closes: January 4
  • Daily Limit: 4
  • Possession Limit: 12
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

Tree squirrels may be taken with shotguns, rimfire and muzzleloading firearms, or with bow and arrows legal for taking upland game.

SNIPE

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 20
  • Closes: December 7
  • Daily Limit: 8
  • Possession Limit: 24
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

WOODCOCK

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 27
  • Closes: November 10
  • Daily Limit: 3
  • Possession Limit: 9
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

SANDHILL CRANES

  • Unit 1
  • Opens: September 20
  • Closes: November 16
  • Daily Limit: 3
  • Possession Limit: 9
  • Open Area: That portion of North Dakota west of U.S. Highway 281.
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes be30 minutes before sunrise to: 1 p.m. CDT September 20 through November 1; 2 p.m. CST November 2 through November 16.
  • Unit 2
  • Opens: September 20
  • Closes: November 16
  • Daily Limit: 2
  • Possession Limit: 6
  • Open Area: That portion of North Dakota east of U.S. Highway 281.
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to: 1 p.m. CDT September 20 through November 1; 2 p.m. CST November 2 through November 16.


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A hunter may take up to 3 cranes in one day, provided all 3 birds are taken from Unit 1, or no more than 2 birds are taken from Unit 2. Nonresident sandhill crane hunters must possess either a small game license or a waterfowl license. Nonresidents using a small game license can hunt in either crane unit. Nonresidents using a waterfowl license must stay within their selected zones unless they possess the statewide waterfowl license. In addition to other licenses required, all sandhill crane hunters must possess a sandhill crane hunting permit available from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. It is illegal to shoot from open water or from a boat or other floating vessel in open water while hunting sandhill cranes.

 

WARNING – Know your crane species BEFORE you hunt. Endangered whooping cranes occasionally fly with sandhill cranes. Adult whoopers are snow white and young whoopers are white with some rusty brown feathers; black wing tips show on both. If you see a whooping crane, contact a Game and Fish official or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

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WATERFOWL SEASONS AND REST AREAS

Final federal regulations regarding duck and goose seasons were not available before this guide was printed. A separate waterfowl hunting guide will be distributed in September 2014.

Waterfowl rest areas are located throughout the state and are in effect September 20 through the close of the goose hunting season. Most rest areas are closed to small game hunting (includes waterfowl), others are closed to all hunting, and some are closed to just waterfowl hunting. Some areas are also closed to fishing. Refer to the waterfowl hunting guide for a listing of these areas. Signs are posted on the areas and they list regulations for the particular area.

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GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

Hunter Education Requirement – Hunters born after December 31, 1961 must have passed a certified state or provincial hunter education course in order to purchase a North Dakota hunting license. Exceptions: Persons who hunt only on land they own or operate, and youth under age 12 may hunt if they have appropriate licenses. In addition, individuals who are 16 years of age and older who have not taken the hunter education course may receive an apprentice hunter validation that enables them to hunt small game (includes waterfowl) and deer for one license year. Contact the Game and Fish Department for details.

Minimum Age – There is no minimum age for hunting small game, but anyone under age 15 afield with firearms must be licensed and under direct supervision (must be able to have unaided verbal contact) of a parent, guardian or adult authorized by their parent or guardian.


LICENSES

Hunting licenses in the form of stamps must be affixed to the back of a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Stamps and licenses must be signed in ink.

Hunters and trappers are required to purchase licenses, except any resident, or member of his or her family permanently residing with him or her, may hunt small game, trap or use cable devices during the open season without a license upon land owned or leased by him or her, but otherwise is governed by seasons, limits and all other regulations. Refer to the 2014-15 Furbearer Guide for specific furbearer season details.

Pheasant, partridge, grouse, duck, goose, swan, merganser, sandhill crane, coot, crow, snipe, dove, woodcock and squirrel hunters must possess a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and a general game and habitat license, regardless of age. In addition, hunters ages 16 and older need a small game license. Resident youth and qualifying nonresident youth hunters under age 16, and nonresidents hunting only waterfowl, do not need a small game license; nonresident crane hunters need either a small game license or a waterfowl license; all crane and swan hunters must possess special permits; all early Canada goose season hunters need a special license; and all nonresident duck, goose, swan, merganser and coot hunters must possess nonresident waterfowl licenses. All migratory game bird hunters must be certified annually through the Harvest Information Program for each state in which they are licensed.

Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – Each waterfowl hunter 16 years of age and older must carry a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (federal duck stamp) that is validated by the hunter signing the stamp in ink across the face of the stamp.

Residents do not need a license to take unprotected species of wildlife (prairie dogs, rabbits, skunks, ground squirrels). Nonresidents hunting only unprotected species of wildlife need only a nongame license.

A resident who is on leave and on active duty with the United States military may hunt small game or trap during the season without a license. Contact the Department for details.

License Fees:

Resident Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate $1
Nonresident Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate $2
General Game and Habitat License (resident and nonresident) $20
Resident Small Game License (for age 16 and over) $10
Resident Early Canada Goose License $5
Nonresident Early Canada Goose License (statewide) $50
Nonresident Small Game License (may purchase more than one per year) $100
Nonresident Small Game License, General Game and Habitat License, and Certificate $122
Nonresident Waterfowl License (zones) $100
Nonresident Waterfowl License (zones), General Game and Habitat License, and Certificate $122
Nonresident Waterfowl License (statewide) $150
Nonresident Waterfowl License (statewide), General Game and Habitat License, and Certificate $172
Crane Permit (resident) $10
Crane Permit (nonresident) $30
Resident Swan License (issued by lottery) $10
Nonresident Swan License (issued by lottery) $30
Resident Furbearer License (for age 16 and over) $15
Nonresident Furbearer and Nongame License $40
Nonresident Nongame License $15
Resident Combination License (Fishing, Small Game, General Game and Habitat, and Furbearer) $50

Nonresident Small Game Hunters – Nonresident small game hunters may hunt statewide but must select two 7-day hunting periods or one 14-day hunting period. More than one small game license may be purchased per year.

Nonresident Youth Hunting Licenses – A nonresident under age 16 need only purchase a North Dakota resident fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and a North Dakota resident general game and habitat license to hunt small game and waterfowl, except swans and wild turkeys; provided that the nonresident’s state of residence, or province or territory of Canada, provides a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents who are also under age 16. (Currently states of CO, CT, ID, KY, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, NJ, NY, OH, SC, TN, TX, WA and WI qualify.) To be eligible, a nonresident youth must not turn 16 before September 1 of the year for which the license is issued, and must possess a certificate of completion for a certified hunter education course. The nonresident youth may only hunt under the supervision of an adult family member or legal guardian who is licensed to hunt small game or waterfowl in this state and is subject to the same regulations as that youth’s adult family member or legal guardian.

Nonresident full-time students living in North Dakota, who are attending a North Dakota state or tribal college, or a private institution of higher education, may qualify for purchasing resident (nonlottery) licenses. Contact the Department for details.

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HARVEST INFORMATION PROGRAM (HIP)

All migratory game bird hunters must register annually with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) before hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Before your license to hunt is legal you must register by calling toll free 888-634- 4798. After answering a brief survey you will receive a HIP registration number which must be recorded on your fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. NOTE: If you purchase your hunting license at the Department’s Bismarck office, through the Department’s website, or over the phone with the toll-free number you can easily get HIP registered. If you participated in the spring snow goose conservation hunt in North Dakota in 2014, you should have already been HIP registered. HIP is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program designed to measure the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes. HIP certification is required in each state in which you hunt migratory birds.

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DEFINITION OF TERMS

"Game" includes any of those species of small game, or furbearers as defined in Section 20.1-01-02 of the North Dakota Century Code.

"Small Game" includes all game birds (including waterfowl) and tree squirrels.

"Upland Game" includes sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge, pheasants, ruffed grouse and tree squirrels.

"Migratory Game Birds" includes ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, dove and woodcock. All hunters must be HIP registered.

"Waterfowl" includes ducks, geese, swans, mergansers and coots.

"Daily Bag Limit" (Daily Limit) means the maximum number of a particular game that one hunter, legally licensed by this state, may take or kill during a single hunting day, within the boundaries of this state.

"Possession Limit" means the maximum number of a particular game species that a hunter, legally licensed by this state, may have in his/her actual possession during any phase of any single hunting trip, venture, or expedition of more than one day. No more than one daily limit may be taken on any one day. The possession limit at one’s personal permanent residence, except for waterfowl and migratory game birds, is not limited.

"Possession Limit for Waterfowl and Migratory Game Birds" means the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or a combination of species permitted to be possessed by any one person when lawfully taken in the United States in any one specified geographic area (typically a state, Indian reservation or a hunting unit or zone within a state) for which a possession limit is prescribed.

"Migratory Bird Preservation Facility" is any person or business for hire or other consideration, taxidermist, cold storage or locker plant facility, or hunting club which receives, possesses, or has in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another for purposes of picking, cleaning, freezing, processing, storage or shipment.

"Possession of Shot other than Nontoxic Shot" means in the gun, or in the pockets, or within reach while in the process of hunting. See nontoxic shot regulations below.

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NONTOXIC SHOT REGULATIONS

The possession or use of shot other than federally approved nontoxic shot is prohibited while hunting ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, tundra swans, mergansers, snipe and coot statewide. For a list of approved nontoxic shot, visit http://www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html.

Nontoxic shot is required for all hunting on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands, including federal refuges and waterfowl production areas. This regulation applies to all hunters using shotguns, except while hunting turkeys and big game. These shot requirements are in addition to current statewide nontoxic shot requirements for migratory birds as listed above.

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LEGAL FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION

Game Birds and Waterfowl – Only firearms no smaller than .410 gauge nor larger than 10 gauge loaded with shot and capable of holding no more than three shells, legal archery equipment, and raptors may be used. Pistols may not be used to take migratory game birds. Nontoxic shot is required for some species and on some lands. Raptors may be used only by those possessing a falconry permit.

A bow must be pulled, held and released by hand. Any release aid may be used providing it is hand operated, the shooter supports the draw weight of the bow, and the release is not attached to any part of the bow other than at the bowstring. Telescopic sights, range finding devices, battery-powered or electronically lighted sights or other electronic devices attached to the bow, or the arrow, are not permitted. Handheld range-finding devices are legal. Arrows capable of causing damage or injury in excess of that inflicted by the cutting edges of the broadhead, are prohibited while hunting small game with a bow (e.g., explosive arrow points, arrows tipped with drugs or chemicals, and pneumatic or hydraulic shafts are illegal). Arrows must be at least 24 inches long and have at least 2 untrimmed feathers, or not less than 5 trimmed feathers when shooting at birds in flight.

Blind individuals, paraplegics and/or those having lost the use of one or both arms, having a permit from the Game and Fish Director to hunt with a crossbow, may use a crossbow during small game seasons. Contact the Department for additional information on crossbow regulations.

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IDENTIFICATION

One fully feathered wing or the fully feathered head of all waterfowl, snipe, crane, and woodcock; and one leg and foot, or the fully feathered head, or the fully feathered wing of pheasant, Hungarian partridge and all grouse shall remain attached to such game during transportation or shipment until it reaches the hunter's legal residence or it is processed to be immediately consumed. (Exception: Geese only: Commercial game processors who comply with all state and federal tagging and record keeping requirements may remove identification from geese to be processed for consumption, prior to reaching the hunter's legal residence. The processed geese may be transported when accompanied by a copy of the record provided by the processor. Processed geese are still subject to daily and possession limit regulations.)

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AIRCRAFT, BOATS, MOTOR-DRIVEN VEHICLES

It is illegal to kill, chase, harass, flush, drive, concentrate, rally, raise, stir up, spot or disturb game with all types of aircraft, including drones, boats or motor-driven vehicles.

It is illegal to shoot with bow and arrow or firearm while in or on a motordriven vehicle.

No person may carry a firearm with a cartridge in the chamber in or on a motor-driven vehicle while hunting, except as otherwise provided by law. The entire cylinder of a revolver is considered the chamber, requiring the revolver to be completely unloaded. Handguns with removable magazines or clips must have the magazine or clips removed from the firearm if the magazine or clip contains any loaded shells. It is illegal to carry any muzzleloading firearm in or on a motor-driven vehicle with a cap or primer in place or powder in the flash pan.

Driving off established roads and trails on private land is:

  • Legal for the hunting of waterfowl and cranes;
  • Legal for the hunting of upland game with written permission from the landowner or lessee who actively farms or ranches the land (exception: does not apply during the deer gun season);
  • NOT legal for the hunting of big game except for retrieval of harvested big game.
  • Landowners may be more restrictive on their own property. In general, driving off established roads and trails is not allowed on state and federal lands. For more detailed information check with the managing agency.

Mallard Island and deTrobriand Island within Lake Sakakawea are closed to the use of all motor-driven vehicles and aircraft. On all other wildlife management areas owned or managed by the Department, the use of all motordriven vehicles is restricted to those constructed roads, well worn trails, and parking areas normally used by passenger cars. Motor-driven vehicle use on wildlife management areas is further restricted or prohibited where posted as such.

Established roads or trails do not include temporary trails made for agricultural purposes.

No person may use motor-driven vehicles on North Dakota Game and Fish Department Conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) property without permission from the landowner, or as otherwise signed by the Department. These areas have been entrusted to the public for walking access through written agreements with private landowners. The boundaries of these properties are identified by large yellow triangular signs.

Motorboats are legal for going to and from hunting areas. Ducks, coots, mergansers, geese and tundra swans may be taken from a floating craft, excluding a sink box, if such craft is either beached, fastened within or tied immediately alongside any type of fixed hunting blind, or resting at anchor. It is illegal to shoot from a sunken device or any floating vessel on open water, or to use or cause to be used any floating battery, electric, steam, gasoline or other powered vessel in an attempt to take waterfowl. A motorboat, sailboat or other craft may be used to pick up dead or injured birds.

All watercraft must have aboard a U.S. Coast Guard approved life preserver for each occupant. Additionally, any watercraft powered by any motor (including electric motors) must be registered and numbered (licensed) through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, or for nonresidents - through the state where principally used.

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TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE

License holders must accompany their game, or parts thereof, (excluding hide) during transportation. Game may be shipped by common carrier in receipt of proper bill of lading. No resident of the state may ship game or parts thereof (other than hides) out of state without a permit from the Department. Any resident, other than a licensed furbuyer complying with Section 20.1-03-23 of the North Dakota Century Code who ships or transports such hides or furs, shall tag each hide or fur with the name of the person having taken it and that person’s furbearer license number. Except for legally gifted game, it is illegal to possess or transport another’s game animal, or parts thereof (excluding hide), without the license holder accompanying or as otherwise permitted.

No person shall leave or store any game birds at any place other than that person’s legal residence unless each piece of game is tagged with the owner’s signature and address, date taken, number and species of game, and license number of the person who harvested the game. The packaging of game birds away from a person's legal residence must be in a manner that the species and number of game birds in each package is easily determined.

Game may be gifted to another, however this does not allow a person to exceed a daily limit. Any gifted game to be transported must be tagged with the above information and display sex and species identification as required. Termination of possession can only be accomplished by: (1) gifting of legally harvested game; (2) by consuming the game.

Nonresidents may transport or ship from the state a possession limit of upland game. No one may possess in the field, transport or ship at any one time, more than a possession limit of upland game. No one may possess, store, transport or ship at any one time, more than a possession limit of migratory game birds. No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with: (1) the name and address of the person sending the birds; (2) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent; and (3) the number of each species contained in the package. No person shall put or leave any game birds at any place unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information: the hunter’s signature and address, date taken, number and species of such birds, and small game or waterfowl license number. The above tag is required if the birds have been left by the hunter for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment or taxidermy services. No person shall transport migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are tagged as required (see above). Passengers in a vehicle that is transporting their birds are not required to tag their birds.

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POSTING AND TRESPASS

Only the owner or tenant, or an individual authorized by the owner, may post land by placing signs giving notice that no hunting is permitted on the land. The name of the person posting the land must appear on each sign in legible characters. The signs must be readable from the outside of the land and must be placed conspicuously not more than 880 yards (one-half mile) apart. For land entirely enclosed by a fence or other enclosure, posting of signs at or on all gates through the fence or enclosure constitutes a posting of all the enclosed land.

It is illegal to hunt on posted lands without permission from the owner or tenant. Hunting on posted land without permission can be prosecuted even if the land is not posted to the letter of the law. Trespass is a criminal violation punishable by suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for a period of at least one year.

It is illegal to hunt upon the premises of another within 440 yards (one-quarter mile) of any occupied building without the consent of the person occupying the building. This does not prohibit hunting on land owned by neighbors (private or public) even if the land is less than 440 yards (one-quarter mile) from the occupied building.

Any person may enter upon legally posted land (without a firearm or bow) to recover game shot or killed on land where he/she had a lawful right to hunt.

It is illegal to hunt in unharvested cereal and oilseed crops, including sprouted winter wheat, alfalfa, clover and other grasses grown for seed, without the owner's consent.

It is illegal to deface, take down or destroy posting signs. Failure to close gates upon exit or entry is a criminal violation, punishable by forfeiture of hunting licenses.

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ROAD RIGHTS OF WAY

Do not hunt on road rights of way unless you are certain that they are open to public use. Most road rights of way are under the control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed to hunting.

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WANTON WASTE OF WATERFOWL, MIGRATORY GAME BIRDS AND UPLAND GAME

No person shall kill, cripple, waste, destroy, spoil or abandon the edible flesh of any migratory game or upland game without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird/animal, and retain it in his/her actual custody, at the place where taken and between that place and either (a) his or her personal permanent residence; (b) taxidermist; or (c) a common carrier. Edible flesh means the breast meat of any game bird or the hind legs and lower back of a squirrel.

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FIRE DANGER INDEX

Fire danger indexes provide an indication of wildland fire potential. Fire danger indexes are calculated considering temperature, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover and vegetative condition, and are rated as Low, Medium, High, Very High or Extreme. Fires are more likely to occur on higher index days. Certain outdoor activities may be prohibited when a fire danger index is considered Very High or Extreme. Hunters are asked to be aware of current fire danger indexes. Updated information is available through NOAA Weather Radio, the National Weather Service at www.crh.noaa.gov/bis/, or from county sheriff offices.

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CLOSED OR RESTRICTED AREAS

PLOTS Areas – In accordance with NDCC 20.1-08-04.9, nonresidents may not hunt any game from October 11 through October 17 on North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or on Conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas.

Wildlife management areas so posted, refuges, sanctuaries, national parks and historic sites shall be closed to the hunting of all species. (Exception: small game hunting may be permitted at times and on those areas of federally owned refuges designated by the refuge manager.) For additional regulations on federal refuges, contact refuge headquarters.

The Minot and Grand Forks air bases are closed to hunting.

Carrying or possession of firearms on wildlife management areas so posted shall be prohibited from May 1 through September 1 or dates posted on the signs.

State school land is open to public access including hunting unless posted with ND Department of Trust Lands signs. Contact the ND Department of Trust Lands for additional information regarding state school lands.

State law allows the Governor to close or postpone a hunting season upon reasonable notice through the media if climatic conditions create a fire hazard.

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OTHER RESTRICTIONS

An individual must harvest his or her own limit.

It is illegal to go afield with a firearm or archery equipment while intoxicated.

It is illegal to possess or use an electronic or recorded call while hunting migratory game birds.

Use of night vision equipment, electronically enhanced light gathering optics or thermal imaging equipment for locating or hunting game is prohibited.

Hunters may retrieve game that has fallen into a state wildlife refuge if they leave their firearms outside the boundary. They may not retrieve game that has fallen into a federal wildlife refuge unless there has been a retrieving zone designated by the refuge manager.

It is illegal to shoot harmless birds. All hawks, owls, falcons and eagles are protected by state and federal law.

It is illegal to use live ducks or geese as decoys.

No person may possess or sell any live wildlife or release any wildlife into the wild without a permit from the Department.

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SUMMARY OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS

The following is a synopsis of federal regulations that pertain to the hunting of migratory game birds. Persons requiring more information should go to http://www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html, to find a complete version of 50 CFR Part 20, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 701-250-4418 or 701-255-0593, or a local national wildlife refuge office.

Migratory birds include all migratory game birds and most birds found in the United States with the exception of the house sparrow, feral pigeon (commonly called rock dove), European starling, Eurasian collared dove, mute swan, and upland game birds, which are protected by state laws. A complete list of protected migratory birds is found in Title 50 Code of Federal Regulations, Section. 10.13.

Daily bag limit means the maximum number of migratory game birds of single species or combination (aggregate) of species permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season in any one specified geographic area (typically a hunting unit or zone) for which a daily bag limit is prescribed.

Aggregate daily bag limit means the maximum number of migratory game birds permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season when such person hunts in more than one specified geographic area and/or for more than one species for which a combined daily bag limit is prescribed. The aggregate daily bag limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest daily bag limit prescribed for any one species or for any one specified geographic area (typically a second state, Indian reservation, hunting unit or zone within a state) in which taking occurs.

Opening day of a season – No person on the opening day of the season shall possess any freshly killed migratory game birds in excess of the daily bag limit, or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies.

Field possession limit – No person shall possess, have in custody, or transport more than the daily bag limit or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies, of migratory game birds, tagged or not tagged, at or between the place where taken and either (a) his/her automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his/her personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.

Aggregate possession limit means the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination of species taken in the United States permitted to be possessed by any one person when taking and possession occurs in more than one specified geographic area (typically a second state, Indian reservation, hunting unit or zone with a state) for which a possession limit is prescribed. The aggregate possession limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest possession limit prescribed for any one of the species or specified geographic areas in which taking and possession occurs.

Personal abode means one’s principal or ordinary home or dwelling place, as distinguished from one’s temporary or transient place of abode or dwelling such as a hunting club, or any club house, cabin, tent or trailer house used as a hunting club, or any hotel, motel or rooming house used during a hunting, pleasure or business trip.

No person shall take migratory game birds:

  • With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance; with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells.
  • From or by means, aid, or use of any motor vehicle, motor-driven land conveyance, or aircraft of any kind, except that paraplegics and persons missing one or both legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance.
  • By the use or aid of live birds as decoys; although not limited to, it shall be a violation for any person to take migratory waterfowl on an area where tame or captive live ducks or geese are present unless such birds are and have been for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to such taking, confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such birds from the sight of wild migratory waterfowl.
  • By the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. Baiting means the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them.

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HUNTING BY NONTRIBAL MEMBERS ON NORTH DAKOTA INDIAN RESERVATIONS

If an individual hunts exclusively on Indian lands within an Indian reservation, a tribal license is required and a state hunting license is not required. Hunting on nontribal lands within an Indian reservation requires a state hunting license. Game taken legally with a tribal license within an Indian reservation may be possessed and transported anywhere in North Dakota. Portions of some units are located on Indian reservations. Contact reservation tribal offices for more information:

  • Fort Berthold. Game and Fish Department, 404 Frontage Road, NewTown, ND 58763, 701-627-4760.
  • Standing Rock. Game and Fish Department, Box 549, Fort Yates, ND 58538, 701-854-7236.
  • Turtle Mountain. Department of Natural Resources, Box 570, Belcourt, ND 58316, 701-477-2604.
  • Spirit Lake. Fish and Wildlife Department, Box 359, Fort Totten, ND 58335, 701-766-4221.

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Sunrise and Sunset Times

Sunrise and Sunset Times

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RAP (REPORT ALL POACHERS) PROGRAM

This program encourages people to report wildlife violations, remain anonymous if they prefer, and receive monetary rewards for convictions based on their information. Anonymous callers will be given a special code number and are not required to give their name. Rewards range from $100 to $1,000 depending on the nature and seriousness of the crime. Call 800-472-2121. Call this number only to report game and fish violations. Note: If calling from outside North Dakota, the number is 701-328-9921.The reward fund is supported by private donations. If you wish to donate to the RAP program, tax deductible contributions can be sent to RAP, Box 188, Valley City, ND 58072-0188.

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