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2022 Enforcement Division Review

By Chief Game Warden Scott Winkelman

Game warden checking an hunter's harvest

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s enforcement division had another tremendous year in 2022.

The effort and professionalism exhibited by game wardens of this fine state are second to none, and I am extremely proud of the work they all do in protecting our wildlife, habitat, and those who enjoy it.

They truly are the “best of the best” in law enforcement.

The amount of work and responsibility game wardens of North Dakota are responsible for is really eye opening.

North Dakota has the third smallest number of wildlife law enforcement officers in the nation, with 38 full time game wardens, with each patrolling districts covering an estimated 2,438 square miles.

Only Delaware (30) and Rhode Island (32) have fewer game wardens.

When you consider that those states are about the same size as Cass and Grand Forks counties, it really is a testament to the amount of great work our game wardens do.

In the following pages you will see the citation and field contact information for the past year.

It is important to note that by state law all fines and fees collected due to convictions for these citations are paid to the county where the violation occurred and added to the state school fund.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department does not receive any funding from the fines or fees associated with citations issued.

I hope that you all find time in 2023 to safely enjoy the wildlife and waters that our game wardens have dedicated their careers and time protecting.

2022 Summary of Violations

2022 Summary of Violations
Illegal taking/possession of big game42
Failure to wear fluorescent orange14
Tagging violations27
CWD violations17
Killing wrong species or sex7
Shining big game7
Other big game violations26
Using gun able to hold more than 3 shells56
Hunting before/after legal hours30
Illegal possession/taking2
Exceeding limit56
Failure to leave identification or sex of game53
Killing wrong sex or species10
Wanton waste33
Other small game violations52
Use of unlicensed or unnumbered boat40
Failure to display boat registration60
Operating without lights at night45
Inadequate number of PFDs268
Water skiing violations13
Reckless or negligent operation11
Operating vessel under influence/intoxicated17
Other boating violations219
Exceeding limit86
Fishing in closed/restricted area3
Fishing with illegal bait10
Paddlefish violations8
ANS violations86
Other fishing violations130
Other Furbearer violations3
Use of motor vehicle off established trail61
Hunting on posted land without permission38
Aid in concealment of unlawful game5
Loaded firearm in motor vehicle37
440-yard violation6
Hunting in unharvested field4
Other general violations9
Hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license222
Failure to carry license on person218
Misrepresentation on license or application30
Other licensing violations9
Failure to obey posted regulations52
Tree stand violations14
Possession of glass beverage containers7
Camping violations2
Prohibited use of motor vehicles6
PLOTS access violations19
Other WMA/refuge violations9
Possession of controlled substance30
Possession of drug paraphernalia24
Open container12
Minor in possession30
Criminal trespass79
Other miscellaneous15
Commercial violations6
Grand Total2,404


(An incident is defined as any situation that requires a response from a game warden. It does not have to be a crime. The situation could be, for example, a stranded angler.)

  • Ramsey – 235
  • McLean – 165
  • Williams – 181
  • McKenzie - 146
  • Burleigh - 124
  • Cass - 112
  • Mountrail - 110
  • Stark - 100
  • Ward - 90
  • Stutsman - 87
  • Total - 2,730


  • Ramsey - 324
  • Williams - 123
  • McKenzie - 115
  • Benson - 111
  • Mclean - 110
  • Bottineau - 93
  • Burleigh - 92
  • Stark - 84
  • Kidder - 77
  • Mountrail - 77
  • Total - 2,389

Field Contacts

“That’s an important statistic for us to keep. When you think about it, that’s a lot of people we are reaching. A field contact is any time one of our wardens has an interaction with somebody in the field, usually just checking a license, equipment, bag limits. We can answer questions and hopefully point them in the right direction. It’s a friendly interaction and it’s good all around,” said Scott Winkelman, Game and Fish chief warden, of the nearly 47,000 field contacts wardens made in 2022.

Staff Awards

Jonathan Peterson

Peterson Named Wildlife Officer of the Year

Jonathan Peterson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden in Devils Lake, is the state’s 2022 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Johnson was honored by Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Scott Winkelman said Peterson’s district contains North Dakota’s largest natural lake, Devils Lake.

“The Devils Lake region is known for its year-round fishing and fall waterfowl hunting. Warden Peterson patrols by vehicle, boat, ATV/UTV and snowmobile to accomplish his enforcement goals in all four seasons,” Winkelman said. “He works diligently to be in the right place at the right time to promote safety and deter violators. He has been a very effective and efficient game warden by building relationships with landowners, who in turn don’t hesitate to call him when violations are occurring. Warden Peterson is an asset to not only the Department but to North Dakota in the protection of our natural resources.”

Kylor Johnston

Johnston Earns Boating Officer Award

Kylor Johnston, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden, Hazen, was named North Dakota’s Boating Officer of the Year in 2022. His district includes the state’s largest reservoir, Lake Sakakawea. Chief game warden Scott Winkelman said warden Johnston is an asset to the Department and the boating public he serves and is an outstanding example of professionalism to those he works with.