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Alert: COVID-19 Related Closures and Information (Note: Department offices are open to public access by appointment only.)


The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is offering 7,005 wild turkey licenses for the 2021 spring hunting season, 775 more than last year.

Fifteen of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than last year and six remain the same. Unit 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed due to lack of turkeys in the unit.

One noteworthy change from last year is…

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated about 165,000 Canada geese in the state.

Andy Dinges, department migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 67,200 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River from MacLean Bottoms Wildlife Management Area south of Bismarck to Garrison Dam. An additional 65,100 Canada…

With most chronic wasting disease testing completed, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department reports 18 deer tested positive during the 2020 hunting season.

Fourteen were from hunting unit 3F2, two were from unit 3A1 and one was from unit 4B. A white-tailed deer harvested in unit 3A2 also tested positive and was the first detection in the unit.

CWD is a fatal disease of deer…

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.

The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.

Hunters are reminded that tree stands, blinds, steps and other personal items such as cameras, must be removed from all wildlife management areas by Jan. 31.

Items not removed by Jan. 31 are considered abandoned property and are subject to removal and confiscation by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Mountain lion hunting during the late season in Zone 1 is closed immediately. The zone’s late-season harvest limit of either seven total cats or three females was reached after the third female was taken.

A conditional season in Zone 1 will open Jan. 24 for hunters to pursue the additional six mountain lions that were not taken during the early season. The Zone 1 early season harvest…

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish unharmed, or…

North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists are encouraging ice anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters.

Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 30 feet or more of water, because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.

Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for its voluntary Conservation Reserve Program. Private landowners can sign up at their local USDA Farm Service Agency office through Feb. 12.

This popular USDA program provides options for environmentally sensitive land by reducing soil erosion and improving water quality, but it also provides significant benefits to…

Hunter success during last fall’s pronghorn hunting season was 76%, according to statistics provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish issued 1,782 licenses (1,108 lottery and 674 gratis), and 1,572 hunters took 1,199 pronghorn, consisting of 1,044 bucks, 137 does and 18 fawns. Each hunter spent an average of three days afield.

The 2021 pronghorn…

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will once again track hunting and fishing issues during the 2021 legislative session.

Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by visiting the Game and Fish website,

A brief description of each bill will be included. To view the bill in its entirety, click on the linked bill number.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department urges winter anglers to use extreme caution when venturing on the ice.

Jackie Lundstrom, operations supervisor for the enforcement division, said ice conditions are some of the worst she has seen for this time of the year.

“Especially thickness varying over a short distance,” she said. “Ice thickness is never consistent and can vary…

Advancements in technology, easily retrieved on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, allow ice anglers access to more than 200 lake contour maps, providing yet another tool in the angler’s tackle box.

“Back when we first started mapping in the early 2000s, anglers pretty much had to print a paper lake contour map at home and take it with them to help navigate and find…

Mike Anderson, video project supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence.

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said COVID-19 did not stop him from missing a weekly assignment or deadline.

“From traveling to every corner of the state to take his next photo, film his next video,…

Kylor Johnston, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Hazen, is the state’s 2020 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Johnston was honored recently 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…

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand recently honored employees with performance-based awards. 

Ashley Peterson, photographer/videographer, Bismarck, was recognized for her efforts in livestreaming the spring and fall advisory board meetings.

Bob Frohlich, fisheries development supervisor, Bismarck, was recognized for fisheries development projects,…

North Dakota’s free ice fishing weekend is Dec. 26-27.

Resident anglers may fish that weekend without a license. All other winter fishing regulations apply.

Fishing regulations and information on fishing waters is available on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's website at

The 2021 North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar is available for ordering online at the state Game and Fish Department website,

The calendar features outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, and includes season opening and application deadline dates, sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

Calendars are also available via mail order. Send $3 for each…

Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made of materials that will allow it to float.

Other fish house regulations include:

Fish houses do not require a license. Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have an equipment registration numberissued by the North Dakota Game and…

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates to help hunters prepare for hunting seasons.

Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2021 include:

2021 Tentative Season Opening Dates Season Tentative Open Date Spring Turkey April 10 Dove September 1 Deer and…