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North Dakota Game and Fish Department

North Dakota Game and Fish Department

News Releases

Administrative Rules Hearing Set Dec. 12

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will hold a public hearing to address proposed rules changes to Title 30 of the North Dakota Administrative Code. The hearing is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at the agency's main office in Bismarck. 

The purpose and an explanation of the proposed rule changes are listed below.

Chapter 30-03-01.1. Section 30-03-01.1-02. Bait Definitions. An amendment to remove rainbow smelt from this section.

Chapter 30-03-01.1. Section 30-03-01.1-12. Equipment for taking legal live aquatic bait. An amendment to update equipment used for taking legal live aquatic bait.

Chapter 30-03-05. Section 30-03-05-01. Fishing contest defined. REPEAL

Chapter 30-03-05. Section 30-03-05-02. Organizations eligible. REPEAL

Chapter 30-03-05. Section 30-03-05-03. Use of proceeds. REPEAL

Chapter 30-03-05. Section 30-03-05-04. Application. Amendment to update the application process for fishing contests.

Chapter 30-03-05. Section 30-03-05-05. Fishing contest rules and regulations. Amendment to update exceptions to nongame fish, and to rules and regulations regarding the donation of fish fillets.

Chapter 30-03-05. Section 30-03-05-06. Reasons for denying permits. REPEAL

Chapter 30-03-05. Section 30-03-05-07. Post-contest report required. REPEAL

Chapter 30-03-06. Section 30-03-06-01. Equipment. An amendment to update aquatic nuisance species equipment violations for not following ANS procedures for draining and cleaning a vessel.

Chapter 30-03-06. Section 30-03-06-05. Water prohibited. Amendment to prohibit water imported from another state.

Chapter 30-03-06. Section 30-03-06-07. Penalty. Amendment to add a $250 fee for a person guilty of a noncriminal offense who violates subsection 3 of North Dakota Administrative Code section 30-03-06-05.

Chapter 30-04-02. Section 30-04-02-11. Camping. Amendment to add fish management areas.

Chapter 30-05-01. Section 30-05-01-02. Boat safety equipment. Amendment to update length of boats regarding bells and whistles and amendment to update requirements for lighting.

Chapter 30-05-01. Section 30-05-01-05. Accident Reports. Amendment to update boating accident report, time requirement to file, and how to access the report.

The proposed rules may be reviewed at the Game and Fish Department’s office at 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095, or website A copy of the proposed rules may be requested in writing from the above address, or by calling 701-328-6305, or emailing Written or oral comments on the proposed rules sent to the above mailing or email address, or telephone number and received by Dec. 23, 2023, will be fully considered.

Anyone planning to attend the public hearing and needs special facilities or assistance relating to a disability should contact the Department at the above address or phone number at least seven days before the public hearing.

Deer Hunters Should be Aware of Early Ice

North Dakota’s deer gun season opens Nov. 10 at 12 p.m. Central time, and the state Game and Fish Department cautions deer hunters to be wary of ice conditions.

In some parts of the state, there are already smaller and mid-sized waters that show the appearance of safe ice. Even though deer might be able to make it across, it doesn’t mean hunters can.

Ice can form overnight, causing unstable conditions. Ice thickness is not consistent, as it can vary significantly within a few inches. Hunters walking the edge of a cattail slough will not find the same ice thickness in the middle, as the edges firm up faster than farther out from shore.

Hunters should be cautious of walking on frozen stock ponds, sloughs, creeks and rivers.

A few reminders:

  • Snow insulates ice, which in turn inhibits solid ice formation, and hides cracks, weak and open water areas.
  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.

Hunters Encouraged to Have Deer Tested for CWD, Reminded of Disposal Requirements

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2023 hunting season by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease from select units in the southeastern portion of the state. 

Samples will be tested from deer taken from units 2A, 2B, 2F2, 2G, 2G1, 2G2, 2H, 2I and 2J2. Outside of this area, hunters can still have their animal tested by taking it to a Game and Fish district office, deer head collection site or by using a self-sampling kit.

CWD is a slow-moving brain disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause population-level impacts under high infection rates.

Hunters are encouraged to drop off heads of adult or yearling deer at collection locations listed on the department’s website at Fawns and head-shot deer cannot be tested. Hunters wishing to keep the heads can bring them to a Game and Fish district office during business hours to have them sampled.

Self-sampling kits are available for hunters who wish to have their deer tested but are unable to drop the head at a collection site. The do-it-yourself kit allows hunters to remove the lymph nodes and ship them to the department’s wildlife health lab for testing.

Results can be expected within four weeks and will be sent to your Game and Fish My Account inbox.

Hunters are also reminded that carcass disposal requirements now apply statewide. The entire carcass can be transported outside of the gun unit where it was harvested. If transported out of the gun unit, the carcass waste (material left after processing) must be disposed of via landfill or waste management provider. This requirement does not apply to heads dropped at CWD collection sites, or lymph nodes submitted for CWD surveillance.

More information on CWD is available at the Game and Fish website.

Register for Game Warden Exam

Individuals interested in taking the exam to select candidates for a full-time temporary district game warden position must register by Dec. 27. Testing locations are scheduled for 10 a.m. Central time at the following locations the first week in January 2024.

  • Jan. 3 – Game and Fish office, Williston.
  • Jan. 4 – Game and Fish office, Bismarck.
  • Jan. 5 – West Fargo Police Department, West Fargo.

Applicants must register by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

Applicants must be at least 21, have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire or an associate degree with either 2 years of law enforcement or wildlife experience, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or eligible to be licensed. Candidates must successfully complete a comprehensive background check and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

Salary through training is $4,500 per month. For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website,

Deer Season Questions and Answers

Every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department receives questions from deer hunters to clarify rules and regulations. Some common questions are listed below. Hunters with further questions are encouraged to visit the Game and Fish Department’s website,, or call 701-328-6300, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays.

I have a concurrent season license. When can I use it? The license can be used during archery season with a bow; deer gun season with a bow, rifle or muzzleloader; or the muzzleloader season with a muzzleloader. You are restricted to the type of antlerless deer printed on the license and must stay in the unit to which the license is assigned.

Can hunters age 14 or 15 (in 2023) with a youth season license who did not harvest a deer during the youth season, hunt the regular deer gun season with this license? Yes, but you are subject to the restrictions listed on the license.

Can hunters age 11, 12 or 13 (in 2023) with an antlerless white-tailed deer license who did not harvest a deer during the youth season, hunt the regular deer gun season with this license? Yes, but you are subject to the restrictions listed on the license.

I was unsuccessful in filling my mule deer buck license in a restricted unit during the youth season. Can I hunt the remainder of the state during the regular gun season? No. You are restricted to the same unit as during the youth season.

I shot a deer, but it is rotten. What can I do? You must take possession of the animal by tagging it. A license only allows the opportunity to hunt. It is not a guarantee to harvest a deer, or to the quality of the animal.

What should I do if I find a wounded deer? Contact a game warden. Do not shoot the deer unless you want to tag it or are instructed by the warden to do so.

Is camouflage blaze orange acceptable for the deer gun season? No. You must wear both a hat and outer garment above the waistline totaling at least 400 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange.

I hunt with a bow. When do I have to wear orange? Only during the regular deer gun season.

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

Can I hunt on a section line if it is posted on both sides? No. If the land is posted on both sides, the section line is closed to hunting, but open for travel.

Can I hunt over bait on private land? It is unlawful to hunt over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, in deer hunting units impacted by chronic wasting disease.

Can I take the carcass outside of the unit? The entire carcass can be transported outside of the gun unit where it was harvested. If transported out of the gun unit, the carcass waste (material left after processing) must be disposed of via landfill or waste management provider. This requirement does not apply to heads dropped at CWD collection sites, or lymph nodes submitted for CWD surveillance.

Can I retrieve a wounded deer from posted land? If the deer was shot on land where you had a legal right to be and it ran onto posted land, you may retrieve it. However, you may not take a firearm or bow with you. The department suggests contacting the landowner as a courtesy prior to entering.

What if the landowner says I cannot retrieve a deer from posted land that was shot on land where I had a right to be? Contact a game warden.

Can I drive off-trail on private land to retrieve a deer? Unless prohibited by a landowner or operator, you may drive off-trail on private land once a deer has been killed and properly tagged. You must proceed to the carcass by the shortest accessible route and return to the road or trail by the same route.

Can I transport someone else's deer? Yes, but you will need a transportation permit from a game warden. The license holder, person transporting the animal, and the carcass must be presented to the game warden before the permit is issued.

May I carry a pistol when I am hunting with a deer rifle? Yes, but the handgun must meet minimum requirements listed in the deer hunting regulations to be legal for taking deer.

Can I carry both bow and gun afield during deer gun season if I have both licenses? Yes, but only if you are going to fill your gun license. No firearms, except handguns, may be in the hunter’s possession while hunting with a deer bow license. However, handguns may not be used in any manner to assist in the harvest of a deer with an archery license.

Deer Gun Season Opens Nov. 10

North Dakota’s deer gun season, arguably the state’s most anticipated and celebrated hunting season, opens Nov. 10 at noon Central time.

The Game and Fish Department’s standardized opening day of North Dakota’s deer gun season is determined by the calendar and always opens the Friday immediately preceding Veterans Day, Nov. 11. This is to ensure that the opening day of North Dakota’s deer gun season does not occur on the federal holiday.

The last time the opener of the 16 ½-day season fell on the second weekend in November and ran through Thanksgiving was 2018.


Watford City Advisory Board Meeting Postponed

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s advisory board meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Watford City has been postponed due to inclement weather. A rescheduled date will be announced as details are finalized.

Deer Replacement Tag, Game and Fish Offices Open Until 1 p.m. Nov. 10

Deer hunters who can’t find their deer license should contact the North Dakota Game and Fish Department soon to secure their tag before the season opens.

The Game and Fish Department must be contacted by phone at 701-328-6335, or email, to authorize the online purchase of a replacement tag. Printable applications are not available.

The deer gun season opens Friday, Nov. 10 at 12 noon Central time. This year, observance of Veterans Day is Friday, Nov. 10 and state agency offices are normally closed; however, Game and Fish offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

2023 Fall Advisory Board Meetings Announced

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department Advisory Board will host public meetings this fall at eight locations across the state.

The first four meetings will be held within the next two weeks. The remaining four are scheduled in late November, including district 7 in Bismarck which will be streamed live on the Game and Fish website.

These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.

For the statewide livestream, questions can be submitted via chat during the meeting.

District 6 – Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells counties
Date: October 23 – 7 p.m.
Location: Library, 87 Eighth Ave. N., Carrington 
Host: Carrington Chamber and Economic Development Corp., and Central Dakota Sportsman Club
Contact: Laurie Dietz, 701-307-0424
Advisory board member: Cody Sand, Ashley

District 2 – Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward counties
Date: October 30 – 7 p.m.
Location: Dakota College of Bottineau – Thatcher Hall Alumni Room, 105 Simrall Blvd., Bottineau
Host: Bottineau County Wildlife Club
Contact: Rick Gustafson, 701-263-5101
Advisory board member: Travis Leier, Velva

District 5 – Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill counties
Date: November 2 – 7 p.m.
Location: Fire Hall, 13683 54th St. SE, Enderlin
Host: Enderlin-Sheldon Wildlife Club
Contact: Clint Lindemann, 701-730-0334
Advisory board member: Doug Madsen, Harwood

District 1 – Divide, McKenzie and Williams counties
Date: November 14 - 7 p.m.
Location: McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club, 2306 121X Ave NW, Watford City
Host: Pheasants Forever
Contact: Beau Wisness, 701-421-8814
Advisory board member: Beau Wisness, Keene

District 8 – Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark counties
Date: November 20 – 7 p.m.
Location: Dickinson Eagles Club, 31 1st Ave E, Dickinson
Host: Mule Deer Foundation
Contact: Marshall Johnson, 701-989-4488
Advisory board member: Rob Brooks, Rhame

District 7 – Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux counties
Date: November 21 – 7 p.m.
Location: Game and Fish Main Office, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck 
Host: Friends of Lake Sakakawea 
Contact: Jody Sommer, 701-527-2295
Advisory board member: Jody Sommer, Mandan

District 3 – Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties
Date: November 27 – 7 p.m.
Location: Fire Hall, 216 Second Ave. N., Esmond
Host: Esmond Fire Department
Contact: Jeff Hagen, 701-351-2237
Advisory board member: Edward Dosch, Devils Lake

District 4 – Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties
Date: November 28 – 7 p.m.
Location: American Legion, 208 Main St. N., Fordville
Host: Dakota Prairie Wildlife Club
Contact: Lynn Baier, 701-331-1074
Advisory board member: Karissa Daws, Michigan

Bismarck Office Remains Closed to Walk-In Traffic

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck will remain closed to public access until the middle of next week as contractors are completing construction on the agency’s entrance off Bismarck Expressway. A sign is placed near the approach, or call 701-328-6300.

Hunters and anglers can get assistance from licensing staff by calling the listed phone number, or can purchase hunting and fishing licenses, and watercraft registrations online by visiting the Game and Fish Department’s website,

The pond and nature walk on the outdoor wildlife learning site adjacent to the main office will remain closed to fishing and other activities.

Permit Required to Possess Dead Deer

A permit is required before taking possession of a dead deer found near a road or in a field. Only shed antlers can be possessed without a permit.

Permits are free and available from North Dakota Game and Fish Department game wardens and local law enforcement offices.

In addition, hunters should properly dispose of dead deer. Carcass waste cannot be left on public property, including roadways, ditches or wildlife management areas.

If transported out of its respective gun unit of origin, carcass waste must be disposed of via landfill or waste management provider. This requirement does not apply to heads dropped off at chronic wasting disease collection sites, or lymph nodes submitted for CWD surveillance.

Report Violations with RAP

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department encourages hunters, anglers and landowners who witness a fish or wildlife violation to file a report with Report All Poachers.

Witnesses should report a violation by calling RAP at 701-328-9921.

Witnesses should note the vehicle description, including make, color, license plate number and state issued. Description of the violator should also be considered.

The RAP line offers rewards – from $100 to $1,000 depending on the nature and seriousness of the crime – for information leading to the conviction of fish and wildlife law violators. Reports can also go directly to game wardens or other law enforcement agencies. Callers can remain anonymous.