PLOTS Guide - Introduction
Considering that the Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program got its start more than 20 years ago, many North Dakota hunters wouldn’t recognize our state’s rural countryside without a scattering of upside down triangular yellow signs.
The PLOTS signs, which signal walk-in access hunting opportunities from the Red River Valley to Golden Valley County, are a staple on the landscape, underlining the working connection between the Department, landowners and hunters.
While hunters readily identify the Department’s PLOTS signs, what they might not recognize is North Dakota’s rural landscape compared to last year at this time. Timely and generous spring and summer rains have done wonders for wildlife habitat that was significantly staggered in 2017 by drought.
According to Kevin Kading, Department private land section leader, hunters will find a noteworthy boost of about 25,000 acres in the PLOTS program this fall. Which means, the program will have about 762,000 acres available for the 2018 fall hunting season.
This is good news for hunters, of course, as it is the goal of Game and Fish to maintain the highest amount of quality habitat in the program as possible.
The PLOTS Guide, in the format you see today, was first published in 2000. If most hunters are like me, fall finds them driving around with a dog-eared copy stuffed between the seats, or tossed onto the dash, to help guide them to tracts of land where they’ll find walk-in access hunting opportunities.
When hunters find a PLOTS tract they want to hunt – and this is something I remind hunters most years in this space – I encourage everyone to treat the land and landowners with respect. That includes not cleaning your harvested game in an approach where others can see, and picking up your trash when it’s time to move on.
Landowners who work with Game and Fish by willingly entering their land into the program do so with the understanding that hunters will leave little trace.
As I write this, we are still weeks away from the heart of the fall hunting season in North Dakota. With a landscape that looks lush and replenished compared to last fall, I foresee good hunting opportunities for those willing to put in the time and effort.
Above all, please be safe in the field this fall and enjoy what our great state of North Dakota has to offer.