PLOTS Guide - Introduction
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program matters.
The program, which offers public walk-in access to private lands for hunting, has been a staple on North Dakota’s rural landscape for more than 20 years. An uncountable number of hunters have pursued upland birds, waterfowl and deer on these tracts marked by the familiar triangular yellow signs.
About 800,000 PLOTS acres, all posted and displayed in yellow on maps in this guide, are available to hunters this fall. That’s up from 762,000 acres in 2018 and 791,000 in 2019.
In 2017, the Game and Fish Department conducted a survey with hunters, landowners enrolled in the program and others to see if the program meets their expectations and find ways to improve.
The survey showed that both hunters and landowners view the PLOTS program favorably. Given the difficulty in contacting some landowners, the hunting access provided by PLOTS was discussed among hunters as being one of the program’s greatest assets.
Along those same lines, newer hunters indicated that they primarily hunt on land enrolled in PLOTS, as newer hunters are less likely to have established relationships with private landowners.
Conversely, several longtime hunters indicated that they hunt on posted private land much more frequently than PLOTS land.
That’s a good thing because I’ve long encouraged hunters to meet and get to know those people who make a living off the landscape that harbors many of the wildlife species hunters ardently pursue.
I do want to remind hunters who frequent these PLOTS tracts scattered across North Dakota’s countryside that while these acres are open to the public, they are still privately owned.
Understanding this, when hunters are on PLOTS land, they need to be cognizant of where they park their vehicles, the direction they hike and shoot because landowners may be harvesting, haying or moving cattle at that time of year.
It’s important that hunters leave good impressions on landowners who, without their cooperation, the PLOTS program wouldn’t be as successful as it is.
We encourage you to be courteous, leave no trace and be safe. We also encourage you to get outside and enjoy some of what North Dakota’s great outdoors has to offer in fall.