PLOTS Guide - Public Use Regulations
The goal of the Private Land Open To Sportsmen program is to provide walk-in public access for hunting on private land. PLOTS agreements do not allow activities such as horseback riding, camping, placing bait for any purpose, driving ATVs or snowmobiles, dog training and many others, without written permission from the landowner.
Game and Fish has specific regulations that apply to public use on PLOTS tracts. By establishing these regulations, the Department can better fulfill its responsibility to private landowners and help protect property enrolled in the program. In addition, the regulations provide clarity to hunters, and law enforcement officers are in a better position to enforce activities on PLOTS property.
All PLOTS property is open only for public walk-in access for the purpose of hunting within legal hunting seasons, or as signed. All other activities require written permission from the property owner.
Walk-in access is defined as an individual travelling by foot with any legal firearm or bow, plus other equipment, accessories and provisions for the purposes of hunting. Hunters may not leave equipment, accessories, or provisions unattended on a PLOTS tract without written permission of the property owner.
Regulations are enforced year-round, but do not restrict the landowner from participating in these activities on their own property enrolled in PLOTS. These regulations also do not restrict the landowner, tenant, family, hired hand, or other authorized operators from conducting normal farming or ranching activities as authorized in the PLOTS contract on their own property enrolled in PLOTS.
PLOTS Questions and Answers
Why are stubble fields sometimes included in PLOTS?
Lower quality habitat, such as a stubble field, is often included in a PLOTS agreement as part of a larger block of land that includes permanent, high-quality habitat. Landowners typically receive little or no payment for these low-quality acres, but there are cases where stubble fields are enrolled specifically for waterfowl hunting opportunities.
Is hunting allowed on PLOTS where cattle are present?
Yes. However, in such cases hunters should use good judgment and limit disturbance to the animals, and not shoot in their direction. In some cases, it may be best to come back another time as the landowner may have moved the cattle to another area, or removed them completely from the tract.
Is hunting allowed on PLOTS if there is an occupied dwelling within 440 yards?
North Dakota statute prohibits hunting within 440 yards of an occupied dwelling, with exceptions.
The first is the “landowner exception,” which allows a person to hunt on his or her own land even if doing so is within 440 yards of another’s occupied dwelling.
The second exception is the “consent exception,” which allows hunting if the “occupier” consents to allow hunting within 440 yards of his or her building.
When a landowner enrolls land into a PLOTS agreement, permission to hunt on the land is granted. There is also a “public lands” exception to this law. Private lands enrolled in a public access program, such as PLOTS, fall into this category since the landowner has signed an agreement granting public access.
A hunter on public land, or PLOTS land, is not required to obtain the consent of the person occupying a building located within 440 yards of the hunter. For safety purposes, fluorescent orange “No Shooting Toward Building” signs are placed on these PLOTS tracts to notify hunters there is a building or dwelling nearby.