2020-2021 Upland Game, Migratory Game Bird, Furbearer Regulations
Species Specific Regulations (includes season dates)
Season Dates Summary
|2020-21 Hunting Seasons|
|Season||Opens||Closes||Daily Limit||Possession Limit|
|HUNTING OF ANY KIND BY NONRESIDENTS IS PROHIBITED ON PLOTS OR STATE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS OCTOBER 10-16, 2020.|
|Upland Game||Sharp-tailed Grouse||Sept. 12||Jan. 3||3||12|
|Ruffed Grouse||Sept. 12||Jan. 3||3||12|
|Hungarian Partridge||Sept. 12||Jan. 3||3||12|
|Tree Squirrel||Sept. 12||Feb. 28||4||12|
|Youth Pheasant||Oct. 3||Oct. 4||3||6|
|Regular Pheasant||Oct. 10||Jan. 3||3||12|
|Greater Prairie Chicken (Pinnated Grouse)||CLOSED||CLOSED|
|Migratory Birds||Early Canada Goose|
|Missouri River Canada Goose Zone||Aug.15||Sept. 7||15||45|
|Western ND Canada Goose Zone||Aug. 15||Sept. 15||15||45|
|Eastern ND Canada Goose Zone||Aug. 15||Sept. 22||15||45|
|Crow Fall||Aug. 22||Nov. 9||No Limit||No Limit|
|Crow Spring (2021)||13-Mar||25-Apr||No Limit||No Limit|
|Dove||Sept. 1||Nov. 29||15||45|
|Sandhill Crane||Sept. 19||Nov. 15||See Species||See Species|
|Snipe||Sept. 12||Dec. 6||8||24|
|Youth Waterfowl||Sept.19||Sept. 20||See Species||See Species|
|Veteran/Military Waterfowl||Sept.19||Sept. 20||See Species||See Species|
|Woodcock||Sept. 26||Nov. 9||3||9|
|WATERFOWL HUNTING FOR RESIDENTS BEGINS SEPTEMBER 26, 2020, AND WATERFOWL HUNTING FOR NONRESIDENTS BEGINS OCTOBER 3, 2020.|
|Missouri River Canada Goose Zone||Sept. 26||Jan.1||5||15|
|Western ND Canada Goose Zone||Sept. 26||Dec. 24||8||24|
|Eastern ND Canada Goose Zone||Sept. 26||Dec. 19||8||24|
|High Plains Ducks, Mergansers and Coots||Sept. 26
|See Species||See Species|
|Low Plains Ducks, Mergansers and Coots||Sept. 26||Dec. 6||See Species||See Species|
|Bonus Blue-winged Teal||Sept. 26||Oct. 11||2||6|
|White-fronted Geese||Sept. 26||Dec. 6||3||9|
|Light Geese||Sept. 26||Jan. 1||50||No Limit|
|Tundra Swan||Oct. 3||Jan. 1||One Tag per Hunter|
|2020-21 Hunting/Trapping Seasons|
|Firearms, Traps, Archery Equipment||Year-round||Year-round|
|Cable Devices||Nov. 23||March 15|
|Firearms, Traps, Archery Equipment, Underwater Cable||Year-round||Year-round|
|Cable Devices on Land||Nov. 23||March 15|
|Cable Devices on Land Within 50 Feet of Water||March 16||May 10|
|Firearms, Traps, Archery Equipment||Nov. 7||March 15|
|Cable Devices, Pursue With Dogs||Nov. 23||March 15|
|Day Hunting With Firearms or Archery Equipment, Pursue With Dogs, Traps||Year-round||Year-round|
|Night hunting with Firearms or Archery Equipment, Cable Devices||Nov. 23||March 15|
|Traps and Cable Devices Only||Nov. 23||Nov. 29|
|Traps||Oct. 24||May 10|
|Cable Devices, Firearms, Archery Equipment||Nov. 23||May 10|
|Firearms, Archery Equipment||Sep. 4||March 31|
|Pursue With Dogs||Nov. 23||March 31|
|Traps and Cable Devices Only||Nov. 23||March 15|
|Traps||Oct. 24||March 15|
|Firearms, Cable Devices, Archery Equipment||Nov. 23||March 15|
Upland Game General Regulations
Youth Pheasant Season - Legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger may hunt pheasants statewide on October 5-6. An adult of at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth pheasant hunter in the field. This adult may not carry a firearm and may not hunt any species of wildlife. Daily limit and hunting hours are the same as the regular season.
Nonresident hunting restriction - In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from October 10-16, 2020.
Other Upland Game Hunting Information
- Upland game bird hunters are encouraged to send in wing envelopes with feathers collected from harvested birds. Instructions for submitting wings and feathers are printed on the envelope. To order a supply of wing envelopes online or by contacting any district office.
- How to Remove a Dog from a Body-Grip Trap
Also see: General Regulations
Migratory Game Bird General Regulations
FALCONRY (SPECIAL EXTENDED) SEASON
Licensed falconers possessing the appropriate licenses may hunt resident game species from August 9 through March 22, 2021, and also migratory game birds during their open hunting seasons. In addition, falconers may hunt snipe, ducks, mergansers and coots from September 1-4, and September 7-11. Contact the Department for details.
SPECIAL VETERAN AND ACTIVE MILITARY PERSONNEL WATERFOWL HUNTING SEASON
Veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38, United States Code) and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, who possess a resident hunting license, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), may hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and geese statewide on September 19 and 20. Upon request, hunters must provide proof of veteran or active duty status. All hunters 16 years of age and older must also possess a federal waterfowl stamp. Shooting hours shall be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit, including species restrictions and all other regulations (including HIP certification) that apply to the regular duck and goose hunting seasons shall apply to this special season with the exception that bonus blue-winged teal are not available.
NONRESIDENT WATERFOWL HUNTING ZONES
Boundaries of nonresident waterfowl zones are shown on the map on Page 17. (Note: Hunters purchasing the statewide license are not restricted to zones.)
Zone 1 – U.S. Highway 281 from South Dakota to Jamestown; U.S. Highway 52 from Jamestown to Carrington; ND Highway 200 from Carrington to Hurdsfield; and ND Highway 3 from Hurdsfield to South Dakota.
Zone 2 – ND Highway 36 from Wilton to Tuttle; ND Highway 3 from Tuttle to Hurdsfield; ND Highway 200 from Hurdsfield to U.S. Highway 52 east of Bowdon; north on U.S. Highway 52 to ND Highway 97 south of Velva; west on ND Highway 97 to ND Highway 41; south on ND Highway 41 (south of Velva) to ND Highway 200 at Turtle Lake; west on ND Highway 200 to ND Highway 200A; south on ND Highway 200A to Washburn; and south on U.S. Highway 83 to Wilton.
Zone 3 – The remainder of the state.
WATERFOWL REST AREAS
The following waterfowl rest areas are described by approximate distance from the nearest town, i.e., 5 N and 3 E of Bismarck means 5 miles north and 3 miles east of Bismarck. Approximate locations are shown on the waterfowl zone map. Legal descriptions of waterfowl rest areas can be found in the 2020 Waterfowl Rest Area Proclamation available from the Department’s Bismarck office. Waterfowl rest areas are in effect from September 26 through December 31. All waterfowl rest areas listed shall be closed to goose or waterfowl hunting during this period, and they are closed to small game hunting and fishing from September 26 through November 30, except as specified below. Beginning December 1, waterfowl rest areas will open to fishing, and small game and furbearer hunting, but not goose or waterfowl hunting, and remain open through the end of the respective seasons. In addition, waterfowl rest areas may be used for ice fishing prior to December 1 if ice conditions are suitable.
- BURKE COUNTY: (1) 5 E and 6 N of Columbus.
- DIVIDE COUNTY: (1) 3 N of Noonan.
- LAMOURE COUNTY: (1) Cottonwood Lake – 4 S and 6 W of LaMoure. Closed to all hunting.
- MCLEAN COUNTY: (1) Along Missouri River – 2 SE of Washburn to Garrison Dam. Closed to goose hunting only.
- MERCER COUNTY: Missouri River – see McLean County.
- OLIVER COUNTY: Missouri River – see McLean County.
- ROLETTE COUNTY: See Towner County.
- SHERIDAN COUNTY: (1) Sheyenne Lake - 15 N and 4 W of Goodrich.
- STEELE COUNTY: (1) North Golden Lake – 9 E and 5 N of Finley.
- STUTSMAN COUNTY: (1) 7 N of Cleveland. Closed to waterfowl hunting only.
- TOWNER COUNTY: (1) McLaughlin Lake – 4 E of Rolla.
Waterfowl Identification - at centralflyway.org
Also see: General Regulations
Furbearers/Trapping General Regulations
Body-gripping trap – trap designed to allow the animal’s head, neck or torso to enter the trap opening and be held by compression of the jaws when sprung (example, Conibear). See TRAP SET RESTRICTIONS section.
Cable device – noose used for restraining furbearers by the neck or body (example, snare). See CABLE DEVICES RESTRICTIONS section.
Colony trap – enclosure device designed to allow the capture of one or more furbearers in a single setting with one or more one-way entrances; cannot exceed 12 inches high, wide or in diameter, by 36 inches long. See MINK AND MUSKRAT section.
Foothold trap – steel-jawed trap used for restraining furbearers by the foot (examples, long-spring or coil-spring foothold trap).
Protective covering – trap set covering of structural material (wire mesh, wood, plastic, metal) limiting access to the trap through an opening not to exceed 8 inches high by 8 inches wide.
Sight exposed bait – any bait weighing in excess of 1 pound, composed of animal flesh, fur, hide, entrails or feathers placed in such a manner that it can be seen by any soaring raptor.
Water Set – trap or cable device which is set or staked in a manner to permit the trap, cable device or trapped animal to reach water. See TRAP SET RESTRICTIONS section.
- Hunting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. See exceptions for fox (red and gray), coyote, beaver and raccoon in species sections.
- The opening hour on the first day of all furbearer seasons is 30 minutes before sunrise. After the first day of the season, trapping or using cable devices is legal at any hour.
- Written permission must be secured from landowners or operators before placing or setting any traps or cable devices on private land, including PLOTS lands. The owner or operator may determine the length of time permission is granted.
- The season for Canada lynx, gray wolf, swift/kit fox, black bear, wolverine and American marten shall remain closed.
- Any furbearer taken for which the season is closed, or other protected species incidentally taken, must be reported within 12 hours and turned over to the Department.
- It is illegal to drive off established roads or trails during the deer gun season while attempting to take furbearers with firearms, archery equipment and dogs.
- It is illegal to place traps or cable devices within 25 feet of any sight exposed bait.
- It is illegal to intentionally destroy, molest, disturb or tamper with any other person’s trap or cable device, the set, or with any furbearer restrained therein.
- No furbearer may be taken and possessed alive.
- No person, while operating a snowmobile in this state, may kill, chase, flush, or harass any wild animal or wild bird, protected or unprotected.
- Aircraft may not be used to take coyote, fox or other furbearers without a special permit.
- All traps or cable devices left unattended on state wildlife management areas or federal waterfowl production areas must have a metal or plastic tag displaying the trapper’s name, address and telephone number, or equipment registration number.
CLOSED OR RESTRICTED AREAS
Wildlife management areas so posted, refuges, sanctuaries, national parks and historic sites shall be closed to the hunting and trapping of all furbearers. Exceptions: Hunting and trapping furbearers may be permitted at times and on those areas of federally owned refuges designated by the refuge manager. A permit from the refuge manager is required for those wishing to trap on federal refuges. For additional regulations on federal refuges, contact refuge headquarters. A permit from the Department director is required to take furbearers on those state wildlife management areas and state easement refuges posted closed to hunting.
Trapping on school trust lands is allowed, if the commissioner gives written permission. By giving permission, the lessee is made aware that legal traps and snares could be in the area. The state does not guarantee that school trust lands are legally accessible; in some cases, terrain and other natural obstructions may make access difficult. Access to school trust lands is strictly nonvehicular. Trails are used only for management purposes and may not be used by the public for vehicular travel. Contact the ND Department of Trust Lands at 701-328-2800 for the name and address of the current surface lessee.
CABLE DEVICE RESTRICTIONS
- Cable devices are permitted on state wildlife management areas and federal waterfowl production areas after the close of small game seasons, starting January 4, 2021.
- A metal or plastic tag must be attached to each cable device. This tag must display the trapper’s name, address and telephone number, or equipment registration number.
- One stop must be affixed to each cable device on land to prevent the loop from opening to a diameter greater than 12 inches.
- Cable devices cannot be placed or set in the field prior to the opening date and cannot remain in the field after the closing date of the cable device season for respective species.
- All cable devices must be affixed to an immovable object solidly attached to the ground. The use of drags is prohibited.
- Cable devices must be set so the bottom of the loop is no greater than 12 inches from the ground; or when the ground is snow covered, no greater than 12 inches above the bottom of an adult’s footprint in the snow beneath the cable device with the full body weight on the foot.
- Cable devices must be constructed of single-strand (1x19) or multi-strand (7x7) or (7x19) carbon or stainless steel cable of 1/16-inch diameter or larger.
- Cable devices must possess a lock or breakaway device that allows the cable loop to disassemble at no more than 350 pounds pull. The Testing Standard for Breakaway Cable Devices determines the pounds of pull for disassembly (gf.nd.gov/hunting/cable-testing-standards).
- Individuals who self-assemble cable devices from components must assume liability and responsibility for ensuring that devices, locks or parts break or disassemble at 350 pounds pull, or less.
TRAP SET RESTRICTIONS
State wildlife management areas
- Year-round: Body-gripping traps with greater than 6-inch inside jaw spread must –
- Be in 4 inches or more of water; or
- Be recessed at least 7 inches in a plastic, wood or metal cubby with a maximum 50 square inch opening; or
- Be recessed at least 10 inches in a plastic, wood or metal cubby with a maximum 80 square inch opening.
All other lands
- September 1 – October 23: Body-gripping traps with greater than 8-inch inside jaw spread and all water sets must –
- Be in 4 inches or more of water; or
- Be used in an upland set and recessed at least 10 inches in a plastic, wood or metal cubby with a maximum 80 square inch opening.
- October 24 – January 3: Body-gripping traps with greater than 8-inch inside jaw spread must –
- Be in 4 inches or more of water; or
- Be used in an upland set and recessed at least 10 inches in a plastic, wood or metal cubby with a maximum 80 square inch opening.
- January 4 – March 15: No restrictions on placement.
- March 16 – May 10: Foothold and body-gripping traps placed in or on water, but not used on float sets, must –
- Have a protective covering; or
- Foothold traps not being used on a float set must be submerged under water; or
- Body-gripping traps less than 8 inches inside jaw spread must have no more than 2 inches of the trap above the water surface.
- Foothold and body-gripping traps used on float sets must have a protective covering May 1 through May 10.
- May 11 – August 31: No restrictions on placement.
Also see: General Regulations
General Regulations and Information
Hunters and trappers are required to purchase licenses, except any resident, or member of his or her family permanently residing with him or her, may hunt small game, trap or use cable devices during the open season without a license upon land owned or leased by him or her, but otherwise is governed by seasons, limits and all other regulations.
Residents do not need a license to take unprotected species of wildlife (prairie dogs, rabbits, skunks, ground squirrels). Nonresidents hunting only unprotected species of wildlife need only a nongame license.
A resident who is on leave and on active duty with the United States military may hunt small game or trap during the season without a license. Contact the Department for details.
Hunter Education Requirement –Hunters born after December 31, 1961 must have passed a certified state or provincial hunter education course in order to purchase a North Dakota hunting license. Exceptions: Persons who hunt only on land they own or operate, and youth under age 12 may hunt if they have appropriate licenses. In addition, individuals who are 12 years of age and older who have not taken the hunter education course may receive an apprentice hunter validation that enables them to hunt small game (includes waterfowl) and deer for one license year. Contact the Department for details.
Minimum Age – There is no minimum age for hunting small game, waterfowl or furbearers, but anyone under age 15 afield with firearms must be licensed and under direct supervision (must be able to have unaided verbal contact) of a parent, guardian or adult authorized by their parent or guardian.
Licenses – Valid in either paper or electronic format. No person may give away, barter or sell an issued license. Licenses are nontransferable.
HARVEST INFORMATION PROGRAM
All migratory bird hunters must register annually with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program in each state in which they hunt ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Hunters who do not HIP register when they buy a North Dakota license, can add it later through the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or by calling 888-634-4798 and recording the HIP number on their printed license. HIP registration is a cooperative program designed to determine a sample of hunters from which to measure the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Game includes any of those species of small game, or furbearers as defined in Section 20.1-01-02 of the North Dakota Century Code.
Small Game includes all game birds (including waterfowl) and tree squirrels.
Upland Game includes sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge, pheasants, ruffed grouse and tree squirrels.
Migratory Game Birds includes ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, dove and woodcock. All hunters must be HIP registered.
Waterfowl includes ducks, geese, swans, mergansers and coots.
Daily Bag Limit (Daily Limit) is the maximum number of a particular game that one hunter, legally licensed by this state, may take or kill during a single hunting day, within the boundaries of this state.
Possession Limit is the maximum number of a particular game species that a hunter, legally licensed by this state, may have in his/her actual possession during any phase of any single hunting trip, venture, or expedition of more than one day. No more than one daily limit may be taken on any one day. The possession limit at one’s personal permanent residence, except for waterfowl and migratory game birds, is not limited.
Possession Limit for Waterfowl and Migratory Game Birds is the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or a combination of species permitted to be possessed by any one person when lawfully taken in the United States in any one specified geographic area (typically a state, Indian reservation or a hunting unit or zone within a state) for which a possession limit is prescribed.
Migratory Bird Preservation Facility is any person or business for hire or other consideration, taxidermist, cold storage or locker plant facility, or hunting club which receives, possesses, or has in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another for purposes of picking, cleaning, freezing, processing, storage or shipment.
Possession of Shot other than Nontoxic Shot means in the gun, or in the pockets, or within reach while in the process of hunting. See nontoxic shot regulations below.
Canada geese includes all Canada geese, cackling geese and any other geese except white-fronted and light geese.
Light geese include snow geese, blue geese and Ross’s geese.
NONTOXIC SHOT REGULATIONS
The possession or use of shot other than federally approved nontoxic shot is prohibited while hunting ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, tundra swans, mergansers, snipe and coot statewide. For a list of approved nontoxic shot, visit https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/hunting/nontoxic.php.
Nontoxic shot is required for all hunting on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands, including federal refuges and waterfowl production areas. This regulation applies to all hunters using shotguns, except while hunting turkeys and big game. These shot requirements are in addition to current statewide nontoxic shot requirements for migratory birds as listed above.
LEGAL FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION
Game Birds and Waterfowl – Only firearms no smaller than .410 gauge nor larger than 10 gauge loaded with shot and capable of holding no more than three shells, legal archery equipment, and raptors may be used. Pistols may not be used to take migratory game birds. Nontoxic shot is required for some species and on some lands. Raptors may be used only by those possessing a falconry permit.
A bow must be pulled, held and released by hand. Any release aid may be used providing it is hand operated, the shooter supports the draw weight of the bow, and the release is not attached to any part of the bow other than at the bowstring. Telescopic sights, range finding devices, battery-powered or electronically lighted sights or other electronic devices attached to the bow, or the arrow, are not permitted (exception: lighted nocks and recording devices which do not aid in range finding, sighting or shooting the bow are permitted). Handheld range-finding devices are legal. Arrows capable of causing damage or injury in excess of that inflicted by the cutting edges of the broadhead, are prohibited while hunting small game with a bow (e.g., explosive arrow points, arrows tipped with drugs or chemicals, and pneumatic or hydraulic shafts are illegal). Arrows must be at least 24 inches long and have at least 2 untrimmed feathers, or not less than 5 trimmed feathers when shooting at birds in flight.
Blind individuals, paraplegics and/or those having lost the use of one or both arms, having a permit from the Game and Fish director to hunt with a crossbow, may use a crossbow during small game seasons. Contact the Department for additional information on crossbow regulations.
AIRCRAFT, BOATS, MOTOR-DRIVEN VEHICLES
It is illegal to kill, chase, harass, flush, drive, concentrate, rally, raise, stir up or disturb game with all types of aircraft, manned or unmanned.
It is illegal to shoot with bow and arrow or firearm while in or on a motordriven vehicle.
No person may carry a firearm with a cartridge in the chamber in or on a motor-driven vehicle while hunting, except as otherwise provided by law. The entire cylinder of a revolver is considered the chamber, requiring the revolver to be completely unloaded. Handguns with removable magazines or clips must have the magazine or clips removed from the firearm if the magazine or clip contains any loaded shells. It is illegal to carry any muzzleloading firearm in or on a motor-driven vehicle with a cap or primer in place or powder in the flash pan.
Landowners may be more restrictive on their own property. In general, driving off established roads and trails is not allowed on state and federal lands. For more detailed information check with the managing agency.
Driving off established roads and trails on private land is legal for the hunting of waterfowl and cranes; legal for the hunting of upland game with written permission from the landowner or lessee who actively farms or ranches the land (exception: does not apply during the deer gun season); NOT legal for the hunting of big game except for retrieval of harvested big game.
Mallard Island and deTrobriand Island within Lake Sakakawea are closed to the use of all motor-driven vehicles and aircraft. On all other wildlife management areas owned or managed by the Department, the use of all motor-driven vehicles is restricted to those constructed roads, well worn trails, and parking areas normally used by passenger cars. Motor-driven vehicle use on wildlife management areas is further restricted or prohibited where posted as such.
Established roads or trails do not include temporary trails made for agricultural purposes.
No person may use motor-driven vehicles on North Dakota Game and Fish Department Conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) property without permission from the landowner, or as otherwise signed by the Department. These areas have been entrusted to the public for walking access through written agreements with private landowners. The boundaries of these properties are identified by large yellow triangular signs.
Motorboats are legal for going to and from hunting areas. Ducks, coots, mergansers, geese and tundra swans may be taken from a floating craft, excluding a sink box, if such craft is either beached, fastened within or tied immediately alongside any type of fixed hunting blind, or resting at anchor. It is illegal to shoot from a sunken device or any floating vessel on open water, or to use or cause to be used any floating battery, electric, steam, gasoline or other powered vessel in an attempt to take waterfowl. A motorboat, sailboat or other craft may be used to pick up dead or injured birds.
All watercraft must have aboard a U.S. Coast Guard approved life preserver for each occupant. Additionally, any watercraft powered by any motor (including electric motors) must be registered and numbered (licensed) through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, or for nonresidents – through the state where principally used.
One fully feathered wing or the fully feathered head of all waterfowl, snipe, dove, crane and woodcock; and one leg and foot, or the fully feathered head, or the fully feathered wing of pheasant, Hungarian partridge and all grouse shall remain attached to such game during transportation or shipment until it reaches the hunter’s legal residence or it is processed to be immediately consumed. (Exception: Geese only: Commercial game processors who comply with all state and federal tagging and record keeping requirements may remove identification from geese to be processed for consumption, prior to reaching the hunter’s legal residence. The processed geese may be transported when accompanied by a copy of the record provided by the processor. Processed geese are still subject to daily and possession limit regulations.)
TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE
License holders must accompany their game, or parts thereof, during transportation. Game may be shipped by common carrier in receipt of proper bill of lading. No resident of the state may ship game or parts thereof out of state without a permit from the Department. Any resident, other than a licensed furbuyer complying with Section 20.1-03-23 of the North Dakota Century Code who ships or transports such hides or furs, shall tag each hide or fur with the name of the person having taken it and that person’s furbearer license number. Except for legally gifted game, it is illegal to possess or transport another’s game animal, or parts thereof, without the license holder accompanying or as otherwise permitted.
No person shall leave or store any game birds at any place other than that person’s legal residence unless each piece of game is tagged with the owner’s signature and address, date taken, number and species of game, and license number of the person who harvested the game. The packaging of game birds away from a person’s legal residence must be in a manner that the species and number of game birds in each package is easily determined.
Game may be gifted to another, however this does not allow a person to exceed a daily limit. Any gifted game to be transported must be tagged with the above information and display sex and species identification as required. Termination of possession can only be accomplished by: (1) gifting of legally harvested game; (2) by consuming the game.
Nonresidents may transport or ship from the state a possession limit of upland game. No one may possess in the field, transport or ship at any one time, more than a possession limit of upland game or migratory game birds. No person shall ship migratory game birds unless the package is marked on the outside with: (1) the name and address of the person sending the birds; (2) the name and address of the person to whom the birds are being sent; and (3) the number of each species contained in the package.
POSTING AND TRESPASS
Only the owner or tenant, or an individual authorized by the owner, may post land by placing signs giving notice that no hunting is permitted on the land. The name of the person posting the land must appear on each sign in legible characters. The signs must be readable from the outside of the land and must be placed conspicuously not more than 880 yards (one-half mile) apart. For land entirely enclosed by a fence or other enclosure, posting of signs at or on all gates through the fence or enclosure constitutes a posting of all the enclosed land.
It is illegal to hunt on posted lands without permission from the owner or tenant. Hunting on posted land without permission can be prosecuted even if the land is not posted to the letter of the law. Trespass is a criminal violation punishable by suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for a period of at least one year.
It is illegal to hunt upon the premises of another within 440 yards (one-quarter mile) of any occupied building without the consent of the person occupying the building. This does not prohibit hunting on land owned by neighbors (private or public) even if the land is less than 440 yards (one-quarter mile) from the occupied building.
Any person may enter upon legally posted land (without a firearm or bow) to recover game shot or killed on land where he/she had a lawful right to hunt.
It is illegal to hunt in unharvested cereal and oilseed crops, including sprouted winter wheat, alfalfa, clover and other grasses grown for seed, without the owner’s consent.
It is illegal to deface, take down or destroy posting signs.
Failure to close gates upon exit or entry is a criminal violation, punishable by forfeiture of hunting licenses.
Written permission must be secured from landowners or operators before placing or setting any traps or cable devices on private land, including PLOTS lands. The owner or operator may determine the length of time permission is granted.
Do not hunt on road rights-of-way unless you are certain that they are open to public use. Most road rights-of-way are under control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed to hunting.
WANTON WASTE OF MIGRATORY GAME BIRDS AND UPLAND GAME
No person shall kill, cripple, waste, destroy, spoil or abandon the edible flesh of any migratory game or upland game without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird/animal, and retain it in his/her actual custody, at the place where taken and between that place and either (a) his or her personal permanent residence; (b) taxidermist; or (c) a common carrier. Edible flesh means the breast meat of any game bird or the hind legs and lower back of a squirrel.
FIRE DANGER INDEX
The fire danger index provides an indication of wildland fire potential. Fire danger indexes are calculated considering temperature, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover and vegetative condition, and are rated as Low, Medium, High, Very High or Extreme. Fires are more likely to occur on higher index days. Certain outdoor activities may be prohibited when a fire danger index is considered Very High or Extreme. Hunters are asked to be aware of current fire danger indexes. Updated information is available through ndresponse.gov, or from a county sheriff’s office.
CLOSED OR RESTRICTED AREAS
PLOTS Areas – In accordance with N.D.C.C. 20.1-08-04.9, nonresidents may not hunt any game from October 10-16, 2020 on North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or on Conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas.
Wildlife management areas so posted, refuges, sanctuaries, national parks and historic sites shall be closed to the hunting and trapping of all species. (Exception: small game hunting, and furbearer hunting and trapping, may be permitted at times and on those areas of federally owned refuges designated by the refuge manager.) For additional regulations on federal refuges, contact refuge headquarters.
The Minot and Grand Forks air bases are closed to hunting.
Nelson Lake in Oliver County is open to waterfowl hunting under special restrictions. Waterfowl hunting will only be allowed along the north shoreline in the N 1/2 of section 32 and the northwest part of the lake in sections 29 and 30. All other parts of the lake are closed to hunting. No open water hunting from a boat is allowed. All hunting must be done from shore.
School trust lands are open to nonvehicular public access, including hunting, unless posted with ND Department of Trust Lands signs. Trapping is allowed, if the current surface lessee gives written permission. By giving permission, the lessee is made aware that legal traps and snares could be in the area. The only established trails on Department of Trust Lands available for public use are those that are signed with Game and Fish Department trail markers. See the ND Department of Trust Lands hunting page at www.land. nd.gov/public-access-information for additional information.
State law allows the governor to close or postpone a hunting season upon reasonable notice through the media if climatic conditions create a fire hazard.
- An individual must harvest his or her own limit.
- It is illegal to go afield with a firearm or archery equipment while intoxicated.
- It is illegal to possess or use an electronic or recorded call while hunting migratory game birds.
- Use of artificial light, night vision, thermal vision or infrared light for locating or hunting game is prohibited, except for beaver, raccoon, fox and coyote during the open night hunting season on the animal.
- Hunters may retrieve game that has fallen into a state wildlife refuge if they leave their firearms outside the boundary. They may not retrieve game that has fallen into a federal wildlife refuge unless there has been a retrieving zone designated by the refuge manager.
- It is illegal to shoot harmless birds. All hawks, owls, falcons and eagles are protected by state and federal law.
- It is illegal to use live ducks or geese as decoys.
- No person may possess or sell any live wildlife or release any wildlife into the wild without a permit from the Department.
SUMMARY OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS
The following is a synopsis of federal regulations that pertain to the hunting of migratory game birds. Persons requiring more information should go to http://www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html, to find a complete version of 50 CFR Part 20, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 701-250-4418 or 701- 255-0593, or a local national wildlife refuge office.
Migratory birds include all migratory game birds and most birds found in the United States with the exception of the house sparrow, feral pigeon (commonly called rock dove), European starling, Eurasian collared dove, mute swan, and upland game birds, which are protected by state laws. A complete list of protected migratory birds is found in Title 50 Code of Federal Regulations, Section. 10.13.
Daily bag limit means the maximum number of migratory game birds of single species or combination (aggregate) of species permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season in any one specified geographic area (typically a hunting unit or zone) for which a daily bag limit is prescribed.
Aggregate daily bag limit means the maximum number of migratory game birds permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season when such person hunts in more than one specified geographic area and/or for more than one species for which a combined daily bag limit is prescribed. The aggregate daily bag limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest daily bag limit prescribed for any one species or for any one specified geographic area (typically a second state, Indian reservation, hunting unit or zone within a state) in which taking occurs.
Opening day of a season – No person on the opening day of the season shall possess any freshly killed migratory game birds in excess of the daily bag limit, or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies.
Field possession limit – No person shall possess, have in custody, or transport more than the daily bag limit or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies, of migratory game birds, tagged or not tagged, at or between the place where taken and either (a) his/her automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his/her personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.
Aggregate possession limit means the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination of species taken in the United States permitted to be possessed by any one person when taking and possession occurs in more than one specified geographic area (typically a second state, Indian reservation, hunting unit or zone with a state) for which a possession limit is prescribed. The aggregate possession limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest possession limit prescribed for any one of the species or specified geographic areas in which taking and possession occurs.
Personal abode means one’s principal or ordinary home or dwelling place, as distinguished from one’s temporary or transient place of abode or dwelling such as a hunting club, or any club house, cabin, tent or trailer house used as a hunting club, or any hotel, motel or rooming house used during a hunting, pleasure or business trip.
No person shall take migratory game birds:
- With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance; with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells.
- From or by means, aid, or use of any motor vehicle, motor-driven land conveyance, or aircraft of any kind, except that paraplegics and persons missing one or both legs may take birds from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance.
- By the use or aid of live birds as decoys; although not limited to, it shall be a violation for any person to take migratory waterfowl on an area where tame or captive live ducks or geese are present unless such birds are and have been for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to such taking, confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such birds from the sight of wild migratory waterfowl.
- By the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. Baiting means the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them.
HUNTING BY NONTRIBAL MEMBERS ON NORTH DAKOTA INDIAN RESERVATIONS
If an individual hunts exclusively on Indian lands within an Indian reservation, a tribal license is required and a state hunting license is not required. Hunting on nontribal lands within an Indian reservation requires a state hunting license. Game taken legally with a tribal license within an Indian reservation may be possessed and transported anywhere in North Dakota.
Portions of some units/zones are located on Indian reservations. Contact reservation tribal offices for more information:
- Fort Berthold. Game and Fish Department, 404 Frontage Road, New Town, ND 58763, 701-627-4760.
- Standing Rock. Game and Fish Department, Box 549, Fort Yates, ND 58538, 701-854-7236.
- Turtle Mountain. Department of Natural Resources, Box 570, Belcourt, ND 58316, 701-477-2604.
- Spirit Lake. Fish and Wildlife Department, Box 359, Fort Totten, ND 58335, 701-766-1243.