Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Violations Tallied for 2019

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s enforcement division has tallied the number of hunting, angling and boating citations for 2019, and failure to carry a license was the number one violation.

Game wardens issued more than 2,300 citations last year. Counties with the most violations were Ramsey (227), Williams (215) and McKenzie (188).

The most common violations and number issued were:

  • Licensing (496): failure to carry license (240); and hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license (213).
  • Fishing (475): exceeding limit (158); aquatic nuisance species violations (153); and fishing with excessive lines (48).
  • Boating (422): inadequate number of personal flotation devices (206); failure to display boat registration (49); and use of unlicensed/unnumbered boat (49).
  • General (289): hunting on posted land without permission (67); loaded firearm in vehicle (54); littering (37); and use of motor vehicle in restricted area (37).
  • Small game (280): using shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (74); failure to leave identification of sex on game (33); and hunting in unharvested field (28).
  • Miscellaneous (160): minor in possession (40); criminal trespass (35); and possession of a controlled substance (28).
  • Big game (91): tagging violations (27); chronic wasting disease violations (19); and failure to wear fluorescent orange (17).
  • Wildlife management areas/refuge (76): failure to obey posted regulations (31); tree stand violations (17); and possession of glass beverage containers (14).
  • Furbearer (25): harassing with motor vehicle (5); hunting/trapping in a closed season (5); and untagged snares (4).

A synopsis of 2019 violations is printed in the February issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS, the Game and Fish Department’s official magazine.

CREP Enrollment Open

Landowners in southwestern North Dakota are again able to enroll in the state Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a new signup period in early December.

 

In addition, USDA also announced an open signup for the general Conservation Reserve Program, which is open until Feb. 29.

 

The North Dakota Riparian Project CREP, first offered in spring 2017, allows states to identify resource concerns and design custom-built projects along riparian areas.

“Over a 10-year period, approximately $19 million in federal funds from the USDA Farm Service Agency can be used to provide annual rental, incentive and cost-share payments for filter strips, riparian buffers, or pollinator and honeybee habitat,” according to Kevin Kading, private land section supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

 

The state will contribute more than $4.3 million, which is funded from the Game and Fish Private Land Open To Sportsmen program, and the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.

 

“We’ve worked a long time developing these projects with USDA, and working with other partners and stakeholders,” Kading said. “We feel these are good options for landowners to address a resource concern, and also open up some quality habitat for hunters.”

 

Landowners interested in CREP can enroll acres in portions of Adams, Billings, Bowman, Burleigh, Dunn, Emmons, Grant, Golden Valley, Hettinger, McKenzie, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sioux, Slope and Stark counties. The statewide enrollment cap for this program is 20,000 acres.

 

Expired, or expiring CRP is not eligible for the North Dakota Riparian Project CREP at this time, Kading said. Land offered must meet FSA cropping history requirements and be located within the project boundary.

 

There is no minimum acreage requirement for enrolling land into CREP, but any land enrolled in a CREP contract with USDA must also be enrolled in the Game and Fish PLOTS program. Kading said landowners don’t have to allow public access to their entire property, but the PLOTS tract must be at least 40 acres in size.

Landowners will receive payments for allowing walk-in hunting access, and are eligible for additional habitat enhancements, incentives and cost-share.

 

For information regarding the project, landowners should contact a local Game and Fish private land biologist or their local county USDA service center.

2020 North Dakota OUTDOORS Calendar Available

The 2020 North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar is available for ordering online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

The calendar features outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, and includes season opening and application deadline dates, sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

Calendars are also available via mail order. Send $3 for each, plus $1 postage, to: Calendar, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095.

The calendar is the North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine’s December issue, so current subscribers should have already received it in the mail.

Hunter Education Classes

Individuals interested in taking a hunter education class in 2020 are reminded to register early, as most classes are held the first few months of the calendar year.

 

Interested students must click on the education link at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Classes are listed by city and can also be sorted by start date. Classes will be added throughout the year as they become finalized.

 

To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

 

Individuals interested in receiving a notice by email when each hunter education class is added, can click on the “subscribe to news and alerts” link found below the news section on the Game and Fish home page. Check the box labeled “hunter education” under the education program updates.

 

In addition, SMS text notifications of new classes can be sent directly to a cell phone. Simply text “NDGF HunterClass” to 468311 to subscribe to this feature.

 

State law requires anyone born after Dec. 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old. Children who turn age 11 during the calendar year can take the class.

Tentative 2020 Season Opening Dates

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2020, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.

Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2020 include:

 

Spring Turkey April 11
Dove September 1
Deer and Pronghorn Bow, Mountain Lion September 4
Sharptail, Hun, Ruffed Grouse, Squirrel September 12
Youth Deer September 18
Youth Waterfowl September 19
Early Resident Waterfowl September 26
Pronghorn Gun October 2
Waterfowl, Youth Pheasant October 3
Pheasant, Fall Turkey October 10
Mink, Muskrat, Weasel Trapping October 24
Deer Gun November 6
Deer Muzzleloader November 27

Fish House Regulations

Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made out of materials that will allow it to float.

 

Other fish house regulations include:

  • Fish houses do not require a license.
  • Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have an equipment registration number issued by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, or the owner’s name, and either address or telephone number, displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high.
  • Fish houses may not be placed closer than 50 feet in any direction to another house without consent of the occupant of the other fish house.
  • All unoccupied fish houses must be removed from all waters after midnight, March 15.

Anglers should refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide for other winter fishing regulations.

 

Late Season Hunting Opportunities End Soon

North Dakota waterfowl hunters are reminded the statewide duck and white-fronted goose seasons close Dec. 1. However, duck hunting in the high plains unit reopens Dec. 7 and continues through Dec. 29.

 

In addition, the season for Canada geese closes Dec. 16 in the eastern zone, Dec. 21 in the western zone and Dec. 27 in the Missouri River zone. Light goose hunting closes statewide Dec. 29.

 

Archery deer, fall turkey, sharp-tailed and ruffed grouse, partridge, pheasant and tree squirrel hunting seasons continue through Jan. 5, 2020.

​Mountain Lion Zone 1 Early Season Ends, Late Season Opens

North Dakota’s early mountain lion season in Zone 1 closed Sunday, Nov. 24, and the late season, when hunters can pursue lions with dogs, is now open.

During the early season, hunters took six cats from a harvest limit of eight. Under the season structure, a conditional season could open five days after the late season closes, for hunters to pursue the additional two mountain lions that were not taken.

The late season in Zone 1 opened Monday, Nov. 25 and is scheduled to run through March 31, 2020, or until the harvest limit is reached. The late season harvest limit is seven total lions or three female lions, whichever comes first.

Hunters are advised to check the status of the late season by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov .

Zone 1 includes land in western North Dakota south of ND Highway 1804 from the Montana border to the point where ND Highway 1804 lies directly across Lake Sakakawea from ND Highway 8, crossing Lake Sakakawea, then south along ND Highway 8 to ND Highway 200, then west on ND Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 85, then south on U.S. Highway 85 to the South Dakota border.

The mountain lion season in Zone 2, which is the rest of the state outside Zone 1, has no harvest limit and is open through March 31, 2020.

The mountain lion season is open only to North Dakota residents. Hunters need a furbearer or combination license to participate.

​Fishing Tournaments Require 30-Day Notice

Fishing Tournaments Require 30-Day Notice

Organizers planning fishing tournaments, including ice fishing contests this winter, are reminded to submit an application along with fishing tournament regulations to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at least 30 days prior to the start of the event.

The 30-day advance notice allows for review by agency staff to ensure the proposed tournament will not have negative biological consequences or conflicts with other proposed tournaments for the same location and/or time.

Fishing tournaments may not occur without first obtaining a valid permit from the department.

In addition, the number of open-water tournaments on lakes Sakakawea and Oahe, the Missouri River and Devils Lake are capped each year, depending on the time of the week, month and location.


Some Refuges Open to Late-Season Upland Game

Hunters are reminded that several national wildlife refuges in North Dakota are open to late-season upland game bird hunting the day after the deer gun season closes.

Arrowwood, Audubon, Des Lacs, J. Clark Salyer, Lake Alice, Lake Zahl, Long Lake, Lostwood, Tewaukon (pheasants only), and Upper Souris NWRs open Nov. 25.

However, portions of each refuge are closed to hunting. Hunters should contact refuge headquarters for information on closed areas and other restrictions: Arrowwood 701-285-3341; Audubon 701-442-5474; Des Lacs 701-385-4046; J. Clark Salyer 701-768-2548; Lake Alice 701-662-8611; Lake Zahl 701-965-6488; Long Lake 701-387-4397; Lostwood 701-848-2722; Tewaukon 701-724-3598; and Upper Souris 701-468-5467; or visit www.fws.gov and click on “National Wildlife Refuges” for details on each individual refuge.

National wildlife refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunters are reminded that use of nontoxic shot is required on all USFWS lands. State regulations found in the North Dakota 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Guide apply. Seasons for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse close statewide on Jan. 5, 2020.


Special Allocation Lottery Apps Due Jan. 1

Nonprofit organizations that are eligible to receive big game hunting licenses in 2020, must have the application submitted to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department no later than Jan. 1.

North Dakota state law provides direction for the Game and Fish director to allocate big game hunting licenses to eligible organizations. Under this directive, up to two elk, moose and pronghorn licenses, and 10 white-tailed deer licenses, can be issued to organizations to use for fundraising.

Eligible organizations must be exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(c)(3), and must provide a copy of the letter from the Internal Revenue Service to that effect. In addition, organizations must be active and in good standing with the office of the North Dakota Secretary of State.

Successful lottery applicants must agree to donate at least 10 percent of the net proceeds of any license fundraiser to a conservation-related project, such as hunting access, conservation education, habitat development or shooting range management.