Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Deer Archery Season Opens Aug. 30

North Dakota’s deer archery season opens Friday, Aug. 30 at noon, and continues through Jan. 5, 2020.

 

Bowhunters can buy a license online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov; by calling 800-406-6409; or at vendors linked to the Game and Fish Department’s online licensing system. Hunters who purchase bow licenses at a vendor location will receive a tag at time of purchase; otherwise, hunters who purchase their license over the phone or personal computer should allow for several days to receive their tag in the mail. A general game and habitat license is also required for archery hunters, and must be purchased prior to receiving the archery tag.

 

Bowhunters must follow all regulations of the managing agency when using tree stands, ground blinds and game cameras on public hunting areas, including displaying an equipment registration number, or the owner’s name, address and telephone number, on all equipment left unattended on Game and Fish wildlife management areas.

 

In addition, hunting big game over bait is prohibited on both public and private land in deer hunting units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 north of U.S. Highway 2, 3B1, 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

 

Hunters should refer to the 2019 deer hunting guide for season information and regulations.

PLOTS Guide Available Online

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen Guide for 2019 is now available online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, the free printed PLOTS guides will be available in mid-August at most license vendors and other locations throughout the state.

 

The guide will feature about 791,000 PLOTS acres. Because the guide is printed in mid-August, some PLOTS tracts highlighted in the guide may have been removed from the program since the time of printing. There will also be some PLOTS tracts where the habitat and condition of the tract will have changed significantly. Conversely, Game and Fish may have added new tracts to the program after the guide went to press.

 

To minimize possible confusion, Game and Fish will update PLOTS map sheets weekly on its website.

 

The PLOTS guide features maps highlighting these walk-in areas, identified in the field by inverted triangular yellow signs, as well as other public lands.

 

The guides are not available to mail, so hunters will have to pick one up at a local vendor or Game and Fish office or print individual maps from the website.

HIP Registration Required for Migratory Bird Hunters

Migratory bird hunters of all ages are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Hunters must register in each state for which they are licensed to hunt.

 

Hunters can HIP certify when purchasing a license – or by clicking the HIP Registration link – at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, hunters can call 888-634-4798 and record the HIP number on their printed license.

 

Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.

 

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.

Swan Application Deadline Aug. 14

Swan hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting an application for the 2019 season is Aug. 14.

 

Applicants must submit an online application through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. North Dakota residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply. The resident swan license is $10, while the nonresident fee is $30.

 

The statewide tundra swan hunting season is Sept. 28 – Dec. 29. Successful applicants will receive a tag to take one swan during the season. Since swans are classified as waterfowl, nonresidents may hunt them only during the period their nonresident waterfowl license is valid.

 

Hunters should note that Game and Fish will not mail swan licenses to successful applicants until after they purchase a valid 2019-20 hunting license. All swan hunters, regardless of age, are required to have a general game and habitat license. In addition, residents age 16 and older need a small game license and nonresidents must have a waterfowl license.

This weeks Game and Fish news

  • First-Come, First-Served Deer Gun Licenses Available Aug. 8
  • Pronghorn Applications due Aug. 7
  • Hunters Reminded of Baiting Restrictions
  • Equipment on Wildlife Management Areas
  • Game Warden Exam Set for Sept. 6

First-Come, First-Served Deer Gun Licenses Available Aug. 8

More than 3,000 antlerless deer gun licenses are still available in 12 units after the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently completed its second lottery drawing.

Antlerless licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. Central Time on Aug. 8. Residents and nonresidents who have not already received a lottery or landowner license are eligible to apply, by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

These licenses are valid only during the regular deer gun season, Nov. 8-24.

Remaining deer gun licenses

(B = Any Antlerless   D = Antlerless Whitetail   F = Antlerless Mule Deer)

Unit     Type     Available
3A1       B     48
3B2      D     50
3B2      F    152
3B3      D     11
3C      D     92
3D1      B     28
3D1      D    184
3D2      D     41
3E1      D     45
3E2      D     82
3F1      B    106
3F1      D    442
3F2      B    739
3F2      D    740
4E      D     87
4F      D    341
4F      F    126

 


Pronghorn Applications due Aug. 7

Hunters are reminded the deadline to apply for the 2019 pronghorn hunting season is Aug. 7.

Applicants can apply online by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by calling 800-406-6409.

A total of 1,330 licenses are available in 12 open units – 1A, 1D, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4C, 5A, 6A, 7A and 10A. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn, except in 4A where doe/fawn licenses are also available.

The bow-only portion of the season is from Aug. 30 (noon) – Sept. 22. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license.

From Oct. 4 (noon) – Oct. 20, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or archery equipment, and again must stay in the assigned unit.

The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16.

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2019 pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points, but will not accrue one for next year. However, hunters who do not want a license in 2019 have the option to purchase a bonus point on the application.

Successful applicants should note that Game and Fish will not mail pronghorn licenses until a valid 2019-20 hunting license is purchased. All pronghorn hunters, regardless of age, are required to have a general game and habitat license in addition to their pronghorn license. Hunters who have already purchased this 2019-20 license do not have to purchase another one.


Hunters Reminded of Baiting Restrictions

Hunters are reminded it is unlawful to hunt big game over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, on both public and private land in deer units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 north of N.D. Highway 2, 3B1, 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

The restriction is in place to help slow the spread of chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked. Hunting units in the northwest have been added to the restriction zone, following the detection of CWD in those areas this past year.

Hunting over bait is defined as the placement and/or use of baits for attracting big game and other wildlife to a specific location for the purpose of hunting. Baits include but are not limited to grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay, or any other natural or manufactured foods.

In addition, placing of bait for any purpose is prohibited on all North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas. Hunting big game over bait is also prohibited on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, U.S. Forest Service national grasslands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands, and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.

More information on CWD can be found at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.


Equipment on Wildlife Management Areas

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds hunters that tree stands, ground blinds and game cameras cannot be placed on state wildlife management areas prior to Aug. 20.

Equipment set out prior to Aug. 20, or left on a WMA after Jan. 31, is considered abandoned property and is subject to removal.

In addition, an equipment registration number, or the owner’s name, address and telephone number, must be displayed on all equipment requiring identification.

Owners can generate an equipment registration number by visiting My Account at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. One registration number will be issued for all equipment that requires identification.


Game Warden Exam Set for Sept. 6

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination to select candidates for the position of district game warden. The test is at 10 a.m., Sept. 6, at the department’s main office in Bismarck.

Applicants must register to take the exam no later than Sept. 2 by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations as determined by the department. Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions, at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.

Salary through training for a district game warden is $3,900 per month. For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Small Game, Waterfowl and Furbearer Regulations Set

North Dakota’s 2019 small game, waterfowl and furbearer regulations are set and most season structures are similar to last year.

Noteworthy items include:

  • Opening day for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers for North Dakota residents is Sept. 21. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Sept. 28.
  • The daily limit on pintails is reduced from two to one.
  • River otter season limit is increased from 15 to 20.
  • The fisher trapping season is expanded almost statewide, except for Bottineau and Rolette counties, which remain closed.
  • The tree squirrel season is extended to Feb. 28.
  • Veterans and members of the Armed Forces (including National Guard and Reserves) on active duty, who possess a resident hunting license, may hunt waterfowl Sept. 14-15.
  • The prairie chicken and sage grouse seasons will remain closed due to low populations.
  • In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or Private Land Open To Sportsmen areas from Oct. 12-18.

Hunters and trappers can find the North Dakota 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Guide – which includes upland game, migratory game bird and furbearer/trapping regulations and other information – by visiting the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Printed guides will be available at vendor locations in mid-August.

For a complete listing of opening and closing dates, and daily and possession limits, refer to the table on pages 4-5 of the guide.

Swan Hunt Applications Online

Swan hunters who are interested in applying for a 2019 license can now submit an online application through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

 

North Dakota residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply. The resident swan license is $10, while the nonresident fee is $30. The deadline for applying is Aug. 14.

 

The statewide tundra swan hunting season is Sept. 28 – Dec. 29. A total of 2,700 licenses are available. Successful applicants will receive a tag to take one swan during the season. Since swans are classified as waterfowl, nonresidents may hunt them only during the period their nonresident waterfowl license is valid.

Early Canada Goose Dates Announced

North Dakota’s early Canada goose season dates are set, with bag limits and licensing requirements the same as last year.

Opening day for early Canada goose is Aug. 15 in all three zones. Closing dates are Sept. 7 in the Missouri River zone, Sept. 15 in the western zone and Sept. 20 in the eastern zone.

Early Canada goose limits are 15 daily and 45 in possession.

Limits and shooting hours are different from the regular season, while the zone boundaries remain the same. Shooting hours for early Canada goose are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

Residents need a $5 early Canada goose license and a general game and habitat license. Also, residents age 16 and older need a small game license. Nonresidents need only a $50 early Canada goose license, and the license is valid statewide without counting against the 14-day regular season license.

Harvest Information Program certification is required, and beginning Sept. 1 a federal duck stamp for hunters age 16 and older is also needed. Those who HIP registered to hunt the spring light goose conservation order in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required in each state only once per year.

Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, are open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to access them.

Hunting of Canada geese in August and early September is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers, which remain high. Game and Fish is attempting to provide additional hunting opportunities that can increase pressure on locally breeding Canada geese.

For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Pronghorn Hunting Season Set, Apply Online

North Dakota’s 2019 pronghorn hunting season is set, with 1,330 licenses available in 12 open units.

 

Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said license numbers and open units are up from last year, when the department allocated 1,075 licenses and had 10 open units.

 

“Our recently completed aerial survey indicated the pronghorn population is up 4 percent from last year,” Stillings said. “A combination of milder winter conditions since 2010-11, closed seasons from 2010-13, and improved fawn production and survival since 2013 have resulted in the population reaching a level that is able to support a higher harvest this fall.”

 

While the overall population is similar to last year, Stillings said numbers increased to a level able to support harvest in two key units in the northern badlands.

 

“Hunting units 1D and 10A will be open for the fist time since 2009,” Stillings said. “Pronghorn have also increased in hunting Unit 4A, where doe/fawn licenses will be issued to address areas of high pronghorn density and provide additional hunting opportunities.”

 

Survey results indicate the fawn-to-doe ratio was 61 fawns per 100 does, which was similar to last year and equal to the long-term average. The buck-to-doe ratio of 38 bucks per 100 does remains stable and above the population objective, Stillings said.

 

A total of 110 licenses are available in unit 1A, 115 in 1D, 90 in 2A, 60 in 2B, 20 in 3A, 115 in 3B, 425 in 4A, 50 in 4C, 70 in 5A, 160 in 6A, 75 in 7A and 40 in 10A. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn, except in 4A where 100 of the 425 are allocated for doe/fawn.

 

In addition, in accordance with state law five licenses are allocated to eligible organizations.

 

Each unit will once again have a season that is split into an early “bow-only” portion, and a later gun/bow season.

 

The bow-only portion of the season is from Aug. 30 (noon) – Sept. 22. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license.

 

From Oct. 4 (noon) – Oct. 20, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or archery equipment, and again must stay in the assigned unit.

 

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2019 pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points, but will not accrue one for next year. However, hunters who do not want a license in 2019 have the option to purchase a bonus point on the application.

 

Applicants can apply online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by calling 800-406-6409.

 

Applicants who do not have access to a computer can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.

 

The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16. Applicants for a pronghorn lottery license must be at least 12 years of age on or before December 31, 2019. The deadline for submitting applications is Aug. 7.