Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates

Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2018, 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 2018 include:

Spring Turkey April 14
Deer and Pronghorn Bow, Mountain Lion August 31
Dove September 1
Sharptail, Hun, Ruffed Grouse, Squirrel September 8
Youth Deer September 14
Youth Waterfowl September 15
Early Resident Waterfowl September 22
Regular Waterfowl, Youth Pheasant September 29
Pronghorn Gun October 5
Pheasant October 6
Fall Turkey October 13
Mink, Muskrat, Weasel Trapping October 27
Deer Gun November 9
Deer Muzzleloader November 30

 

Late-Season Hunting Opportunities End Soon

North Dakota waterfowl hunters are reminded the statewide duck and white-fronted goose seasons close Dec. 3. However, duck hunting in the high plains unit reopens Dec. 9 and continues through Dec. 31.

pheasant hunter

In addition, the season for Canada geese closes Dec. 21, except for the Missouri River Zone, which closes Dec. 29. Light goose hunting closes statewide Dec. 31.

Archery deer, fall turkey, sharp-tailed and ruffed grouse, partridge, pheasant and tree squirrel hunting seasons continue through Jan. 7, 2018.

 

Some Refuges Open to Late-Season Upland Game

Hunters are reminded that several North Dakota national wildlife refuges 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. 27.

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 2017-18 Small Game Guide apply. Seasons for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse close statewide on Jan. 7, 2018.

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Pheasant Hunting Season Opens Oct. 7

North Dakota pheasant hunters are reminded the season opens Oct. 7 and continues through Jan. 7, 2018.

In past years, the season typically opened the second Saturday in October. However, the 2017 state legislature passed a law which requires the pheasant hunting season to open no later than Oct. 12. The 2017 North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar, which was printed prior to the start of the legislative session, lists opening day as Oct. 14.

pheasant hunter

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily limit is three and possession limit is 12.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2017-18 Small Game Hunting Guide.

Youth Pheasant Weekend Sept. 30, Oct. 1

North Dakota’s two-day youth pheasant season is Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger may hunt roosters statewide.

youth pheasant hunter

Resident youth hunters, regardless of age, must possess a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. Nonresident youth hunters from states that provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents qualify for North Dakota resident licenses. Otherwise, nonresident youth hunters must purchase a nonresident small game license.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course. The daily bag limit and all other regulations for the regular pheasant season apply.

An adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter in the field. The adult may not carry a firearm.

See the 2017 North Dakota Small Game Hunting Guide for additional information.

Hunters Asked to Submit Wing Envelopes

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is once again asking grouse hunters for help with future bird management by simply collecting some feathers from harvested birds and sending in wing envelopes this fall.

partridge wing_adult female

Wing data allows biologists to monitor production, reconcile bird counts and get a better understanding of the harvest ratio of males to females, and juveniles to adults.

Instructions for submitting wing data are printed on the envelope.

Hunters interested in receiving wing envelopes should visit the Game and Fish website (gf.nd.gov) to order a supply of wing envelopes, or contact the department’s main office in Bismarck by phone (701-328-6300) or email (ndgf@nd.gov).

In addition, Game and Fish district offices have a supply of wing envelopes for distribution. District offices are located at Devils Lake, Jamestown, Riverdale, Dickinson, Williston and Lonetree Wildlife Management Area near Harvey.

2016 Upland Game Seasons Summarized

The harvest of pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge last year in North Dakota was down from 2015, according to statistics compiled by the State Game and Fish Department.

Last year, more than 76,600 pheasant hunters (down 10 percent) harvested 501,100 roosters (down 15 percent), compared to 85,500 hunters and 590,700 roosters in 2015.

Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken by resident hunters in 2016 were Hettinger, 8.7; Morton, 5.8; Burleigh, 5.5; Stark, 5.4; and Williams, 5.3.

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Hettinger, 21.1 percent; Bowman, 10; Adams, 7.1; Divide, 5; and Emmons, 4.4.

In 2016, nearly 18,900 grouse hunters (down 18 percent) harvested 65,500 sharp-tailed grouse (down 21 percent). In 2015, 23,100 hunters took 83,000 sharptails.

Counties with the highest percentage of sharptails taken by resident hunters in 2016 were Mountrail, 8.9; McKenzie, 8.1; Grant, 7.4; Slope, 5.5; and McLean, 5.2.

Top counties for nonresident hunters were McKenzie, 9.3 percent; Mountrail, 9.1; Adams, 7.2; Hettinger, 6.9; and Grant, 6.5.

Last year, 16,900 hunters (down 9 percent) harvested 54,200 Hungarian partridge (down 9 percent). In 2015, 18,600 hunters harvested 59,600 Huns.

Counties with the highest percentage of Huns taken by resident hunters in 2016 were McKenzie, 9.6; Williams, 9.6; Ward, 9.5; Grant, 8.7; and Mountrail, 7.6.

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Stark, 8.1 percent; Divide, 7.4; McKenzie, 7.1; Grant, 6.5; and Hettinger, 6.5.