Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

WMA Regulations Prohibit Fireworks, Camping Restrictions Lifted for Holiday

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

 

The primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses that are compatible with these objectives. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.

 

In addition, the Game and Fish Department will lift the Tuesday-Wednesday no-camping restriction for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week, which will allow overnight camping July 2-3 on those WMAs that otherwise have this two-day restriction in place.

 

A complete list of the WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Spring Light Goose Conservation Order

North Dakota’s spring light goose conservation order opens Feb. 23 and continues through May 12.

Residents must have a valid current season 2018-19 (valid through March 31) or 2019-20 (required April 1) combination license; or a small game, and general game and habitat license. Resident youth under age 16 only need the general game and habitat license. The 2019-20 license is available for purchase beginning March 15.

Nonresidents need a 2019 spring light goose conservation order license. The cost is $50 and is valid statewide. Nonresidents who hunt in the spring remain eligible to buy a fall season license. The spring license does not count against the 14-day fall waterfowl hunting season regulation.

In addition, nonresident youth under age 16 can purchase a license at the resident fee if their state has youth reciprocity licensing with North Dakota.

A federal duck stamp is not required for either residents or nonresidents.

Resident and nonresident licenses are available online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, at license vendors around the state, or by calling 800-406-6409.

Hunters must register annually with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting in each state. The HIP number can be obtained online, or by calling 888-634-4798. The HIP number obtained for North Dakota’s spring conservation order is also valid for North Dakota’s fall hunting season.

The spring conservation order is only open to light geese – snows, blues, and Ross’s. Species identification is important because white-fronted and Canada geese travel with light geese. The conservation order is closed to whitefronts, Canada geese, swans and all other migratory birds.

For more information on regulations refer to the 2019 Spring Light Goose Hunting Regulations and the North Dakota 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Anglers May Not Bring Aquatic Bait into North Dakota

Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to import minnows and other forms of live aquatic bait into North Dakota.

 

Anglers should buy bait from a licensed North Dakota retail bait vendor. Bait vendors can properly identify species and have taken steps to ensure all bait is clean of any aquatic nuisance species.

For more information, refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide, available at license vendors or online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

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.

 

A popular question this time of year is if campers qualify as legal fish houses. The answer is the same for any structure taken on the ice – if it’s left unattended, it must be able to float; if it’s not able to float, it must be removed when the angler leaves the ice.

 

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.

Winter Fishing Regulations

North Dakota anglers are encouraged to refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide or the state Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations.

 

In addition, anglers can visit the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, for an extensive list of fishing questions and answers.

 

Some winter fishing regulations include:

  • A maximum of four poles is legal for ice fishing.
  • Tip-ups are legal, and each tip-up is considered a single pole.
  • Mechanical devices that set the hook are legal; however, the use of any device that automatically retrieves the fish is illegal.
  • There is no restriction on the size of the hole in the ice while fishing. Materials used to mark holes must be in possession of anglers and spearers as soon as a hole larger than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.
  • It is only legal to release fish back into the water immediately after they are caught. Once a fish is held in a bucket or on a stringer, they can no longer be legally released in any water.
  • It is illegal to catch fish and transport them in water.
  • It is illegal to leave fish, including bait, behind on the ice.
  • All aquatic bait, such as fathead minnows, must be purchased or trapped in North Dakota.
  • Depositing or leaving any litter or other waste material on the ice or shore is illegal.
  • The packaging of fish (including parts thereof) away from one’s permanent residence must be done in such a manner that the number of fish in each package may be easily determined.
  • The daily limit is a limit of fish taken from midnight to midnight. No person may possess more than one day’s limit of fish while on the ice or actively engaged in fishing. If a situation occurs when an angler fishes overnight, the first daily limit must be removed from the ice by midnight prior to continuing to fish.
  • The possession limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may have in his or her possession during a fishing trip of more than one day.
  • It is illegal to introduce anything into the water for the purpose of attempting to attract fish (chumming, artificial light, etc.) that is not attached or applied to a lure.
  • Licensing of fish houses is not required in North Dakota. However, any unoccupied fish house must have displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high, either a registration number issued by the department, or the owner’s name and address or name and telephone number.

PLOTS Lands Open for Residents Only Oct. 6-12

Out-of-state hunters are reminded that state law does not allow nonresidents to hunt on North Dakota Game and Fish Department owned or managed lands during the first week of pheasant season.

 

Private Land Open to Sportsmen acreage and state wildlife management areas are open to hunting by resident hunters only from Oct. 6-12. Nonresidents, however, can still hunt those days on other state-owned and federal lands, or private land.

 

The law applies to all small game, waterfowl, furbearer and big game hunting on PLOTS and state wildlife management areas during the first seven days of the pheasant season. Starting Oct. 13 this year, nonresidents may hunt on PLOTS and WMAs as long as the appropriate season is open.

 

In addition, all hunters are reminded that activities such as riding horses for hunting purposes or for pleasure on PLOTS require written permission from the landowner. Permission from the landowner is always required for motorized vehicle access, such as for setting decoys in a field, unless specifically designated on the PLOTS sign.

 

Leaving equipment or other provisions in a PLOTS area overnight, such as tree stands or blinds, decoys, firearms and archery equipment, or trail cameras is not allowed without written permission from the landowner.

 

Also, hunting deer over bait is legal on PLOTS tracts – except in deer hunting units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2 – but substances used as bait must be removed when the hunter leaves unless written permission from the landowner is granted.

Hunters Reminded of Big Game Transport Rules

Big game hunters are reminded of requirements for transporting deer, elk and moose carcasses and carcass parts into and within North Dakota as a precaution against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease.

 

Hunters are prohibited from transporting into or within North Dakota the whole carcass of deer, elk, moose or other members of the cervid family from areas within states and provinces with documented occurrences of CWD in wild populations, or in captive cervids. Hunters should note that Montana is now included in the 2018-19 CWD proclamation as a state that has had free-ranging deer, moose or elk diagnosed with CWD and therefore now has big game transport requirements.

 

In addition, hunters harvesting a big game animal in unit 3F2 in North Dakota cannot transport the whole carcass, including the head and spinal column, outside of the unit. This is a new rule from last year, when hunters could take the carcass  outside of the unit if it was taken directly to a meat processor within five days of the harvest date.

 

Only the following portions of the carcass can be transported:

  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Hides with no heads attached.
  • Meat that is cut and wrapped either commercially or privately.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers or ivories.
  • Finished taxidermy heads.

 

Hunters should also note that hunting big game over bait, or placing bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, is prohibited in deer units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

 

2018 Small Game, Waterfowl and Furbearer Regulations Set

North Dakota’s 2018 small game, waterfowl and furbearer regulations are set and most season structures are similar to last year.

However, one major change from last year involves Canada goose hunting zones.

The Canada goose hunting season is divided into three zones – Missouri River, western and eastern. The Missouri River Canada goose zone has the same boundary as last year, while the western zone has the same boundary as the high plains duck unit, excluding the Missouri River zone. The eastern zone has the same boundary as the low plains duck unit.

Other noteworthy items include:

  • Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 22 for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North DakotaSept. 29.
  • The daily limit on pintails has increased from one to two.
  • 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 conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from Oct. 6-12.

In addition, the state’s waterfowl, small game and furbearer regulations will have a new look this fall.

No longer printed as separate documents, North Dakota’s 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Guide includes three main sections – upland game, migratory game bird and furbearer/trapping.

The 52-page document offers much of the same information hunters and trappers rely on, but in a much more user-friendly format. In addition, the guide also features a 4-page colored duck identification guide, aquatic nuisance species information, boating safety for hunters and Tom Roster’s Nontoxic Shot Lethality Table.

Hunters and trappers can find the guide by visiting the 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.

Anglers May Not Bring Aquatic Bait into North Dakota

Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to import all forms of live aquatic bait into North Dakota. This includes minnows, suckers, leeches, waterdogs (salamanders) and frogs.

 

Anglers should buy bait from a licensed North Dakota retail bait vendor. Bait vendors can properly identify species and have taken steps to ensure all bait is clean of any aquatic nuisance species.

 

For more information, refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide, available at license vendors or online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.