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Waterfowl Hunting Guide

Waterfowl Season


This is the preliminary 2014 waterfowl guide and is subject to change.


2014 Regulations

This guide is provided for informational purposes and is not intended as a complete listing of regulations. If you desire Specific information on regulations and laws, visit the Game and Fish Department website (for season proclamations) or for North Dakota state laws go to www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/T20-1.html.

2014 Waterfowl Guide (printable)
2014 Waterfowl Proclamation
2014 Waterfowl Rest Area Proclamation

Table of Contents
Season Dates, Times, Open Areas Special Youth Waterfowl Season
Falconry (Special Extended) Season General Requirements
Harvest Information Program (HIP) Licenses
Identification Definition of Terms
Legal Firearms, Ammunition and Other Methods of Take Nontoxic Shot Regulations
Aircraft, Boats and Motor-driven Vehicles Transportation and Storage
Posting and Trespass Map of Nonresident Waterfowl Zones and Waterfowl Rest Areas
Waterfowl Rest Areas Road Rights of Way
Disabled American Veterans Goose Hunt Wanton Waste
Summary of Federal Regulations Hunting by Nontribal Members on North Dakota Indian Reservations
Closed or Restricted Areas Other Restrictions
Report Banded Birds High Plains and Low Plains Hunting Units
Sunrise and Sunset Times Report All Poachers (R.A.P.) Program
Aquatic Nuisance Species

Season Dates, Times, Open Areas

LIGHT GEESE

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: January 4, 2015
  • Daily Limit: 50
  • Possession Limit: No limit
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to: 1 pm CDT September 27 through November 1; 2 pm CST November 2 through end of season. Extended shooting hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Wednesdays from September 27 through November 26; and on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from November 27 through end of season.

CANADA GEESE

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 25 (Missouri River Zone closes January 2, 2015)
  • Daily Limit: 8 (Missouri River Zone is 5)
  • Possession Limit: 24 (Missouri River Zone is 15)
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to: 1 pm CDT September 27 through November 1; 2 pm CST November 2 through end of season. Extended shooting hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Wednesdays from September 27 through November 26; and on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from November 27 through end of season. Note: A hunter may take up to 8 Canada geese in a day, provided no more than 5 come from the Missouri River Zone. Subsequently, a hunter may possess up to 24 Canada geese, provided not more than 15 come from the Missouri River Zone.


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WHITE-FRONTED GEESE

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 7
  • Daily Limit: 2
  • Possession Limit: 6
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to: 1 pm CDT September 27 through November 1; 2 pm CST November 2 through end of season. Extended shooting hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Wednesdays from September 27 through November 26; and on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from November 27 through end of season.

DUCKS

  • Open Area: Low Plains Unit
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 7
  • Open Area: High Plains Unit
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 7
  • Opens: December 13
  • Closes: January 4, 2015
  • Daily Limit: 6 (see Ducks and Mergansers restrictions below)
  • Possession Limit: 3 times the daily limit (see below)
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

MERGANSERS

  • Open Area: Low Plains Unit
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 7
  • Open Area: High Plains Unit
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 7
  • Opens: December 13
  • Closes: January 4, 2015
  • Daily Limit: 5 (see Ducks and Mergansers restrictions below)
  • Possession Limit: 15
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

Ducks and Mergansers: Species/Sex Restrictions The daily bag limit on ducks is 6 with species and sex restrictions as follows: 5 mallards of which only 2 may be hens, 3 scaup, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 pintails, 1 canvasback. Note: An additional 2 blue-winged teal may be taken September 27 through October 12 only. The daily limit of 5 mergansers may include no more than 2 hooded mergansers. The possession limit on these restricted ducks and the hooded merganser is three times the daily limit.

COOTS

  • Open Area: Low Plains Unit
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 7
  • Open Area: High Plains Unit
  • Opens: September 27 (residents only), October 4 (nonresidents)
  • Closes: December 7
  • Opens: December 13
  • Closes: January 4, 2015
  • Daily Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: 45
  • Shooting Hours:30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

TUNDRA SWAN (BY PERMIT ONLY)

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: October 4
  • Closes: January 4, 2015
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset

A total of 2,200 licenses were issued by lottery. The deadline for submitting applications to the Department’s Bismarck office was August 13. Successful applicants receive a tag allowing harvest of one swan during the season. Only one tag is allowed per hunter. In no case is it legal to possess a swan unless it is properly tagged. Since swans are waterfowl, nonresidents may hunt them only during the period that their nonresident waterfowl license is valid and must stay within selected zones (exception – statewide license does not restrict hunters to zones).


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Special Youth Waterfowl Season

  • Open Area: Statewide
  • Opens: September 20
  • Closes: September 21
  • Shooting Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset
  • Legally licensed residents and nonresidents 15 years of age or younger may hunt ducks, mergansers, coots or geese. An adult of at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field. The adult may not hunt ducks, mergansers or coots. The daily bag limit, including species restrictions, and all other regulations that apply to the regular duck and goose hunting seasons apply to this special season. Exception: The additional 2 blue-winged teal allowed during the first 16 days of the regular season are not allowed during the youth season.

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Falconry (Special Extended) Season

Licensed falconers possessing the appropriate licenses may hunt resident game species from August 9 through March 22, 2015, and also migratory game birds during their open hunting seasons. In addition, falconers may hunt snipe, ducks, mergansers and coots from September 8-12, and September 15-19. Contact the Department for details.


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General Requirements

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 16 years of age and older who have not taken the hunter education course may be issued an apprentice hunter validation that enables them to hunt small game (includes waterfowl) and deer for one license year. Contact the Game and Fish Department for details.

Minimum Age There is no minimum age to hunt waterfowl, but anyone under age 15 afield with firearms must be under direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or adult authorized by their parent or guardian.

Nonresidents Nonresidents may not hunt waterfowl from September 27-October 3. State law restricts nonresident waterfowl hunters to zones (exception - statewide license) and specified days. For waterfowl hunting a nonresident may choose either option (1) hunting in zone 3 only for 14 consecutive days or for two 7-consecutive-day periods; (2) hunting in zones 1 or 2 for 7 consecutive days and also hunting in zone 3 for 7 consecutive days – either back-to-back or split; (3) choosing either zones 1 or 2 and also selecting zone 3 for the same 7-day time period; or (4) purchasing the statewide license which allows statewide hunting for 14 consecutive days or for two 7-consecutive-day periods. Nonresidents may purchase only one waterfowl license per year.


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Harvest Information Program (HIP)

All migratory game bird hunters must register annually with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program in each state you hunt before hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Before your license to hunt is legal you must register by calling toll free 888-634-4798. After answering a brief survey you will receive a HIP registration number which must be recorded on your fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. (NOTE: If you purchase your hunting license at the Department’s Bismarck office, through the Department’s website, or over the phone with the toll-free number you can easily get HIP registered. If you participated in the spring snow goose conservation hunt you should have already been HIP registered.) HIP is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program designed to improve the survey of migratory bird hunters for management purposes.


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Licenses

Hunting licenses in the form of stamps must be affixed to the back of a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Stamps and licenses must be signed in ink.

Duck, goose, swan, merganser, sandhill crane, coot and snipe hunters must possess general game and habitat licenses and small game licenses. Exception: Nonresidents hunting only waterfowl do not need a small game license; residents and qualifying nonresidents under age 16 do not need a small game license; and nonresident crane hunters need either a small game license or a waterfowl license.

Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – Federal law requires each waterfowl hunter 16 years of age and older to carry a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (federal duck stamp) that is validated by the hunter signing the stamp in ink across the face of the stamp.

Nonresident youth hunting licenses – A nonresident under age 16 need only purchase a North Dakota resident fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and a North Dakota resident general game and habitat license to hunt small game and waterfowl, except swans and wild turkeys; provided that the nonresident’s state of residence, or province or territory of Canada, provides a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents who are also under age 16. (Currently residents of CO, CT, ID, KY, MI, MN, MO, MS, NE, NJ, NY, OH, SC, TN, TX, WA and WI qualify.) To be eligible, a nonresident youth may not have turned 16 before September 1 of the year for which the license is issued, and must possess a certificate of completion for a certified hunter education course. The nonresident youth may only hunt under the supervision of an adult family member or legal guardian who is licensed to hunt small game or waterfowl in this state and is subject to the same regulations as that youth’s adult family member or legal guardian.

Nonresident full-time students living in North Dakota, who are attending a North Dakota state or tribal college, or a private institution of higher education, may qualify for purchasing resident (nonlottery) licenses. Contact the Department for details.

Nonresident Waterfowl Licenses – All nonresident duck, goose, swan, merganser and coot hunters must possess nonresident waterfowl licenses. Nonresidents may purchase only one waterfowl license per year. Nonresidents hunting only waterfowl do not need a small game license.

Special Permits – All crane and swan hunters must possess special permits. Any swan taken must be tagged.

License Fees

Resident Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate $1
Nonresident Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate $2
General Game and Habitat License (resident and nonresident) $20
Resident Small Game License (for age 16 and over) $10
Nonresident Small Game License (may purchase more than one per year) $100
Nonresident Small Game License, General Game and Habitat License, and Certificate $122
Nonresident Waterfowl License (zones) $100
Nonresident Waterfowl License (zones), General Game and Habitat License, and Certificate $122
Nonresident Waterfowl License (statewide) $150
Nonresident Waterfowl License (statewide), General Game and Habitat License, and Certificate $172
Crane Permit (resident) $10
Crane Permit (nonresident) $30
Resident Swan License (issued by lottery) $10
Nonresident Swan License (issued by lottery) $30
Resident Combination License (Fishing, Small Game, General Game and Habitat, and Furbearer) $50

 


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Identification

One fully feathered wing or the fully feathered head of all waterfowl, snipe, crane and woodcock 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.)


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Definition of Terms

“Game” includes those species including waterfowl 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.

“Migratory Game Birds” includes ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, dove and woodcock.

“Waterfowl” includes ducks, geese, swans, mergansers and coots.

“Daily Bag Limit” (Daily Limit) means the maximum number of the particular game referred to that one hunter, legally licensed by this state, may take or kill for that species during a single hunting day, within the boundaries of this state.

“Possession Limit for Waterfowl and Migratory Game Birds” means 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 possession 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 and any other geese except white-fronted geese and light geese.

“Light geese” include snow geese, blue geese and Ross’s geese.


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Legal Firearms, Ammunition and Other Methods of Take

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. 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. 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 the small game seasons. Contact the Department for additional information on crossbow regulations.


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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, see http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/currentbirdissues/nontoxic.htm.

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.


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Aircraft, Boats and Motor-driven Vehicles

It is illegal to drive, concentrate, rally, raise, stir up, spot or disturb game with all types of aircraft, including drones.

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. 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.

It is illegal to drive motor-driven vehicles off established roads and trails unless hunting waterfowl or cranes. Except for persons having a special disability permit, no person may use a motor-driven vehicle while in the process of hunting small game (except waterfowl or cranes) or aid another in the process of hunting small game (except waterfowl or cranes) including travel to and from the hunting location unless the motor-driven vehicle is on an established road or trail. Exception: A landowner or a lessee who actively farms or ranches the land, or a person having written permission from the landowner or lessee may use a motor-driven vehicle off of an established road or trail to hunt small game except during the deer gun season (does not apply to the hunting of waterfowl or cranes).

Motor-driven vehicles may not be used off established roads or trails on most public lands – check with managing agency for specific rules.

Mallard Island and deTrobriand Island are closed to the use of all motordriven vehicles and aircraft. On all other wildlife management areas, owned or managed by the North Dakota Game and Fish 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 and 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 shooting grounds. Ducks, coots, mergansers, geese and tundra swans may be taken from a floating craft, excluding a sinkbox, if such craft is beached, or fastened within or tied immediately alongside any type of fixed hunting blind, or from such craft resting at anchor. 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.


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Transportation and Storage

License holders must accompany their game, or parts thereof, during transportation. Except for legally gifted game, it is illegal to possess or transport another’s game, or parts thereof, without the license holder accompanying or as otherwise permitted. No resident of the state may ship game, or parts thereof, out of state without a permit from the Department. A nonresident licensee may arrange shipment of, or personally transport, his/her game from this state. Game may be shipped by common carrier in receipt of proper bill of lading.

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.

Game may be gifted to another, however, nothing allows 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.

No one may possess, store, transport or ship at any one time more than a possession limit of 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. No person shall put or leave any game birds at any place unless the birds are tagged by the hunter with the following information: the hunter’s signature and address, date taken, number and species of such birds, and small game or waterfowl license number. The above tag is required if the birds have been left by the hunter for cleaning, storage (including temporary storage), shipment or taxidermy services. No person shall transport migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are tagged as required. Passengers in a vehicle that is transporting their birds are not required to tag their birds.


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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 apart. As to 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. Trespass is a criminal violation punishable by suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for a period of at least one year. Hunting on posted land without permission can be prosecuted even if the land is not posted to the letter of the law.

It is illegal to hunt upon the premises of another within 440 yards 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 from the occupied building.

Any person may enter upon legally posted land (without a firearm) 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.


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Map of Nonresident Waterfowl Zones and Waterfowl Rest Areas

Boundaries of nonresident waterfowl zones are shown on the map. See zone restrictions under the General Requirements section. (Note: Purchasing the statewide license does not restrict hunters 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.

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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 rest area map. Legal descriptions of waterfowl rest areas can be found in the 2014 Waterfowl Rest Area Proclamation available from the Department’s Bismarck office. Waterfowl rest areas are in effect from September 27 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 27 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.

  • Burke County: (1) 5 E and 6 N of Columbus.
  • Cavalier County: (1) Mt. Carmel Dam – 11 N and 2 E of Langdon.
  • Divide County: (1) 3 N of Noonan.
  • Hettinger County: (1) Mott Watershed Dam – 1 N of Mott. Closed to waterfowl hunting only.
  • 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.

  • Pembina County: North Salt Lake – see Walsh 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.
  • Walsh County: (1) North Salt Lake – 4 E and 8 N of Grafton.
 

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Road Rights of Way

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.


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Disabled American Veterans Goose Hunt

Disabled American veterans shall be allowed to take geese in the waterfowl rest area along the Missouri River (from the Garrison Dam to Turtle Creek downstream from Washburn), on October 18 and 19.

Disabled veterans (military action related) are eligible to participate. For more information contact the D.A.V. Hunt Committee at 701-748-2550 on or before October 17, or 701-748-6227 after October 17.


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Wanton Waste

No person shall kill, cripple, waste, destroy, spoil or abandon the edible flesh of any migratory game bird 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.


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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/laws/lawsdigest.html, where they will find a complete version of 50 CFR Part 20, or 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 are 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 or her automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his or 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 within 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 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. For additional information, visit: http://www.fws.gov/le/waterfowl-hunting-and-baiting.html or call 701-255-0593.

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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. 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.

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Closed or Restricted Areas

In accordance with NDCC 20.1-08-04.9, nonresidents may not hunt any game from October 11-17, 2014, 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 of all species. (Exception: Waterfowl hunting may be permitted at times and on those areas of federally owned refuges designated by the refuge manager.) Carrying or possession of firearms on wildlife management areas so posted is prohibited from May 1 through September 1, or other dates posted on the signs.

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.

State school or trust land is open to public access including hunting unless posted with State Department of Trust Lands signs. Vehicles are not permitted on state school lands. Contact the State Department of Trust Lands for additional information regarding state school or trust lands.

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.


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Other Restrictions

  • 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 night vision equipment, electronically enhanced light gathering optics or thermal imaging equipment for locating or hunting game is prohibited.
  • 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 wildlife into the wild without a permit from the Department.

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Report Banded Birds

Banded birds provide important management information. If you shoot or find a bird with a federal band, report it at: www.reportband.gov or call (800) 327-BAND (2263). The band number, and date and location of recovery are needed. You can receive a certificate with information about the bird. The band is yours to keep.


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High Plains and Low Plains Hunting Units

The High Plains Unit is that portion of North Dakota found west of the following line: Beginning at the South Dakota border, then north on U.S. Highway 83 and I-94 to ND Highway 41, then north on ND Highway 41 to ND Highway 53, then west on ND Highway 53 to U.S. Highway 83, then north on U.S. Highway 83 to U.S. Highway 2, then west on U.S. Highway 2 to the Williams County line, then north and west along the Williams and Divide county lines to the Canadian border. The Low Plains Unit is that portion of North Dakota east of the High Plains Unit.


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Sunrise and Sunset Times

Sunrise and Sunset Times


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Report All Poachers (R.A.P.) Program

This program encourages people to report wildlife violations, remain anonymous if they prefer, and receive monetary rewards for convictions based on their information. Anonymous callers will be given a special code number and are not required to give their name. Rewards range from $100 to $1,000 depending on the nature and seriousness of the crime. Call 800-472-2121. Call this number only to report game and fish violations. Note: If calling from outside North Dakota, the number is 701- 328- 9921.The reward fund is supported by private donations. If you wish to donate to the RAP program, tax deductible contributions can be sent to RAP, Box 188, Valley City, ND 58072-0188.


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Aquatic Nuisance Species

To prevent the introduction or spread of aquatic nuisance species into or within the state, waterfowl hunters must remove water from duck boats, trailers and other equipment, and remove plants and plant fragments from boats, trailers, decoys, waders and other equipment before leaving a water body. Hunters are also urged to run a brush through a hunting dog's coat to remove any mud and seed.


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