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North Dakota Hunting

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Written by:  Devn Schumacher 

May, 10 2021

North Dakota is popular for its badlands, amazing plans, and valleys. All of these add to the beauty of the state and provide great hunting opportunities. North Dakota is home to big game hunting such as elks, moose, bighorn sheep, and deer. There are also plenty of small game animals in the state.

North Dakota Hunting Regulations

Just as how it is done in almost every region of the US. North Dakota has hunting laws, requirements, and regulations for hunters to abide by before taking wildlife and games. The North Dakota Department of Fish and Wildlife is in charge of enforcing these regulations.

Some important regulations hunters in North Dakota should know to include the following:

Hunting License Regulation

You need a valid North Dakota hunting license before you can take wildlife and games in the state. This applies to both residents and non-resident hunters. However, there may be exceptions for the hunting of certain games without a license, but only the North Dakota department for fish and wildlife can determine this.

Tagging Regulations

It is compulsory to tag certain animals after taking them. Some of the animals that need tagging are big game like bears, elks, turkeys, and deer. Also, hunters must know all tagging and taking requirements for the games they want to hunt. Tagging must be done properly to avoid violation of regulations.

Tagging Requirement

After you take any big game that requires tagging, you must first validate the game tag before attaching it to the carcass of the animals. For games like bear, wolf, or lion, it is acceptable to attach tags to their hides. You are required to attach the tag immediately after taking the game. To tag, you have to first remove the triangles around the tag that shows the month and date you are taking the game.

Hunters Dress Requirements in North Dakota.

Before you hunt in North Dakota, it is compulsory to meet the state’s hunter's dressing requirements for specific games. The color of the dress accepted for hunting pheasant and other upland games is orange and at least a 36 square inch size. The dress should also be above the hunter’s waistline level.

This dress code is also required for hunters in the state fish and game properties WMA and for those on sponsored hunts in North Dakota. However, on a general basis, the North Dakota Department for Fish and Wildlife encourages all hunters to stick to the orange dress code regardless of what game they are hunting.

North Dakota Hunting Bag Limits

Bag limits for hunting in North Dakota are used to restrict the number of specific games that they can hunt in a particular season. Depending on the game that is to be hunted, bag limits can either be daily or seasonal.

For daily bag limits, the hunter will be restricted to just a specific number of games that can be taken per day. For seasonal bag limits, hunters will be restricted to the number of games that can be hunted within a specific game season.

Bag limits are not necessarily the same every year, or for a game hunting season. The North Dakota Department of Fish and Wildlife determines bag limits annually, based on the specific game population. It is compulsory for hunters to adhere to all bag limits and restrictions made available by the department. Violating bag limits can lead to fines and possibly revocation of hunting licenses.

Hunting Prohibitions in North Dakota

Some of the most common violations for hunters to avoid in North Dakota includes the following:

  • It is a prohibition to remove the evidence of game sex that you take in North Dakota. You are required to leave all evidence of sex naturally attached to the game carcass, or the biggest part of the meat if the game is boned. Exceptions are made for games like bears and, wolfs and lions, where the evidence of sex must be left on their hide.
  • It is a prohibition to not tag games that require tagging or to tag them improperly. To tag according to requirements in North Dakota, remove the month and date notches completely, and tag the game as soon as you harvest.
  • It is a prohibition for hunters to refuse to stop at Wildlife Management Areas check stations. It is compulsory for hunters and trappers to submit themself and hunting equipment for searching at every check station they encounter while going to hunt and when coming back from a hunt.
  • It is a prohibition to transport games and wildlife in North Dakota without a proxy statement. For games taken by another hunter, a proxy statement is required for its transportation. Hunters get one form for proxy statements per a tag bought.
  • It is a prohibition to discharge a firearm from across a highway while hunting.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt animals when it is not their hunting season. It is the responsibility of a hunter to know the opening and closing dates of the game season for animals they like to take. Hunters must also familiarize themselves with other regulations like the species of game that is lawful to take, the sex that is lawful to take, and the boundaries for hunting the game. Hunters are also advised to check the rules every year in case it changes.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt with the wrong license. Hunters are required to possess the right license required for the game they are trying to take. This is common for non-resident hunters purchasing North Dakota licenses that are only valid for residents of the state.
  • It is a prohibition for a hunter to transfer a hunting license or tag for use by another hunter.
  • It is a prohibition for you to make a game for another hunter who will attach his or her hunting tag. Party hunting is unlawful in North Dakota.
  • It is a prohibition for any hunter to trespass on private land to hunt a game. Exceptions are made for landowners or hunters permitted by a landowner. Also, it is the responsibility of hunters to know that they are hunting on private property, as ignorance will not be an excuse for this violation.
  • When using motorized vehicles while hunting big games, it is the responsibility of a hunter to follow the rules for hunting with vehicles on either state or federally owned lands.

Open Carry While Hunting in North Dakota.

You can open carry while hunting in North Dakota.

However, during bow hunting in the state, you cannot make use of any other firearm except a licensed handgun.

It is also a prohibition to use the handgun for hunting a game during archery sessions.

North Dakota also has hunter harassment laws to protect hunting activities in the state.

This law includes the following:

  • Nobody shall intentionally disturb a legal hunting activity in the state by harassing, pursuing, or interfering with hunters either on public or private land.
  • Nobody shall make use of any form or aerial vehicle that does not have human operators on private or public lands meant for the hunting of wildlife to interfere, impede, or disrupt a legal hunting session.
  • Nobody shall tamper or disarrange a trap or snare in the state legally placed to capture fur-bearing games or animals that leave unprotected in the wild. The only exception to this are officers from the authoritative department or land agents.
  • Also, nobody shall venture into hunting on privately or publicly owned lads without permission from the owner or the appropriate authority.

This section of hunter harassment law in North Dakota does not affect people that are carrying out legal activities that interfere with hunting, such as agricultural purposes, with permission to do so.

North Dakota Hunting License, Permits, and Tags

A hunting license in North Dakota is issued based on the hunter’s residency, type of game, and the age of the hunter. There are a lot of valid North Dakota hunting licenses, permits, and tags, and they include the following:

Residents Hunting License

These are the hunting licenses available to residents of North Dakota. To apply for these licenses, you must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months.

  • Adult Hunting and Fishing License

This license is available to adult residents of North Dakota and it allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of adult hunting and fishing licenses based on validity. The annual licenses cost $38.75, while the ones valid for 3 years cost $97.

  • Junior Hunting and Fishing License

This license is available to teenage residents of North Dakota between the age of 14 and 17. It allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of Junior hunting and fishing licenses based on validity. The annual licenses cost $19, while the one valid for 3 years costs $49.

  • Senior Hunting License

This license is available to senior residents of North Dakota that are 65 years old or more. It allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of senior fishing licenses based on validity. The annual licenses cost $13.75, while the ones valid for 3 years cost $33.5.

  • Disabled Veterans License for Hunting and Fishing

This license is available to residents of North Dakota that are disabled and have a letter from the veteran affair proving their disability percentage. They must be at least 40% disabled to apply for the license. It costs $5.57.

Non-Residents Hunting License

This is a North Dakota out-of-state hunting license for non-residents that wish to take games within the state.

  • Adult Hunting and Fishing License

This license is available to adult nonresidents and it allows them to partake in fishing and hunting activities. There are 2 types of adult hunting and fishing licenses based on validity. The annual licenses cost $264, while the one valid for 3 years cost $788.50

  • Adult Ordinary Hunting License

This license is available to adult nonresidents and allows them to partake in only hunting activities. There are 2 types of adult hunting licenses based on validity. The one valid for 3 days costs $185, while the one valid for 3 years costs $551.5.

Small Game Hunting License

This license allows holders to partake in the hunting of games like migratory birds, upland games, cottontail rabbits, turkeys, furbearers, hares, and predators. However, the license is invalid for the first 5 days of the North Dakota pheasant hunting season. There are 2 types of small game hunting licenses for non-residents based on validity. The one valid for 5 days costs $141.75, while the one valid for 3 days costs $71.71.

Trapping License

Nonresidents with this license are allowed to trap games in North Dakota. It costs $331.75.

Disabled Veteran License for Non Residents

This license is available to nonresidents that are disabled and have a letter from the veteran affair proving their disability percentage. They must be at least 40% disabled to apply for the license. The license also comes with fishing access for 3 days and costs $31.5.

North Dakota Fishing License, Permits, and Tags.

Fishing license, permits, and tags issued in North Dakota include the following:

Residents Fishing License

These are the fishing licenses available for residents of North Dakota.

  • Adult Fishing License

This license is available for resident adults that want to fish in North Dakota water bodies. There are 2 types of resident adult fishing licenses in North Dakota based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $30.5 and the one valid for 3 years costs $73.75.

  • Daily Fishing License

This license is valid per day for residents of North Dakota that want to fish. It cost $13.5 for the first day, while each consecutive day after will cost $6.

  • Junior Fishing License

This license is valid for teenage residents in North Dakota between the age of 14 and 17 that want to partake in fishing. There are 2 types of junior fishing licenses in North Dakota based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $13.75 and the one valid for 3 years costs $73.75.

  • Military Hunting and Fishing License

This is a combination of both fishing and hunting licenses valid for residents of North Dakota that are members of the US military. It costs $20.5.

Non Residents Fishing License

This license is valid for non-residents that want to fish in North Dakota. They include the following:

  • Adult Fishing License

This license is available for nonresident adults that want to fish in North Dakota water bodies. There are 2 types of nonresident adult fishing licenses in North Dakota based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $98.25 and the one valid for 3 years costs $291.25.

  • Daily Fishing License

This license is valid per day for nonresidents of North Dakota that want to fish. It cost $15 for the first day, while each consecutive day after will cost $7.

  • Junior Fishing License

This license is valid for teenage nonresidents between the age of 14 and 17 that want to partake in fishing. There are 2 types of junior nonresidents' fishing licenses in North Dakota based on validity. The one valid for a year costs $21.75 and the one valid for 3 years costs $61.75.

North Dakota Hunting Season 2020/2021

North Dakota Hunting Season varies for the games and the type of firearm used to take them.

The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in North Dakota includes the following:

North Dakota Deer Hunting Seasons

  • Archery Season (1st of August to 25th of November)
  • Crossbow Season (1st of August to 4th of December)
  • Muzzleloader Season (5th of September to 4th of December)
  • Firearms Season (19th of September to 21st of February)

You can make use of bows to hunt in all deer hunting seasons, regardless of what weapon is allowed in the season. Crossbows are also legal for Muzzleloading season, while muzzleloaders are allowed for firearm seasons.

North Dakota Turkey Hunting Season

  • Fall Archery Season (1st of August to 25th of November)
  • Fall Crossbow Season (1st of August to 4th of December)
  • Fall Muzzleloader Season (5th of September to 4th of December)
  • Fall Firearms Season (5th of October to 31st of January)
  • Spring General Season (6th of March to 25th of April)
  • Spring Youth Hunt Season (27th of February to 28th of February in the south zone and 13th of March to 14th of March in the North Zone)

North Dakota Small Games Hunting Season

  • Squirrel Hunting Season (10th of October to 7th of March)
  • Quail Hunting Season (14th of November to 7th of March)
  • Otter Hunting Season (1st of December to 1st of March)
  • Rabbit Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Wild Hog Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Raccoon Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Opossum Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)

North Dakota Wildlife Games and Fish

Some of the games and wildlife available for hunting in North Dakota include the following:

North Dakota Deer Hunting

Because of the abundance of public lands, deer hunting in North Dakota is very common with a large number of deer inhabiting the state. In south North Dakota, you will get the chance to bow hunt whitetail deer.

North Dakota Turkey Hunting

Wild turkeys in North Dakota inhabit the northern part of the peninsula. They are also known to interbreed with the Easter species of Turkeys. They are mostly found in forested parts of the state and woodlands, especially on the edge and in open areas of forests.

North Dakota Duck Hunting

The best areas for duck hunting in North Dakota are the wetland regions of the state. Ducks love to live away from human settlements. You can find them in wildlife refuges too. They prefer to roam about shallow water bodies like ponds and lakes.

North Dakota Quail Hunting

The most common species of quail in North Dakota is the Northern bobwhite quail. This game is mostly found feeding in the ground. Quails in North Dakota inhabit areas of the state like upland pines, scrubs, Flatwoods, etc.

North Dakota Dove Hunting

The mourning dove is one of the commonest species in North Dakota. You can find them on trees where they will build their nests, and they also inhabit woodland and grassland regions. Dove hunting in North Dakota is more common as a recreational activity.

North Dakota Pronghorns Hunting

Because of their nature, pronghorns will mostly be found in areas of the state with wide and open spaces. They inhabit shrubby and grassland regions where the plants do not exceed 2 feet and these are the places where pronghorn hunting in North Dakota mostly takes place. In the southern part of North Dakota, they inhabit the sagebrush, especially in the winter period where they get most food sources from this area.

North Dakota Shooting Ranges

Shooting ranges in North Dakota that is accessible to the general public include the following:

  • Capital City Sporting Clays
  • Buffalo Chip Shooters
  • Hebron Wildlife & Gun Club
  • Turtle Lake Wildlife Club
  • Tri-County Trap & Wildlife Club
  • McClean Bottom Rifle Range
  • Rugby Shooting Club

North Dakota Hunting Land for Sale and Lease

Hunting lands for sale in North Dakota include the following:

  • This World Class Whitetail hunting property has been highly managed over the past 15+ years. Towner, North Dakota (McHenry County) 1014.6 acres.
  • Bowman, North Dakota (Bowman County) 640 acres.
  • LAND AUCTION, Fessenden, North Dakota (Wells County) 160 acres. Tuesday, June 22, 2021 10:00 a.m. (CT)
  • Hettinger, North Dakota (Adams County) 301.8 acres.
  • ONLINE ONLY LAND AUCTION. Mcclusky, North Dakota (Sheridan County) 159 acres. Opens: Friday, July 9, 2021 8:00 am.
  • Auction land, Binford, North Dakota (Griggs County), 160 acres.
  • Olga, North Dakota (Cavalier County), 90 acres.
  • Litchville, North Dakota (Barnes County), 152.8 acres.
  • Lakota, North Dakota (Nelson County), 317.5 acres.
  • A fully functioning, turn-key cattle ranch with year-round world-class hunting opportunities. Solen, North Dakota (Morton County) 2,640 acres.
  • Excellent waterfowl and pheasant hunting property in Southeast North Dakota. Stirum, North Dakota (Sargent County) 232 acres.
  • One of the best chunks of private hunting ground in Zap, North Dakota (Mercer County) 320 acres.
  • Lehr, North Dakota (McIntosh County) 320 acres.
  • Lakota, North Dakota (Nelson County) 317.5 acres.

Hunting lands for lease in North Dakota include the following:

  • 500+ acres on the edge of the North Dakota Badlands. A true wildlife haven with many draws full of trees, creeks, and running springs. This ranch is loaded with whitetail and mule deer as well. It is available for Archery, Rifles, Shotguns, Muzzleloader too.
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