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North Dakota Game and Fish Report

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. 29.

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.

Pronghorn Season Set

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 first 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.

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.

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. 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, nonresidents must have a waterfowl license and residents age 16 and older need a small game license.

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