Openers Galore for ND Hunters

Doug Leier

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept.


The 2019 North Dakota hunting seasons have officially been open since Aug. 15 when the early Canada goose management take began.


In fact, depending on the Canada goose zone in which you hunt, the first early season closure is Sept. 7.  in the Missouri River zone. The other Canada goose zone closures are Sept. 15 in the western zone and Sept. 20 in the eastern zone.


But this column is more about openings than closures. We’re in that time of year when many weekends through early November have some sort of hunting or trapping season opener.


Friday, Aug. 30 marks the opening day for North Dakota archery deer hunters, pronghorn license holders who want to hunt with a bow, and mountain lion hunters.


Just two days later on Sept. 1, dove season opens. The second weekend in September is a “bye” weekend, but then youth deer opens Sept. 13. Grouse, partridge and sandhill crane seasons open Sept. 14, as does youth waterfowl weekend.


The following weekend the resident waterfowl season opens Sept. 21, while swan license holders and nonresident waterfowl hunters can start Sept. 28.


Pronghorn license holders who want to hunt with a rifle can hit the fields Oct. 4, and youth pheasant hunters open their season Oct. 5.


Pheasant hunters and those holding turkey tags can get started on Oct 12.


Following another “bye” weekend on Oct. 19-20, many trapping seasons open Oct. 26, and then two weeks later deer gun season starts Nov. 8.


Most of these season dates are included in the 2019-20 small game, waterfowl and furbearer guide which is now available at license vendor locations and also on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at


When it comes to changes, most 2019 season structures are similar to last year.

Noteworthy items include:

  • The daily limit on pintails is reduced from two to one.
  • River otter season limit is increased from 15 to 20.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Also, migratory bird hunters of all ages are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Hunters must register in each state for which they are licensed to hunt.

Hunters can HIP certify when purchasing a license, or by calling 888-634-4798.

Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.

HIP registration is a cooperative program designed to determine a sample of hunters from which to measure the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes.

Leier is an Outreach Biologist with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department. 

Featured Photo: Take ‘Em!  Hunting and trapping guides are now available for all ND hunters to familiarize themselves with season regulations and the upcoming openers in the Peace Garden State. NDG&F Image. 

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