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Hunting in North Dakota

North Dakota is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, offering something for everyone. From vast open lands to thick forests and wetlands, the state hosts a plethora of wildlife, from deer to birds and pronghorns. With each changing season comes new opportunities for hunting in this amazing place!

Experienced hunters flock here as well as those just starting out; all come looking for adventure or simply to appreciate nature’s beauty. In this detailed guide, we have covered all you need to know about hunting in North Dakota. We have gathered all the details about hunting seasons, regulations, license information, and the best places to hunt animals. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Hunting in North Dakota

What Can You Hunt in North Dakota?

From deer and elk to pheasants, turkey, grouse, rabbits, and squirrels – North Dakota has it all for the avid hunter. Whether you’re after big game or small game animals like waterfowl ducks and geese or upland birds such as pheasant, there’s something here in this great state for everyone. You can also find furbearers here such as foxes, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, beavers, minks, muskrats, badgers, and bobcats.


Hunting deer in North Dakota is a thrilling experience, but it’s important to do your research before heading out. Knowing the regulations and laws that govern each area you’re hunting in will help ensure a successful trip. It’s also key to identify the differences between white-tailed and mule deer so you know which species are allowed for harvest.

Be sure to equip yourself with all of the necessary gear – from rifles or bows, clothing suited for cold weather conditions, as well as different scents and lures designed to attract deer into range. Always practice safety while out on your hunt by wearing blaze orange attire at all times and being aware of your surroundings – this could be the difference between a successful trip and one not worth remembering!

White-Tailed & Mule Deer Season North Dakota

Season Dates
Bowhunting Sep 01 – Jan 07
Regular Nov 10 – Nov 26
Muzzleloader Dec 01 – Dec 17
Youth Sep 15 – Sep 24


North Dakota’s elk population is booming, with over 5,000 animals roaming across the Badlands, Little Missouri National Grassland, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You can take advantage of this abundance during hunting season which runs from late August to early January. But before you even think about taking aim at one of these majestic creatures, you must get your license and tag in order.

When it comes to bagging an elk in North Dakota, timing is key – especially for those looking for a bull as they tend to be more active around mid-September through mid-October during the rutting period when searching for mates.

That being said though; you should always exercise caution when dealing with such powerful beasts so wearing blaze-orange clothing will help make you visible to other hunters.

Elk Season ND

Season Dates
Bowhunting (E1E, E1W, E2, E6) Sep 01 – Sep 24
Regular (E5) Sep 01 – Jan 07
Regular (E3, E4) Sep 01 – Jan 07
Regular (E6) Oct 06 – Nov 09
Regular (E1E, E2, E1W) Oct 06 – Jan 07
Regular (E6) Nov 27 – Jan 07


Moose Hunting is a thrilling experience for both local and non-local hunters. The season typically opens mid-September through early December, so be sure to have your hunting license ready before joining the hunt! Also, hunters should familiarize themselves with bag limits and specific hunting zones set by the state.

To successfully track down these majestic animals, it’s essential to understand their environment – look out for wetter areas with thick vegetation as this provides them cover from predators as well as food sources. Once you’ve pinpointed an area that meets their needs, make sure you’re equipped properly; moose are strong creatures that require proper gear in order to capture them safely.

Moose Season North Dakota

Season Dates
Regular (M5, M6, M8, M9, M10, M11) Oct 13 – Nov 05
Archery (M5, M6, M8, M9, M10, M11) Sep 01 – Sep 24


Antelope, also known as “pronghorn,” are some of the most remarkable and sought-after game animals in North Dakota. With their tan-brown bodies, white stomachs, and iconic black-and-white facial markings, they make for a memorable sight. The bucks have an additional feature – dark-pronged horns used during mating battles.

North Dakota’s grasslands and prairies provide one of the best habitats for pronghorns to roam freely with plenty of open space to graze on. These animals stand out from many others due to their incredible agility – being the second fastest land animal after cheetahs!

Hunting Antelopes in North Dakota

Antelope Season

Season Dates
Archery (1-A, 1-D, 2-A, 2-B, 3-A, 3-B, 4-A, 4-C, 5-A, 6-A, 7-A, 8-A, 10-A, 11-A, 13-A) Sep 01 – Oct 05
Gun/Bow (1-A, 1-D, 2-A, 2-B, 3-A, 3-B, 4-A, 4-C, 5-A, 6-A, 7-A, 8-A, 10-A, 11-A, 13-A) Oct 06 – Nov 25


Wild turkey hunting in North Dakota is an exciting experience for any avid hunter. Merriam’s wild turkeys can be found throughout the western and central regions of the state, boasting a healthy population just waiting to be hunted. Hunting season typically runs from April to May with a bag limit of two birds per day.

To get the most out of your hunt, combine calling and decoys when searching for wild turkeys in the Peace Garden State. Calling is key – it draws them close while decoys help attract them from further away. Remember: remain stealthy and still until you’re within range – otherwise you could scare off your potential prey!

Don’t forget about public land either; there are over 600,000 acres open for turkey hunting across national forests and wildlife management areas in this great state! Just make sure to check local regulations before heading out into the field.

Turkey Season in North Dakota

Season Dates
Spring Regular Apr 08 – May 14
Fall Regular Oct 14 – TBD
Spring Youth Apr 08 – May 14

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep are a proud part of North Dakota’s wild heritage. These majestic creatures can be found in the mountains and grasslands of the state, particularly near Badlands National Park. Hunting season for Bighorns runs annually from November 1st to December 31st with specific regulations set by the Game & Fish Department; hunters must acquire valid licenses as well as bighorn sheep tags before hunting these animals.

Often spotted in small groups ranging from two to four individuals, male rams boast impressive horns reaching up to three feet long! The best time for hunting Bighorns is during winter when they flock down lower elevations seeking food sources like grasses and shrubs.

Bighorn Sheep Season ND

Season Dates
Regular (B1, B3, B4, B5) Nov 03 – Dec 31


Bobcats are a familiar sight in North Dakota, especially in the West. Solitary hunters by nature, they can be found stalking their prey or lying in wait for it to pass through both rural and urban environments. These majestic cats typically hunt small mammals like rabbits, squirrels, and mice but will go after bigger game as well – deer, elk, or even livestock if given the opportunity.

Hunting bobcats is allowed at certain times of the year with specific regulations that must be followed. Hunters should always check the local wildlife department regarding any potential restrictions before heading out on an adventure! Firearms and archery equipment are popular options when hunting this protected species; however, all laws must still be obeyed while doing so.

Bobcat Season

Season Dates
Zone 01 Nov 05 – Mar 15
Zone 02 Nov 21 – Mar 15

Mountain Lion

When it comes to hunting mountain lions in North Dakota, preparation is key! You’ll need a valid permit before setting out on your hunt, so make sure you have all the necessary paperwork. Be aware of where hunting is allowed and prohibited within the state – there may be areas that are off-limits.

It’s important to plan your hunt for nighttime as these cats are most active during this period; plus they’re incredibly fast and agile so you should be ready for some speed if a pursuit becomes necessary. With proper planning, knowledge of regulations, and quick reflexes at hand – you’ll be able to take down those majestic creatures like an experienced hunter.

Hunting Mountain Lions in North Dakota

Mountain Lion Season

Season Dates
Zone 01 Early Season Sep 02 – Nov 20
Zone 02 Sep 02 – Mar 31
Zone 01 Late Season Nov 21 – Mar 31


Fox hunting in North Dakota is an unforgettable experience. With its meadows and woodlands, the terrain provides plenty of excitement for those seeking to track down their prey. The state’s wildlife diversity means you can expect to encounter deer, coyotes, and even wolves during your hunt.

North Dakota’s fox season typically runs from late October until March – a great time for hunters eager to use hounds, firearms, snares, or traps for their pursuit. If you prefer a more traditional method of tracking game, then still-hunting or stalking might be the route for you!

Fox Season

Season Dates
Fox Day Hunting and Traps Apr 01 – Mar 31
Fox Night Hunting Nov 20 – Mar 15
 Fox Cable Devices Nov 20 – Mar 15

Rabbit Season

Season Dates
Rabbit Jan 01 – Dec 31

Raccoon Season

Season Dates
Regular (All Legal Weapons) Apr 01 – Mar 31
Cable devices on land Nov 21 – Mar 15
Cable Devices within 50 ft. of water Mar 16 – May 10

Pronghorn Season

Hunting Pronghorns in North Dakota

Season Dates
Bow Sep 01 – Oct 05
Bow/Gun Oct 06 – Nov 25

Coyote Season

Season Dates
Day Hunting and Traps Apr 01 – Mar 31
Cable devices Nov 20 – Mar 15
Firearms Night Hunting Nov 20 – Mar 15

Squirrel Season

Season Dates
Tree Squirrel Season Sep 09 – Feb 29

Beaver Season

Season Dates
Regular Season Apr 01 – Mar 31
Cable devices on Land Nov 20 – Mar 15
Cable devices on land within 50 feet of water Mar 15 – May 10

Badger Season

Season Dates
Regular – Traps Apr 01 – Mar 31

Mink Season

Season Dates
Regular – Trapping Oct 22 – May 10
Regular – Legal Weapons Nov 21 – May 10

Muskrat Season

Season Dates
Regular – Trapping Oct 22 – May 10
Regular – Legal Weapons Nov 21 – May 10

Woodcock Season

Hunting Woodcocks in North Dakota

Season Dates
Regular Season Sep 23 – TBD

River Otter Season

Season Dates
Regular Season Nov 21 – TBD

Grouse Season

Season Dates
Ruffed Grouse Sep 09 – Jan 01
Sharp-tailed Grouse Sep 09 – Jan 01

Sandhill Crane Season

Species Dates
Sandhill Crane Sep 16 – Nov 12

Snipe Season

Species Dates
Wilson’s Snipe Sep 09 – Nov 12

Pheasant Season

Season Dates
Regular Oct 07 – TBD
Youth Sep 30 – TBD

Duck & Coot Season

Season Dates Units
Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 04 High Plains Unit
Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 04 Low Plains Unit
Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 04 High Plains Unit
Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 04 Low Plains Unit
Regular – Resident/Nonresident Dec 09 – Jan 01 High Plains Unit
Youth Waterfowl Sep 16 – Sep 17 Statewide
Veteran/Active Military Sep 16 – Sep 18 Statewide
Bonus Blue-winged Teal Sep 23 – Oct 09 Statewide

Merganser Season

Season Dates Units
Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 03 High Plains Unit
Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 03 Low Plains Unit
Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 03 High Plains Unit
Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 03 Low Plains Unit
Regular – Resident/Nonresident Dec 09 – Dec 31 High Plains Unit

Goose Season

Hunting Geese in North Dakota

Season Dates Zones
Canada Geese Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 16 Missouri River Zone
Canada Geese Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 21 Western Zone
Canada Geese Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 29 Eastern Zone
Canada Geese Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 29 Missouri River Zone
Canada Geese Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 21 Western Zone
Canada Geese Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 16 Eastern Zone
Canada Geese – August Management Take/Early September Season Aug 15 – Sep 07 Missouri River Zone
Canada Geese – August Management Take/Early September Season Aug 15 – Sep 15 Western Zone
Canada Geese – August Management Take/Early September Season Aug 15 – Sep 22 Eastern Zone
Light Geese Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 29 Statewide
Light Geese Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 29 Statewide
Light Geese – Spring Conservation Order Feb 18 – May 14 Statewide
White-fronted Geese Regular – Resident Sep 23 – Dec 03 Statewide
White-fronted Geese Regular – Nonresident Sep 30 – Dec 03 Statewide

Tundra Swan Season

Season Dates
Tundra Swan Sep 30 – Dec 31

North Dakota Hunting License Information

Hunting in North Dakota is a popular pastime for both residents and non-residents alike. But before you grab your rifle or bow, it’s essential to make sure you have the proper license. The state offers various types of licenses depending on the type of game and whether you’re a resident.

Residents need two main documents: a general game license and a habitat stamp (required for all hunters over 16). With these, they can hunt small game, upland birds, waterfowls, furbearers, and deer during designated seasons.

Non-residents must also obtain their own general game permit and an additional waterfowl license if hunting ducks are part of their plan. Plus, they need to enter into a deer gun/muzzleloader lottery tag system in order to legally hunt whitetails within North Dakota’s borders.

Certain species require extra permits like turkey hunters who will need an individual turkey permit while elk enthusiasts must get themselves an elk tag through the relevant lottery system first before going out after Bullwinkle!

You can purchase licenses online from the North Dakota Game & Fish Department website or at local vendors such as sporting goods stores or bait shops; though some may only be available seasonally so be sure to keep that in mind when planning ahead.

In North Dakota, a general game & habitat license costs $20 for both residents and non-residents. There are discounts available for senior/disabled/military licenses. 

Where Can You Hunt in North Dakota?

Hunt the wilds of North Dakota for a memorable experience. Take your pick from National Wildlife Refuges, like J. Clark Salyer, Lostwood, Des Lacs, and Audubon to get up close and personal with deer, waterfowl, upland birds, or even moose.

If you’re looking for a challenge, then try out one of the State Game Management Areas (GMAs) managed by the Game and Fish Department where pheasant, grouse, and other game await!

For big game hunters, there are also several designated Deer Gun Units throughout ND that offer amazing opportunities for sighting elk, mule deer, or pronghorn antelope in natural surroundings – Little Missouri National Grassland being one such spot.

Public Hunting Places in North Dakota

Little Missouri National Grassland

Hunting in Little Missouri National Grassland is a unique experience that lures adventurers from across the nation. Boasting over one million acres of diverse terrain, the area offers an abundance of wildlife such as mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.

Tracking down these majestic creatures requires skill and patience – but it’s worth it when you finally spot one! With its keen senses and elusive nature, hunting mule deer can be quite challenging; yet thrilling at the same time.

White-tailed deer also thrive here due to their ability to move swiftly through lush grasslands providing cover for them to roam freely. For those looking for even more excitement, there are opportunities to hunt elk and bighorn sheep with special permits or tags required for each species respectively.

Upland bird hunters will also appreciate this landscape which hosts several game birds including pheasants, grouse, and partridges offering exciting experiences throughout their stay in Little Missouri National Grassland.

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge

Located in the heart of Peace Garden State, Audubon National Wildlife Refuge is a 14,000-acre wildlife haven. From prairies to wetlands and woodlands, this unique refuge has something for everyone.

Waterfowl hunters can find mallards, pintails, teal, and Canada geese during the fall migration season from late September through early December. Those looking to hunt upland game birds will have plenty of opportunities with pheasant season running October through January and grouse season open from September until January as well.

The refuge also provides an ample population of white-tailed deer that are available for hunting throughout the year via both archery and firearm seasons set by the North Dakota Game & Fish Department. With so much diverse habitat on offer at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, it truly is a hunter’s dream come true.

Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge

Situated in the northwest corner of North Dakota, Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge is a 19,500-acre paradise for hunters. With its diverse habitats – including wetlands, grasslands, and woodlands, the refuge provides an ideal environment for all sorts of game species.

Big game hunters will not be disappointed either; white-tailed deer and mule deer wander the woods while elk seasonally roam the prairies with proper permits needed for moose hunting as well. And if you’re looking for small game like pheasants or grouse? They’ll be scattered throughout the brushy areas just waiting to take flight! Kindly note that waterfowl hunting is not allowed at Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge. 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Located in the wild Badlands of North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a mecca for hunters. An abundance of game species inhabits this pristine landscape, including bison, elk, and mule deer – all prized trophies that require skill and determination to capture.

Avid bird hunters can also enjoy their sport here with a wide variety of upland game birds like pheasants, grouse, and partridges living amongst the park’s grasslands and prairies.

Before starting on your hunt, be sure you are familiar with both state regulations from North Dakota as well as those set by the National Park Service – failure to comply could result in penalties or fines.

Most importantly remember to practice ethical hunting practices and respect nature’s bounty while keeping safety first, after all, it is about enjoying yourself too!

Private Hunting Places in North Dakota

Hunting in North Dakota has a lot to offer, with its wealth of private hunting lands providing unique and exclusive experiences for hunters. These lands can range from small family-owned farms to expansive ranches spanning thousands of acres – all offering an intimate hunting experience that’s hard to find elsewhere.

The best part is the limited number of hunters allowed at any one time, meaning less competition and more opportunities for successful hunts! You’ll also find plenty of game species throughout these properties; white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, pheasants, ducks, and geese are just some examples available here in ND.

However, it’s essential to follow the rules and regulations set by the private landowner. Remember, you are guests on their private lands and it’s your responsibility to leave a positive impression.