Duck Hunting Season Begins in North Dakota
by Doug Leier
Many hunters these days are bemoaning a downward population trend for deer and pheasants in North Dakota. On the other hand, for 2013 at least, duck and goose populations are in good shape and can provide opportunities that hunters may not want to overlook.
Opening day for North Dakota residents is September 21 for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. Non-residents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota on September 28. The season for swans also opens September 28 for both residents and non-residents.
Here’s a rundown of the 2013 nuts and bolts:
- Hunters may take six ducks per day with the following restrictions: five mallards of which two may be hens, three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two pintails and two canvasbacks. The daily limit of five mergansers may include no more than two hooded mergansers. For ducks and mergansers, the possession limit is three times the daily limit.
- The hunting season for Canada geese in the Missouri River zone will close December 27, while the remainder of the state will close December 21. The season for whitefronts closes December 1, while the season on light geese is open through December 29. Shooting hours for all geese are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through November 2. Beginning November 3, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.
- Extended shooting hours for all geese are permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Wednesdays through November 27, and on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from November 30 through the end of each season.
- The bag limit for Canada geese during the regular season is eight daily and 24 in possession, except in the Missouri River zone where the limit is five daily and 15 in possession.
- The daily limit on whitefronts is two with six in possession, and light goose is 50 daily, with no possession limit.
- Non-residents have the option of buying either a statewide waterfowl license or one with zone restrictions. Non-residents who designate zones 1 or 2 may hunt that zone for only one seven-day period during the season. Non-resident hunters who chose to hunt in zone 1 or 2 and wish to use the full 14 consecutive days allowed, must use the other seven days in zone 3. Hunters in zone 3 can hunt that zone the entire 14 days.
- State law doesn’t allow non-residents to hunt on North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open to Sportsmen) areas from October 12-18.
I should also point out that all migratory bird hunters, including waterfowl, must register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to hunting. Hunters purchasing a license from the Game and Fish Department can easily get a HIP number. Otherwise, hunters must call (888) 634-4798, or log on to the Game and Fish website, provide the registration information, and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate.
Those who HIP registered to hunt this spring’s light goose season or early fall Canada goose season do not have to register again, as it is required only once per year.
If you haven’t hunted waterfowl in years, now just might be a good time to get back in.
Leier is a biologist for the Game and Fish Department. He can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org