Published August 25, 2022

ND Game & Fish News

Written by
The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

Big Game Transport Rules 

Big game hunters should note requirements for transporting deer, elk and moose carcasses and carcass parts into and within North Dakota, as a precaution against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease. 

Hunters are prohibited from transporting into or within North Dakota the whole carcass of deer, elk, moose or other members of the cervid family harvested outside of North Dakota.  

In addition, hunters harvesting a white-tailed deer or mule deer from deer hunting units 3A1, 3A2, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3E2, 3F2, 4B and 4C, a moose from moose hunting units M10 and M11, or an elk from elk hunting units E2 and E6, cannot transport the whole carcass outside the unit. However, hunters can transport the whole carcass between adjoining CWD carcass restricted units. 

North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game wardens will be enforcing all CWD transportation laws. 

Hunters are encouraged to plan accordingly and be prepared to quarter a carcass, cape out an animal, or clean a skull in the field, or find a taxidermist or meat locker within the unit or state to assist. 

Game and Fish maintains several freezers throughout the region for submitting heads for CWD testing, beginning Sept. 1. 

For questions about how to comply with this regulation, hunters should contact a district game warden or other department staff ahead of the planned hunt. 

The following lower-risk portions of the carcass can be transported: 

  • Meat boned out. 
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached. 
  • Meat cut and wrapped either commercially or privately. 
  • Hides with no heads attached. 
  • Skull plates with antlers attached and no hide or brain tissue present. 
  • Intact skulls with no visible brain or spinal cord tissue present that has the eyes, lower jaw, tongue, salivary glands, tonsils and lymph nodes removed. 
  • Antlers separated from the skull plate. 
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers or ivories. 
  • Finished taxidermy heads. 
  • Lymph nodes extracted from the head for CWD testing contained within a sealed, plastic bag. 

There is an exception to the regulation that reads “a deer carcass or boned-out meat must be accompanied by the head to the final place of storage.” The exception is: Tag the deer as required, then take two photographs using a cellphone with location, date and time stamp turned on. One photograph of the entire animal at the kill site with tag attached, and a second photograph of a closeup of the tag so that the tag information is readable. If a hunter leaves the head in the field at the kill site, after taking photos and saving them, the ear or antler with the tag attached must be cut off and accompany the meat or carcass while in transport. The photographs of the tagged deer must be shown to any game warden or other law enforcement officer upon request. 

Hunters Reminded of Baiting Restrictions 

It is unlawful to hunt big game over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, in deer units 1, 2B, 3A1, 3A2, 3A3, 3A4, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.  

The restriction is in place to help slow the spread of chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked.  

In addition, hunting big game over bait or baiting for any purpose is prohibited on all Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas. Hunting big game over bait is also prohibited on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, U.S. Forest Service national grasslands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands, and all North Dakota state trust, state park and state forest service lands. 

More information on CWD can be found at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. 

Deer Archery Season Opens Sept. 2 

North Dakota’s deer bow season opens Friday, Sept. 2 at noon and continues through Jan. 1, 2023. 

Bowhunters can buy a license online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or at vendors linked to the department’s online licensing system

Hunters should plan accordingly and allow for time to receive their tag in the mail, as the tag will arrive by postal mail and not over the counter while the customer waits. This applies while purchasing a bow license at a license vendor, or at the Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck. The bow tag will be mailed the next business day after the license is purchased. 

All archery hunters must have a bow tag in possession before hunting. 

Bowhunters must follow all regulations of the managing agency when using tree stands, ground blinds and game cameras on public hunting areas, including displaying an equipment registration number, or the owner's name, address and telephone number, on all equipment left unattended on Game and Fish wildlife management areas. 

In addition, hunting big game over bait is prohibited on both public and private land in deer hunting units 1, 2B, 3A1, 3A2, 3A3, 3A4, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. 

Hunters should refer to the 2022 deer hunting guide for season information and regulations.   

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