North Dakota’s waterfowl season opens for residents Sept. 23, while nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl Sept. 30.
The season for swans opens Sept. 30 for both residents and nonresidents who have purchased a swan license.
Hunters may take six ducks, including mergansers, per day with the following restrictions: five mallards of which two may be hens, three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasbacks, one scaup and one pintail. Mergansers are included in the total duck limit with no species restrictions. Hunters can take two additional blue-winged teal Sept. 23 through Oct. 8.
The hunting season for Canada geese will close Dec. 16 in the eastern zone, Dec. 21 in the western zone and Dec. 29 in the Missouri River zone. The season for whitefronts closes Dec. 3, while the season for light geese is open through Dec. 29.
Shooting hours for all geese are one-half hour before sunrise to 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 the end of each season. Starting Nov. 26, all day hunting is also allowed on Sundays 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 three with nine in possession, and light geese have a daily limit of 50 with no possession limit.
In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation Private Land Open To Sportsmen areas from Oct. 7-13, with the exception of nonresidents hunting on PLOTS land they own.
Hunters who do not HIP certify when they buy a North Dakota license can add it through the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. Those who registered to hunt North Dakota’s spring light goose season or August Management Take/Early September Canada goose season do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required in each state only once per year.
Hunters should refer to the North Dakota 2023-24 Hunting and Trapping Guide for further details on the waterfowl season.
Waterfowl Hunters and ANS Regulations
Waterfowl hunters should do their part in preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species into or within North Dakota.
Hunters must remove aquatic plants and plant fragments from decoys, strings and anchors; remove aquatic plant seeds and plant fragments from waders and other equipment before leaving hunting areas; remove all water from decoys, boats, motors, trailers and other watercraft; and remove all aquatic plants from boats and trailers before leaving a marsh or lake. In addition, hunters are encouraged to brush their hunting dogs free of mud and seeds.
Cattails and bulrushes may be transported as camouflage on boats. All other aquatic vegetation must be cleaned from boats prior to transportation into or within North Dakota.
Drain plugs on boats must remain pulled when a boat is in transit away from a water body.
In addition, hunters are reminded of a state law that requires motorized watercraft, including motorized duck boats, operated on state waters and not licensed in North Dakota, to display an ANS sticker, including an ANS fee of $15 to be paid each calendar year.
For more ANS information, including regulations, or to purchase the ANS sticker, visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
Hunting from Duck Boats
Waterfowlers hunting from boats are encouraged to wear properly fitted life jackets while on the water.
Hunting coats with life jackets built in are light and comfortable to wear. In addition, wearing a life jacket will not only keep the overboard hunter afloat, but also slow the loss of critical body heat caused by exposure to cold water.
Capsizing and falling overboard from small boats are the most common types of fatal boating accidents for hunters.
Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest
The deadline for submitting entries in the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Oct. 2.
The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.
Photographers should go to the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov/photo-contest. Then it is a matter of providing some pertinent information about the photo and uploading it. Doing so helps both with ease of submitting photos for the photographer and managing those images for department staff.
Contestants are limited to five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.
By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS, the department’s website and social media channels.