Spring Turkey Hunting Season Overview

    Hunting Hours: Understanding Daily Time Frames

    Hunting hours are a crucial aspect of planning any hunting trip. For the specified hunting period, the hours extend from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset each day. This time frame provides hunters with the opportunity to utilize the early morning and late afternoon hours, which are often the most productive times for wildlife activity.

    • Morning Start: 30 minutes before sunrise
    • Evening End: Sunset

    Eligibility Criteria for North Dakota Hunting Licenses

    Hunter Education Requirement

    • Applicable Individuals: Persons born after December 31, 1961.
    • Requirement: Completion of a certified state or provincial hunter education course.
    • Proof: Presentation of a hunter education number to the license vendor.
    • Exceptions:
      • Landowners: Individuals hunting only on land they own or operate.
      • Minors: Persons under age 12, with conditions.
        • Minors under 12 may hunt if they possess the appropriate license.
        • They must be under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian.
    • Apprentice Hunter Validation:
      • For individuals 12 years and older without hunter education.
      • Enables hunting of small game for one license year.
      • Contact the Game and Fish Department for more information.

    Minimum Age Requirement for Spring Turkey Hunters

    • Minimum Age: None specified.
    • Supervision Requirement for Minors:
      • Hunters under age 15 with firearms must be under direct supervision.
      • Supervisor: Parent, guardian, or an adult authorized by the parent or guardian.

    Licenses

    Overview of Hunting Licenses in North Dakota

    When hunting in North Dakota, it's crucial to understand the different types of hunting licenses and their specific requirements. These licenses include:

    1. Standard License Requirements:

      • All hunters must carry their licenses, either in paper or electronic format.
      • Licenses must be presented immediately to game wardens or law enforcement officers upon request.
    2. Youth Licenses:

      • First-time spring turkey hunters aged 15 or younger are eligible for a special youth license.
      • This license is valid in any open hunting unit.
    3. Regular Hunting Licenses:

      • Regular licenses are allocated through a weighted lottery system.
      • The total number of available licenses is reduced by the number of gratis licenses issued.
    4. Gratis Licenses:

      • Exclusive to North Dakota residents who own or lease (for agricultural purposes) at least 150 acres in an open hunting unit.
      • Applicants must be actively farming or ranching the land.
      • These licenses are only valid on the land specified in the application.
    5. Additional License Requirements:

      • All hunters need a 2024-25 fishing, hunting, and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license.
      • Hunters aged 16 and above also require a small game license or a combination license.
      • Holders of gratis licenses are exempt from some of these additional requirements.
    6. Hunting on North Dakota Indian Reservations:

      • Hunting exclusively on Indian lands within a reservation requires a tribal license, and a state hunting license is not necessary.
      • For hunting on nontribal lands within a reservation, a state hunting license is mandatory.
      • Game legally taken with a tribal license can be possessed and transported throughout North Dakota.

    Bag Limit

    Understanding the Bag Limit for Wild Turkey Hunting in North Dakota

    When hunting wild turkeys in North Dakota, it's important to be aware of the specific bag limit regulations to ensure legal and ethical hunting practices. Here are the key points:

    1. One Bird Per License Rule:

      • Each licensed hunter is permitted to take and possess one bearded or male wild turkey.
      • This rule applies per individual license held by the hunter.
    2. Prohibition of Party Hunting:

      • Party hunting, where one hunter kills a game for another's bag limit, is strictly prohibited.
      • Hunters must adhere to their own bag limits and cannot combine or share them with other members of a hunting party.
    3. Legal Implications:

      • Violating the bag limit regulations can lead to legal consequences, including fines and potential revocation of hunting privileges.
      • It's crucial for hunters to understand and respect these limits to maintain sustainable hunting practices and support wildlife conservation efforts.
    4. Ethical Considerations:

      • Respecting bag limits is not only a legal requirement but also an ethical obligation for responsible hunters.
      • Ethical hunting practices contribute to the health and balance of the wildlife population and the ecosystem.

    Wild Turkey Identification

    North Dakota Turkey Hunting Laws & Regulations

    Recognizing Legal Targets for Wild Turkey Hunting

    For hunters in areas where wild turkey hunting is permitted, correctly identifying legal targets is crucial. Here's a detailed overview:

    1. Legal Definition of a Bearded Turkey:

      • The primary criterion for a legally huntable wild turkey is the presence of a beard, which is typically found in male turkeys.
      • However, it's important to note that some female (hen) turkeys can also grow beards.
      • According to the legal definition, bearded hen turkeys are also considered legal game.
    2. Understanding Turkey Beards:

      • A beard on a turkey is a cluster of modified feathers that protrude from the chest area.
      • In male turkeys, these beards are more common and generally longer.
      • In females, beard growth is less common and often shorter, but it still qualifies them as legal game.

    Tagging Requirements

    Essential Procedures for Tagging Wild Turkeys in North Dakota

    Adhering to tagging requirements is a crucial part of legal and responsible turkey hunting. Here's a comprehensive guide to ensure compliance:

    1. Immediate Tagging After Harvest:

      • As soon as a turkey is taken, the hunter is required to mark the date of the kill.
      • This involves cutting out the appropriate month and day from the tag that comes with the hunting license.
    2. Correct Attachment of the Tag:

      • The tag must be attached around the turkey's leg.
      • It's important to follow the exact method illustrated on the license to secure the tag properly and prevent its removal.
    3. Legal Possession and Transport:

      • It is illegal to possess or transport a turkey unless it is correctly tagged.
      • Ensuring the turkey is tagged in accordance with the regulations is necessary before moving it from the hunting site.
    4. Tag Retention with the Carcass:

      • The tag must remain attached to the turkey carcass until it is processed for food.
      • This ensures traceability and legal compliance throughout the handling of the game.
    5. Prohibition on Tag Reuse:

      • Reusing or attempting to reuse any issued tag is strictly prohibited.
      • Each tag is for single use only, corresponding to the specific turkey it was issued for.
    6. Meat Tag Requirements:

      • The meat tag must stay with the edible flesh during transportation.
      • It should remain until the turkey is processed and packaged as food.

    Firearms and Archery Equipment

    Guidelines for Hunting Wild Turkeys with Firearms and Bows in North Dakota

    Understanding the legal requirements for firearms and archery equipment is essential for hunters. Here's a detailed breakdown:

    1. Firearms Regulations:

      • Legal Firearms: Only shotguns (including muzzleloading shotguns) no larger than 10 gauge are legal. These shotguns must be capable of holding no more than three shells in the magazine and chamber.
      • Barrel Length: The minimum barrel length for shotguns is 18 inches.
      • Prohibitions: Fully automatic firearms are illegal for hunting turkeys.
    2. Bow and Arrow Specifications:

      • Bow Operation: Bows must be pulled, held, and released by hand. Any hand-operated release aid is allowed, provided the shooter supports the bow's draw weight.
      • Compound Bows: For hunting turkeys, compound bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds at 28 inches or less draw length.
      • Recurve and Long Bows: These bows must also have at least 35 pounds of draw at 28 inches.
      • Arrows: They must be at least 24 inches long, tipped with a metal broadhead with at least two sharp cutting edges, and a cutting diameter of at least 3/4 inch. Barbed arrows and arrows causing excessive damage (like explosive tips or chemical-tipped arrows) are prohibited.
      • Optics and Electronic Aids: Telescopic sights, electronic sights, and other electronic devices on bows or arrows are not allowed. Lighted nocks and handheld range finding devices are permitted.
    3. Other Restrictions:

      • Prohibited Firearms: Centerfire, rimfire, and muzzleloading rifles, and handguns are not legal for hunting wild turkeys.
      • Crossbows: They are illegal unless permitted by the Game and Fish director.
      • Intoxication: It is illegal to hunt with a firearm or bow while intoxicated.
      • National Parks: Firearms must be unloaded and encased within national park boundaries.
      • Hunting Near Buildings: Hunting within 440 yards of any occupied building without consent is illegal, except on neighboring land.
      • Trail Cameras: They require written permission on private property, and must be registered or labeled with the owner's details.

    Posting and Trespass

    Regulations for Posting Land and Trespassing in North Dakota

    For hunters in North Dakota, respecting property rights and understanding trespass laws are fundamental. Here are the crucial details:

    1. Land Posting Rules:

      • Authorization: Only the landowner, tenant, or an authorized individual can post land either electronically or with physical signs to prohibit hunting.
      • Signage Requirements: Each physical sign must have the name of the person posting the land in legible characters. Signs must be readable from outside the property and conspicuously placed no more than 880 yards apart.
      • Enclosed Land: For land entirely enclosed by a fence or other structures, posting signs at all gates suffices for the entire enclosed area.
    2. Trespassing Laws:

      • Hunting on Posted Lands: Hunting on posted lands without permission is illegal and can lead to at least a one-year suspension of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges.
      • Legal Enforcement: Prosecution can occur for hunting on posted land without permission, even if the land isn’t posted precisely as per the law.
      • Recovering Game: Individuals may enter posted land (without firearms or bows) to retrieve game shot or killed on land where they had lawful hunting rights.
    3. Additional Restrictions:

      • Unharvested Crops: Hunting in unharvested cereal and oilseed crops, including specific grasses grown for seed, without the landowner's consent is illegal.
      • Protection of Posting Signs: It is unlawful to deface, remove, or destroy posting signs.
      • Gate Management: Failing to close gates upon entry or exit is a criminal offense that could result in the forfeiture of hunting licenses.

    Areas Closed to Hunting

    Restrictions on Hunting in Specific Federal and State Properties in North Dakota

    Understanding which areas are off-limits for hunting is crucial for legal and responsible hunting practices. Here's a guide to areas closed to wild turkey hunting:

    1. General Closed Areas:

      • Federal and State Properties: Refuges, sanctuaries, military installations, parks, and historic sites that are posted as "no trespassing" or "no hunting" are generally closed to hunting.
      • Exceptions: Specific National Wildlife Refuges may allow turkey hunting during the spring season, but it's important to check with the refuge headquarters for exact details.
    2. School Trust Lands:

      • Access: These lands are open to nonvehicular public access, including hunting, unless they are posted with signs from the ND Department of Trust Lands.
      • Trails: Only trails marked with Game and Fish Department trail markers are established for public use on Department of Trust Lands.
    3. ND Department of Trust Lands Website:

      • Hunters are advised to visit this website for comprehensive and updated information about hunting on these lands.
    4. Hunting Near Closed Areas:

      • Boundary Awareness: When hunting near the boundaries of closed areas, it’s important to be familiar with the area and any specific retrieval restrictions.
      • Legal Compliance: Hunters must ensure they are not inadvertently hunting in closed areas, as this could lead to legal consequences.
    5. Retrieval Restrictions:

      • There may be specific rules about retrieving game from or near closed areas, so hunters should familiarize themselves with these restrictions to avoid legal issues.

    Transportation

    Guidelines for Transporting Wild Turkeys in North Dakota

    For hunters transporting their harvest, understanding the legal requirements for transportation of wild turkeys is essential. Here are the key points:

    1. Accompaniment by License Holder:

      • The individual who holds the hunting license must accompany their wild turkey during transportation.
      • This rule ensures accountability and compliance with hunting regulations.
    2. Shipping Exceptions:

      • In cases where personal accompaniment is not feasible, wild turkeys may be shipped via a licensed public carrier.
      • Proper documentation, such as a bill of lading, is required for this method of transport.
      • This exception allows for legal and regulated transportation of the turkey without the direct presence of the license holder.

    Hunting Over Bait

    Regulations Prohibiting the Use of Bait in Certain Areas in North Dakota

    In North Dakota, strict rules govern the use of bait for hunting. Here's an overview of the key regulations:

    1. Prohibition on Wildlife Management Areas:

      • The placement of bait is not permitted on Department wildlife management areas.
      • This includes any bait used for attracting game for hunting purposes.
    2. Definition of Bait:

      • Bait includes, but is not limited to, grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay, and other natural or manufactured foods.
      • Understanding what constitutes bait is crucial to avoid unintentional violations.
    3. Additional Areas Where Baiting is Prohibited:

      • Hunting over bait is also forbidden on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas.
      • This rule extends to U.S. Forest Service national grasslands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands, North Dakota state trust lands, state parks, and state forest service lands.
    4. Purpose of the Regulation:

      • These regulations are designed to promote fair chase principles and prevent the concentration of game in specific areas, which can lead to overhunting and disease transmission among wildlife.

    Licenses Available by Unit

    Distribution of Spring Turkey Hunting Licenses Across Units in North Dakota

    Understanding the allocation of spring turkey hunting licenses across different units in North Dakota is crucial for planning your hunting season. Here's a detailed breakdown:

    1. Unit-Specific License Availability:

      • The distribution of licenses across units varies, with some units offering more licenses than others based on wildlife management considerations.
      • For example, Unit 02 has 275 licenses available, while Unit 31 offers 100 licenses.
    2. Closed and Limited Availability Units:

      • Some units have limited availability, like Unit 40 with only 50 licenses, while others like Unit 21 are closed for the season.
      • This variability is likely due to population control and conservation efforts.
    3. Total License Count:

      • The total number of spring turkey licenses available across all units is 7,405.
      • This figure represents the overall hunting opportunities in the state for the season.
    4. Special Licenses by the National Wild Turkey Federation:

      • An additional three licenses are raffled or auctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
      • These special licenses are valid in any open unit, and the proceeds are used for wild turkey conservation in North Dakota.
    5. Licenses for Youth with Cancer or Life-Threatening Illnesses:

      • Four additional licenses are provided to the Outdoor Adventure Foundation.
      • These are specifically for youth who have cancer or a life-threatening illness, emphasizing the integration of compassionate considerations in wildlife management.

    Aircraft and Motor-Driven Vehicles

    Regulations on the Use of Aircraft and Motor-Driven Vehicles for Hunting Turkeys in North Dakota

    For hunters in North Dakota, understanding the regulations regarding the use of aircraft and motor-driven vehicles is crucial. Here's a comprehensive overview:

    1. Aircraft Restrictions:

      • Aircraft cannot be used to drive, concentrate, rally, raise, stir up, spot, or disturb game.
      • This restriction is in place to maintain fair chase principles and prevent undue stress on wildlife.
    2. Motor-Driven Vehicle Limitations:

      • Using motor-driven vehicles to pursue game is prohibited.
      • Shooting from a motor-driven vehicle, either with a bow and arrow or a firearm, is illegal.
    3. Firearm Transportation in Vehicles:

      • Carrying a firearm in or on a motor-driven vehicle with a shell in the chamber is illegal, unless specifically authorized.
      • For revolvers, the entire cylinder must be unloaded.
      • Muzzleloaders must not have a percussion cap or primer on the nipple, or powder in the flash pan, while in or on a vehicle.
    4. Usage of Motor-Driven Vehicles for Hunting:

      • These vehicles can only be used on established roads or trails.
      • Exceptions exist for persons with a special disability permit and for landowners or lessees (or those with written permission from them) who can use vehicles off-road, except during deer gun season.
    5. Restrictions on Wildlife Management and Conservation Areas:

      • Motor-driven vehicles are not allowed off established roads and trails on state wildlife management areas, federal waterfowl production areas, and other restricted zones.
      • Established roads or trails do not include temporary trails made for agricultural purposes.
    6. North Dakota Game and Fish Department Conservation PLOTS:

      • Motor-driven vehicles are prohibited on these properties without landowner permission.
      • These lands, identifiable by large yellow triangular signs, are designated for walking access only as part of agreements with private landowners.

    Road Rights of Way

    Guidelines for Hunting on Road Rights of Way in North Dakota

    For hunters navigating the legalities of hunting near roads, understanding the rules about road rights of way is essential. Here's what you need to know:

    1. Public Use Uncertainty:

      • Hunters should not assume that road rights of way are automatically open for hunting.
      • Before hunting in these areas, it's crucial to verify that they are indeed open to public use.
    2. Control by Adjacent Landowners:

      • In most cases, the road rights of way are under the control of the landowner adjacent to the road.
      • This means the legality of hunting on these rights of way often depends on the status of the adjacent land.
    3. Impact of Posting:

      • If the adjacent land is posted as closed to hunting, then the road rights of way are typically also closed to hunting.
      • This policy helps to respect the rights of landowners and enforce private property laws.

    Indian Reservations

    Contacting Tribal Offices for Hunting Information in North Dakota

    When planning to hunt in areas within Indian reservations, it's crucial to gather specific information and adhere to the regulations set by the tribal authorities. Here are the contact details for tribal offices in various reservations:

    1. Fort Berthold Reservation:

      • Contact the Game and Fish Department for hunting regulations and permissions.
      • Address: 404 Frontage Road, New Town, ND 58763
      • Phone: 701-627-4760
    2. Standing Rock Reservation:

      • The Game and Fish Department at Standing Rock can provide necessary information for hunters.
      • Address: Box 549, Fort Yates, ND 58538
      • Phone: 701-854-7236
    3. Turtle Mountain Reservation:

      • The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for hunting-related inquiries and permissions.
      • Address: Box 570, Belcourt, ND 58316
      • Phone: 701-477-2604
    4. Spirit Lake Reservation:

      • Contact the Fish and Wildlife Department for details on hunting regulations.
      • Address: Box 359, Fort Totten, ND 58335
      • Phone: 701-766-1243

    Map of Open Hunting Units

    North Dakota Turkey Hunting Laws & Regulations

    Description of Open Hunting Units in North Dakota

    For hunters planning their turkey hunting trips in North Dakota, understanding the geographical distribution of the hunting units is key. Here's a detailed description of each open hunting unit:

    1. Unit 02:

      • Includes Barnes County, Cass County, Griggs County, Steele County, and Traill County.
    2. Unit 03:

      • Covers Benson County, eastern Pierce County (east of ND Highway 3 and south of ND Highway 17), and Ramsey County.
      • Note: Special permit and restrictions apply for hunting in Graham’s Island State Park.
    3. Unit 04:

      • Comprises portions of Billings and Golden Valley counties south of I-94.
    4. Unit 06:

      • Encompasses Bowman County.
    5. Unit 13:

      • Consists of Dunn County.
    6. Unit 17:

      • Covers portions of Billings and Golden Valley counties north of I-94.
    7. Unit 19:

      • Includes Grant County, Sioux County, and specific parts of Morton County.
    8. Unit 21:

      • Hettinger County and Adams County. (Note: This unit is closed.)
    9. Unit 25:

      • Covers McHenry County, western Pierce County, and eastern Ward County.
    10. Unit 27:

      • Comprises McKenzie County.
    11. Unit 30:

      • Includes Morton County, with specific exclusions.
    12. Unit 31:

      • Encompasses Mountrail County.
    13. Unit 37:

      • Covers Dickey County, LaMoure County, Logan County, McIntosh County, Ransom County, Richland County, and Sargent County.
    14. Unit 40:

      • Includes Rolette County, and parts of Bottineau, Renville, and Pierce counties.
    15. Unit 44:

      • Consists of Slope County.
    16. Unit 45:

      • Comprises Stark County.
    17. Unit 47:

      • Includes Eddy County, Foster County, Kidder County, Sheridan County, Stutsman County, and Wells County.
    18. Unit 50:

      • Covers Cavalier County, Grand Forks County, Nelson County, Pembina County, Towner County, and Walsh County.
    19. Unit 51:

      • Encompasses Burke County, parts of Renville, Bottineau, and Ward counties.
    20. Unit 53:

      • Comprises Williams County and Divide County.
    21. Unit 98:

      • Includes Burleigh County, Emmons County, and McLean County.
    22. Unit 99:

      • Covers Mercer County and Oliver County.

    Fall Season Overview

    Key Regulations for Fall Turkey Hunting in North Dakota

    For a successful and legal turkey hunting experience in North Dakota, hunters need to adhere to specific restrictions and hunting hours. Here are the details:

    1. Season and Unit Restrictions:

      • Hunters are restricted to the fall season dates as specified on their licenses.
      • Additionally, hunting is limited to the specific unit(s) described on the license, emphasizing the need for adherence to designated areas and times.
    2. Hunting Hours:

      • Legal hunting hours begin 30 minutes before sunrise and extend until sunset.
      • This time frame provides a clear guideline for when hunting activities are allowed, ensuring both safety and legal compliance.

    Eligibility

    Criteria for Participating in Turkey Hunting in North Dakota

    For those interested in turkey hunting in North Dakota, understanding the eligibility requirements is crucial. Here’s a breakdown of the key criteria:

    1. Residency Requirements:

      • First Lottery: Initially, only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a hunting license in the first lottery.
      • Nonresident Eligibility: If licenses remain post the first lottery, state law permits nonresidents to apply.
    2. Hunter Education Requirement:

      • General Rule: Individuals born after December 31, 1961, must complete a certified hunter education course to purchase a North Dakota hunting license.
      • Exceptions:
        • Landowners hunting on their own land.
        • Children under age 12, though they can hunt with an appropriate license under parental or guardian supervision.
        • Individuals 12 years and older without hunter education can receive an apprentice hunter validation for one license year, allowing them to hunt small game.
    3. Minimum Age for Hunting:

      • There is no minimum age set for hunting turkeys in North Dakota.
      • However, hunters under age 15 using firearms must be under direct supervision of a parent, guardian, or an adult authorized by the parent or guardian.

    Licenses

    Overview of Licensing for Turkey Hunting in North Dakota

    For hunters planning to engage in turkey hunting in North Dakota, understanding the licensing process and requirements is essential. Here’s a detailed guide:

    1. General Licenses:

      • Issuance Process: Licenses are allocated through a weighted lottery system.
      • Allocation: The total number of available licenses is reduced by the number of gratis licenses issued.
    2. Gratis Licenses:

      • Eligibility: Available to North Dakota residents who own or lease at least 150 acres for agricultural purposes in an open hunting unit.
      • Usage: These licenses are valid only on the land described in the application and the license itself.
      • Purpose: To provide hunting opportunities for landowners actively involved in farming or ranching.
    3. Additional License Requirements:

      • General Game and Habitat License: Required for all hunters, regardless of age.
      • Small Game or Combination License: Resident hunters aged 16 and older must have one of these licenses before hunting wild turkeys.
      • Exemptions: Holders of gratis licenses are exempt from some of these additional requirements.

    Hunting Over Bait

    Regulations Prohibiting Bait Use for Hunting in North Dakota

    In North Dakota, there are specific regulations regarding the use of bait for hunting purposes. Understanding these is crucial for legal and ethical hunting practices. Here's a comprehensive overview:

    1. Bait Placement Restrictions:

      • Placing bait for any purpose is prohibited on Department wildlife management areas.
      • This includes any material used to attract wildlife to a specific location for hunting.
    2. Definition of Bait:

      • Baits encompass a wide range of materials, such as grains, seeds, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay, and other natural or manufactured foods.
      • Knowing what constitutes bait is essential to avoid unintentional rule violations.
    3. Prohibited Areas for Hunting Over Bait:

      • Hunting over bait is not permitted on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas.
      • This rule extends to U.S. Forest Service national grasslands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands, and all North Dakota state trust lands, state parks, and state forest service lands.
    4. Purpose of the Regulation:

      • These regulations aim to promote ethical hunting practices by ensuring fair chase.
      • They also help in preventing the unnatural concentration of wildlife, which can lead to increased disease transmission and ecological imbalances.

    Bag Limit

    Regulations on Bag Limits for Turkey Hunting in North Dakota

    For those engaged in turkey hunting in North Dakota, understanding the bag limit is crucial. Here’s what you need to know:

    1. Limit Per License:

      • Each license holder is entitled to take and possess one wild turkey of any sex or age per license.
      • This rule ensures that each hunter is responsible for their own harvest.
    2. Maximum Number of Licenses:

      • A hunter may not exceed five licenses in total.
      • This limit helps manage the turkey population sustainably.
    3. Prohibition of Party Hunting:

      • Party hunting, where hunters share or combine their bag limits, is strictly prohibited.
      • Each hunter must adhere to their individual bag limit.

    Tagging Requirements

    Essential Procedures for Tagging Turkeys in North Dakota

    Proper tagging of turkeys is a mandatory part of legal and responsible hunting in North Dakota. Here’s a detailed guide on the tagging process:

    1. Immediate Action After Harvest:

      • As soon as a turkey is taken, the hunter must indicate the date of kill.
      • This involves cutting out the appropriate month and day from the tag provided with the hunting license.
    2. Attaching the Tag:

      • The tag must be securely attached around the turkey's leg to prevent removal.
      • This step is crucial for legal possession and transportation of the harvested turkey.
    3. Legal Possession and Transport:

      • It is illegal to possess or transport a turkey unless it is properly tagged.
      • Hunters must ensure the turkey is tagged immediately after the harvest for compliance.
    4. Retention of Meat Tag:

      • The meat tag must stay with the edible flesh during transportation and until the turkey is processed and packaged as food.
      • This requirement ensures traceability and legal compliance throughout the handling of the game.
    5. Prohibition on Tag Reuse:

      • Reusing or attempting to reuse any issued tag is strictly prohibited.
      • Each tag is meant for a single use and is specific to the individual turkey it was issued for.

    Transportation

    Guidelines for Transporting Wild Turkeys in North Dakota

    For hunters in North Dakota, adhering to the legal requirements for the transportation of wild turkeys is essential. Here are the key points:

    1. Accompaniment by License Holder:

      • The individual who holds the hunting license must personally accompany their wild turkey during transportation.
      • This rule ensures accountability and compliance with hunting regulations.
    2. Shipping Option:

      • As an exception, wild turkeys may be shipped via a licensed public carrier.
      • Proper documentation, such as a bill of lading, is required for this method of transport.
      • This provision allows for the legal and regulated transportation of the turkey without the direct presence of the license holder.

    Firearms and Archery Equipment

    Regulations for Hunting Equipment in North Dakota

    Understanding the legal requirements for firearms and archery equipment is crucial for turkey hunters in North Dakota. Here’s a comprehensive overview:

    1. Shotguns:

      • Legal shotguns are limited to 10 gauge or smaller and must be capable of holding no more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
      • The minimum barrel length is 18 inches.
      • Fully automatic firearms are illegal.
    2. Rifles:

      • Only muzzleloading long guns are legal for hunting wild turkeys.
      • Centerfire and rimfire rifles are not permitted.
    3. Bows and Arrows:

      • Bows must be hand-pulled, held, and released.
      • Release aids are permissible if hand-operated and not attached to the bow other than at the bowstring.
      • Compound bows require a minimum of 35 pounds of draw at 28 inches or less draw length; the same draw weight applies to recurve and long bows.
      • Arrows must be at least 24 inches long, tipped with metal broadheads (minimum cutting diameter of 3/4 inch), and cannot be barbed. Mechanical or retractable broadheads are allowed.
      • Telescopic sights, electronic devices, and other range-finding aids attached to the bow or arrow are prohibited, except for lighted nocks and non-aiding recording devices. Handheld range-finding devices are permitted.
      • Arrows with features causing excessive damage (like explosive tips) are illegal.
    4. Handguns:

      • Legal handguns must be .35 caliber or larger with a barrel length of 4 inches or more.
    5. Other Restrictions:

      • Crossbows require a special permit, obtainable from the Game and Fish director.
      • Intoxication while carrying a firearm or bow and arrow is illegal.
      • Firearms must be unloaded and encased within national parks.
      • Hunting within 440 yards of an occupied building without consent is illegal, with certain exceptions.
      • Trail cameras on private property require written permission and proper identification.

    Aircraft and Motor-Driven Vehicles

    Regulations on the Use of Aircraft and Vehicles for Turkey Hunting in North Dakota

    For turkey hunting in North Dakota, it's important to understand the regulations regarding the use of aircraft and motor-driven vehicles. Here's an in-depth look:

    1. Aircraft Restrictions:

      • Both manned and unmanned aircraft are prohibited from being used to drive, concentrate, rally, raise, stir up, or disturb game.
      • This regulation ensures fair chase hunting and prevents disturbance to wildlife.
    2. Motor-Driven Vehicle Limitations:

      • Using motor-driven vehicles to pursue game is not allowed.
      • Shooting from a motor-driven vehicle, with either a bow and arrow or a firearm, is illegal.
    3. Firearm Transportation in Vehicles:

      • Carrying a firearm with a cartridge in the chamber in or on a motor-driven vehicle while hunting turkeys is prohibited, unless specifically authorized.
      • The entire cylinder of a revolver is considered the chamber, so it must be completely unloaded.
      • For handguns with removable magazines or clips containing loaded shells, the magazine or clip must be removed from the firearm.
    4. Use of Motor-Driven Vehicles in Hunting:

      • They are restricted to established roads or trails, except for persons with a special disability permit or landowners/lessees (or those with permission) who can use vehicles off-road, excluding deer gun season.
      • This restriction applies to hunting activities, including travel to and from hunting locations.
    5. Restrictions in Specific Areas:

      • Use of motor-driven vehicles off established roads and trails is not allowed on state wildlife management areas, federal waterfowl production areas, and other restricted zones.
      • Established roads or trails do not include temporary trails made for agricultural purposes.
    6. North Dakota Game and Fish Department Conservation PLOTS:

      • Motor-driven vehicles are prohibited on these properties without landowner permission.
      • These lands are designated for walking access only, as indicated by large yellow triangular signs.

    Areas Closed to Hunting

    Understanding Restrictions on Hunting in Certain Areas in North Dakota

    For hunters in North Dakota, it's essential to be aware of areas where hunting is restricted or prohibited. Here’s a detailed guide:

    1. Federal and State Properties:

      • Refuges, sanctuaries, military installations, parks, and historic sites that are posted with "no trespassing" or "no hunting" signs are closed to hunting wild turkeys.
      • These areas are protected to maintain wildlife habitats and respect historical and military sites.
    2. Hunting Near Closed Areas:

      • When hunting near the boundaries of closed areas, it’s important to know any retrieval restrictions.
      • This includes understanding the limits of where hunters can retrieve game without trespassing into restricted zones.
    3. School Trust Lands:

      • These lands are generally open to nonvehicular public access, including hunting, unless they are posted with signs from the ND Department of Trust Lands.
      • Hunters should look for specific trail markers from the Game and Fish Department to identify established trails open for public use.
      • Additional information can be found on the ND Department of Trust Lands hunting page at www.land.nd.gov/public-access-information.

    Posting and Trespass

    Regulations on Posting Land and Trespassing While Hunting in North Dakota

    For hunters in North Dakota, understanding the laws regarding posting and trespassing is crucial. Here are the key regulations:

    1. Posting Land:

      • Only the landowner, tenant, or an authorized individual can post land to prohibit hunting.
      • Physical signs must clearly display the name of the person posting the land and be legible from outside the property.
      • Signs should be placed conspicuously and no more than 880 yards apart.
      • For fenced or enclosed land, posting signs at all gates is sufficient to indicate the entire area is posted.
    2. Hunting on Posted Lands:

      • It's illegal to hunt on posted lands without permission from the owner or tenant.
      • Violation can lead to at least a one-year suspension of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges.
      • Prosecution is possible even if the land is not perfectly posted according to the law.
    3. Retrieving Game:

      • Individuals can enter posted land (without a firearm or bow) to retrieve game shot or killed where they had legal hunting rights.
    4. Hunting in Unharvested Crops:

      • Hunting in unharvested cereal and oilseed crops, like winter wheat and alfalfa, is illegal without the landowner's consent, whether the land is posted or not.
    5. Respect for Posting Signs:

      • Defacing, removing, or destroying posting signs is illegal.
    6. Gate Management:

      • Failing to close gates properly upon entry or exit is a criminal violation, potentially resulting in the forfeiture of hunting licenses.

    Road Rights of Way

    Guidelines for Hunting on Road Rights-of-Way in North Dakota

    For hunters in North Dakota, understanding the regulations about hunting on road rights-of-way is important. Here's what you need to know:

    1. Public Use Uncertainty:

      • Hunters should not assume that road rights-of-way are automatically open for hunting.
      • It's crucial to verify that these areas are open to public use before hunting there.
    2. Control by Adjacent Landowners:

      • In most cases, road rights-of-way are under the control of the landowner adjacent to the road.
      • This means the legality of hunting on these rights-of-way often depends on the status of the adjacent land.
    3. Impact of Posting:

      • If the adjacent land is posted as closed to hunting, then the road rights-of-way are typically also closed to hunting.
      • This policy helps to respect the rights of landowners and enforce private property laws.

    Wanton Waste

    Regulations Against the Waste of Wild Turkey in North Dakota

    In North Dakota, regulations are in place to prevent the wasteful treatment of wild turkeys. Understanding these rules is crucial for ethical and legal hunting practices. Here’s what you need to know:

    1. Prohibition of Waste:

      • Hunters are not allowed to kill, cripple, waste, destroy, spoil, or abandon the edible flesh (specifically breast meat) of any wild turkey.
      • This regulation underscores the ethical obligation to respect the game and avoid wasteful practices.
    2. Requirement for Retrieval:

      • Hunters must make a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird after it is taken.
      • The retrieved bird must be retained in the hunter's actual custody from the place of taking to either their personal permanent residence, a taxidermist, or a common carrier.
      • This requirement ensures that the game is utilized properly and not left to waste.

    Licenses Available by Unit

    Distribution of Available Turkey Hunting Licenses Across Units in North Dakota

    For hunters in North Dakota planning their turkey hunting trips, understanding the availability of licenses across various units is essential. Here’s a breakdown of the available licenses per unit:

    1. Unit 02: 50 licenses
    2. Unit 03: 50 licenses
    3. Unit 04: 200 licenses
    4. Unit 06: 20 licenses
    5. Unit 13: 800 licenses
    6. Unit 17: 175 licenses
    7. Unit 19: 200 licenses
    8. Unit 21: Closed (no licenses available)
    9. Unit 25: 550 licenses
    10. Unit 27: 400 licenses
    11. Unit 30: 400 licenses
    12. Unit 31: 50 licenses
    13. Unit 37: 350 licenses
    14. Unit 40: 50 licenses
    15. Unit 44: 75 licenses
    16. Unit 45: 125 licenses
    17. Unit 47: 50 licenses
    18. Unit 50: 250 licenses
    19. Unit 51: 225 licenses
    20. Unit 53: 100 licenses
    21. Unit 98: 250 licenses
    22. Unit 99: 65 licenses
    • Total Available Licenses: 4,435

    Special Flock Reduction Turkey Bow Seasons

    A limited number of special flock reduction turkey bow season licenses will be available for these areas and hunters may receive up to three. The bag limit shall be one wild turkey of any sex or age per turkey bow license. The season opens October 14, and closes on January 31, 2024. Hunters must comply with all other applicable archery rules and regulations issued by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

    Bismarck/Mandan

    A special flock reduction turkey bow season is proclaimed for the City of Bismarck and specific surrounding areas. Hunters must first obtain a trespass/access permit from the Bismarck Chief of Police (701-223-1212) before hunting on land within the city of Bismarck or specific surrounding areas.

    A special flock reduction turkey bow season is proclaimed for private land south and east of the City of Bismarck in Burleigh County and is described as follows: starting where the southwest boundary of the city limits of Bismarck joins the east bank of the Missouri River, then following the city limits of Bismarck east to the point where it meets the west bank of Apple Creek in the northeast one-quarter of Section 26, Township 138 North, Range 80 West, then following the west bank of Apple Creek in a general southwest direction to its junction with the north boundary of Apple Creek Wildlife Management Area and then west and south along the WMA boundary to the Missouri River, then following the east bank of the Missouri River to the point of origin (this does not include the NDDOCR property). No access permit is required but hunters must obtain landowner permission before hunting. After obtaining permission, hunters must purchase special flock reduction licenses online at the Game and Fish Department’s website.

    A special flock reduction turkey bow season is proclaimed for the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan. Hunters must first obtain an access permit from the Northern Great Plains Research Lab. Other details, including areas open to hunting, will be determined by the USDA-ARS.

    An experimental turkey bow season will be held on the ND Department of Correction and Rehabilitation land south of Bismarck. Hunters must first obtain an access permit from the NDDOCR before hunting. Other details, including areas open to hunting, will be determined by the NDDOCR.


    Hunting by Nontribal Members on North Dakota Indian Reservations

    If an individual hunts exclusively on Indian lands within an Indian reservation, a tribal license is required and a state hunting license is not required. Hunting on nontribal lands within an Indian reservation requires a state hunting license. Game taken legally with a tribal license within an Indian reservation may be possessed and transported anywhere in North Dakota.

    Portions of some units are located on Indian reservations. Contact reservation tribal offices for more information.

    • Fort Berthold – Game and Fish Department, 404 Frontage Road, New Town, ND 58763, 701-627-4760.
    • Standing Rock – Game and Fish Department, Box 549, Fort Yates, ND 58538, 701-854-7236.
    • Turtle Mountain – Department of Natural Resources, Box 570, Belcourt, ND 58316, 701-477-2604.
    • Spirit Lake – Fish and Wildlife Department, Box 359, Fort Totten, ND 58335, 701-766-1243.

    Be Safe - Wear Orange Clothing

    While hunting in an area where any big game gun hunting season is in progress, the Game and Fish Department recommends that turkey hunters wear a head covering and an outer garment above the waistline of solid daylight fluorescent orange totaling at least 400 square inches.


    Map of Open Hunting Units

     

    North Dakota Turkey Hunting Laws & Regulations

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    Disclaimer:

    The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.