Where to Hunt in North Dakota: A Guide to Public and Private Land Hunting

Private Lands

  • General Rule: Private lands in North Dakota are open for hunting unless posted or legally restricted.
  • Best Practice: Always seek permission from the landowner before hunting on private lands.
  • Posted Lands: Hunting is not allowed on private lands that are legally posted with physical signs or electronically, without permission from the landowner or leasee.
  • Unposted Lands: Hunting is permitted on private lands that are not posted or restricted by law, without needing landowner permission.
  • Private Land Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS): This program, a collaboration between private landowners and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, offers walk-in hunting access to many private lands. Lands under this agreement are marked with PLOTS signs.
  • Note: Properties enrolled in PLOTS may change annually.

Public Lands

  • Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs): Managed by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, these areas are generally open for hunting, fishing, and trapping unless specified otherwise.
  • Other Public Lands: Managed by various agencies, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuges, State Trust Lands, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and North Dakota Forest Service. Hunting rules may vary by agency.

Resources for Hunters

  • North Dakota Hunting Atlas and PLOTS Guide: Provides detailed information on both public and private lands, including electronically posted lands and WMAs.
  • Online Mapping Tools:
    • Avenza-Geospatial PDF App: Works offline using smartphone GPS.
    • ArcGIS Explorer App: Requires cell service.
    • OnX Hunt: Operates without cell service.
  • Printable Map Sheets: Offer traditional maps with electronically posted lands information.
  • Hunter/Landowner Contact Form: Connects landowners experiencing wildlife depredation problems with hunters, including the 'Coyote Catalog' and antlerless deer hunting opportunities.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Penalties for Illegal Hunting on Posted Land: Violating hunting regulations on posted land can lead to significant fines, imprisonment, and suspension of hunting privileges.
  • Hunter/Landowner Relations: Maintaining respectful and communicative relationships with landowners is crucial for ethical hunting practices.


Hunting in North Dakota offers diverse opportunities on both public and private lands. Utilizing resources like the Hunting Atlas, PLOTS Guide, and various mapping tools can significantly enhance the hunting experience. Hunters should always adhere to legal and ethical standards, including obtaining permission on private lands and understanding the specific regulations for public lands managed by different agencies.

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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.