Those of us preparing for a trip to the Peace Garden State for our fall waterfowling sabbatical have wondered simple things since the end of last season. Will the zones remain the same, how early do I need to buy my license to ensure I get one, and what other changes will there be in the laws this year? With the recent release of spring pond counts by USFWS, and reports from the Arctic of an average to above average hatch for light geese, it would be ashamed to miss a banner waterfowling year because of misinformation.
2003 Non-Resident Law Changes For North Dakota
Those of us preparing for a trip to the Peace Garden State for our fall waterfowling sabbatical have wondered simple things since the end of last season. Will the zones remain the same, how early do I need to buy my license to ensure I get one, and what other changes will there be in the laws this year? With the recent release of spring pond counts by USFWS, and reports from the Arctic of an average to above average hatch for light geese, it would be ashamed to miss a banner waterfowling year because of misinformation. Well here’s the answer to some of those questions and a few others to help you prepare for your trip and ensure you a better nights sleep between now and then.
First and most important are changes to license requirements. It appears that the thirty thousand non-resident license cap is gone for this year. The proclamation stating this change is expected by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to be signed by the governor any day now. Non-resident license sales are expected to begin in mid to late August and whether you must buy your license through the Game and Fish Department or over the counter is yet to be decided. Those who wish to apply for the Swan license lottery need to due so via internet or phone no later than August thirteenth.
It appears the seven day statewide non-resident licenses have become a thing of the past. No longer will non-residents be able to buy a single seven day license that that allows the freedom of hunting the entire state; non-resident hunters will once again be expected to adhere to zones. Although hunters may split their fourteen day license into two separate zones for two seven consecutive day periods instead of being stuck in one zone for the whole season. The zones have also seen some drastic changes from last year so take a close look before purchasing your license (see map and description below) or you may find yourself hunting an area you had no intention of hunting. One other stipulation that is on the table for zone one and zone two hunters is the idea of letting a non-resident hunter hunt zones one or two for only seven days then making them hunt zone three for the remaining seven. This issue will not be decided until sometime in August before non-resident license sales begin.
This year for the first time hunters may hunt certain areas of North Dakota for the early September Canada goose season without counting those days against their fourteen day regular season period. The areas included in this exception are the two southeastern most counties in North Dakota, Sargent and Richland Counties. Another new change this year allows full-time non-resident college students from a state that is a member of the Midwest student exchange program or the western undergraduate exchange program to purchase a resident hunting license.
No longer will non-resident hunters be allowed to hunt both upland game and waterfowl on the same license. The small game license is now $85.00 and is a ten -day period or two five consecutive day periods waterfowl hunters are not required to have a small game license. If hunters wish they may purchase additional licenses to extend the amount of time they may hunt small game in North Dakota. Spring crowing counts are up by five percent for pheasants so keep this in mind it may prove itself to be a good afternoon activity to those who choose to hunt Pheasants while in North Dakota. The Non-resident waterfowl license will also cost $85.00 and that is good for either a fourteen day hunt or two consecutive seven day periods. No non-resident hunter may purchase more than one waterfowling license for the season. The spring light goose hunt has no bearing on a non- resident hunters fall period of fourteen days.
With the release of the May pond counts season frame works are being prepared for the year. As it now stands North Dakota is looking at a sixty-day season opening September 27 for resident hunters and an October 4 th opening date for non-residents. We will bring you more information as it is made available to us. Be sure to verify all information in your waterfowl hunting regulation booklets before beginning your time in field. If you wish to view these and other outdoors legislative law changes for 2003 go here.