Know Where You’re Hunting

September 21, 2016 by  

I’ve learned over the years working and playing outdoors to always pack extra boots and socks, plan to leave early and get home a little bit late. Jumper cables, a tow rope and extra sandwich are worth turning around and going back to get.

Beyond that, one of my go-to bits of advice refers to knowing the land on which you’re hunting, and whether you have permission to be there. For me, that means knowing the boundaries of public land, or having direct permission from the landowner to hunt a piece of property. It’s pretty much a case of “if you don’t know, don’t go.” Period.

Hunting Access

No hunter should want to get caught up in a situation where they’re accused of trespassing. (Photo courtesy NDGF)

Most of the time, hunters do know exactly where they’re at and the location of the nearest boundary. On the other hand, most of us can also relate a story of when we may have inadvertently strayed off public land onto adjoining private land, or from private land where we had permission to private land where we didn’t have permission.

Regardless of the circumstances, no hunter should want to get caught up in a situation where they’re accused of trespassing if the landowner should happen along.

As sort of a refresher, here are some reminders about North Dakota’s rules and regulations relating to trespassing.

Posting and Trespass

  • Only the owner or tenant, or an individual authorized by the owner, may post land by placing signs giving notice that no hunting is permitted on the land. The name of the person posting the land must appear on each sign in legible characters. Phone numbers are not required by law. The signs must be readable from the outside of the land and must be placed conspicuously not more than 880 yards (one-half mile) apart. As to land entirely enclosed by a fence or other enclosure, posting of signs at or on all gates through the fence or enclosure constitutes a posting of all the enclosed land.
  • Hunting on posted land without permission from the owner or tenant is illegal and punishable by suspension of hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for a period of at least one year.
  • Hunting on posted land without permission can be prosecuted even if the land is not posted to the letter of the law.
  • Any person may enter upon legally posted land (without a firearm or bow) to recover game shot or killed on land where he/she had a lawful right to hunt.
  • It is illegal to hunt in unharvested cereal and oilseed crops, including sprouted winter wheat, alfalfa, clover and other grasses grown for seed, without the owner’s consent.
  • Failure to close gates upon exit or entry is a criminal violation punishable by forfeiture of hunting licenses.
  • It is illegal to hunt upon the premises of another within 440 yards (one- quarter mile) of any occupied building without the consent of the person occupying the building. This does not prohibit hunting on land owned by neighbors (private or public) even if the land is less than 440 yards (one-quarter mile) from the occupied building.

For further questions, contact your local game warden, or the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement division at 701-328-6300.

And lastly, it’s always a good idea to refer to printed or electronic maps of the areas you are hunting, such as the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open to Sportsmen or PLOTS Guide, county atlases, U.S. Forest Service national grasslands maps and others.

Confidence in knowing where you’re at is a good thing when it comes to a day in the field.


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