2003 Waterfowl Regulations Set 082703
North Dakota's 2003 waterfowl season has been set, according to Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 27 for ducks, coots, mergansers and geese. Nonresidents can begin hunting in North Dakota Oct. 4.
All waterfowl hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. HIP registration is free, and it's easy. Hunters purchasing a license from the department's office or website (discovernd.com/gnf), as well as the instant licensing telephone number (800-406-6409) can receive a HIP number at that time.
Otherwise, hunters must call 888-634-4798 and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, or log on to the game and fish website at discovernd.com/gnf. Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.
Lawmakers during the 2003 legislative session passed House Bill 1223, which prohibits nonresidents from hunting the first seven days of the pheasant season on game and fish owned or leased lands. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's interpretation of the new law dictates that from Oct. 11-17 nonresidents may not hunt all small game, waterfowl, furbearers, and big game on game and fish wildlife management areas or Private Land Open To Sportsmen acreage.
The boundaries of the three waterfowl hunting zones for nonresidents have changed from prior years. There is no limit placed on the number of licenses available for each zone, nor is there a cap on the total number of nonresident waterfowl hunters for 2003. Nonresidents who designate zones 1 or 2 may hunt that zone for only one 7-day period during the season. Nonresident hunters who have chosen to hunt in zone 1 or 2 and wish to utilize the full 14 consecutive days allowed must use the other 7 days in zone 3. Nonresidents cannot hunt both zones 1 and 2 during the season. Hunters in zone 3 can hunt that zone the entire 14 days.
This past winter the state legislature eliminated the statewide 7-day waterfowl license. Nonresidents who only hunt waterfowl in North Dakota for one week, and want to maximize hunting opportunities in the state, can choose to run their two 7-day periods at the same time. To do this, hunters must choose either zones 1 or 2 for one 7-day period, and select zone 3 for the same 7-day period. By designating both of these options for the same week, hunters can go in both zone 1 and 3, or both zone 2 and 3.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six per day, with similar species and sex restrictions as in 2002 with two exceptions: the season on canvasbacks and pintails will be limited to 39 days. Pintails and canvasbacks can be legally taken from Sept. 27 through Nov. 4. Both species are being managed conservatively due to their low population levels, Kreil said.
Shooting hours for geese are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Oct. 25. Beginning Oct. 26, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.
Extended shooting hours for Canada geese and white-fronted geese are permitted on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with shooting hours on those days from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. "This is a change from previous years where all geese, including snow geese, could be hunted all day on Wednesdays and Saturdays," Kreil said. "The change was made in response to public concerns that all-day snow goose hunting was not allowing snow geese to avoid harassment in the afternoons, which was actually reducing the harvest on these overabundant birds."
The daily bag limit for Canada geese during the regular season is three, with six in possession. White-fronted goose daily limit is two, with four in possession, and light goose limit is 20 daily, with no possession limit.
The hunting season for geese will close Dec. 25, thereby establishing a longer season than in 2002. The extra hunting days were made available, Kreil said, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined North Dakotans could not hunt Canada geese after Sept. 15 during the early September season.
The early September Canada goose season, open statewide to resident and nonresident hunters, begins Sept. 1 and continues through Sept. 15. Nonresidents who hunt Richland and Sargent counties during the early season will not have those days count against their 14-day restriction. Limits are five daily and 10 in possession. Hunters need to be aware these limits are for the early September Canada goose season only, Kreil mentioned.
The special youth waterfowl hunting season is Sept. 20-21. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents 15 years of age or younger can hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and geese statewide. A licensed adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field. The daily bag limit is the same as for regular duck and goose seasons.
Refer to the 2003 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide for further details on the waterfowl season.
Chris...Ya know, I have no problem with opening the season a week early for residents only, but all those people that were *****ing for it....where were they last year on the opener? Last year, I swear, Pete and I had the whole northern part of the state to ourselves. On saturday we saw one nonres hunting sandhill crane and nobody on sunday!!
Just some food for thought.
Tell Gage to bring you up on the opener and we'll have a great time with the ducks!!
the area I open at has been innundated with hunters the past 3-4 years. Always was busy, now ridiculous.
Last year on the res opener about 6 groups of hunters found and worked about 6-8 "piles" in the area. Best hunting of the year and an absolute awesome experience.
There was a west breeze and cloudless mornings both days (staring at the sun), and the opener was something like the 22nd which meant one less week of color for the drakes, so we held off shooting for over a half-hour Saturday and over 45 mins Sunday. During legal hours but before shots were fired those two days, I know we had 5,000 mallards within shooting range through the dekes.
Yeah we shot 'em up, but the swarming mass of birds in a less pressured atmosphere is what I'll always remember. From what we heard, the other 5 or so other groups in our area had the same experience. And by waiting for better light, we managed 30/35 on drakes - not bad considering how little color they had at that time last year.
I can't speak for other areas, but the hunters in our area utlilized the res only opener very well and very much appreciated it.
My sons and I hunted, what is now zone 1, last year and had one of the best, uncrowded hunts I've ever had. The area we hunted had for several years become more and more crowded and the competition had become almost unbearable for opening day...not much fun. The zone idea this year is at least a start but I think it would be a good idea to expand on it in the future to spread everyone out more evenly in the state. This way may more NRs could hunt at the same time ensuring the quality hunting.
I think the early resident opener is going to catch on more every yrear and should help bring more residents back to the sport. I'd also have to say there is very little problem in picking out the drakes over the hens if you just wait a little longer until the sun is up in the sky.
You sure are right about picking out drakes...Last year we had a heck of a time...the flocks were so big, you'd finally pick one out and he'd be mixed in with the rest of them before you got your gun up!! We did a pretty good job though...limited out and only had 1 hen (Bwana shot that one!!)
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