What You Need To Know Before Bow Hunting Season Opens

August 24, 2016 by  

Archery deer hunting has expanded in popularity in North Dakota over the years. Even as deer numbers have fallen from record highs a decade ago, bow license sales have increased.

With North Dakota’s archery deer season opening Friday, Sept. 2 at 12 noon Central time, it’s a good time for a few reminders on some rules and regulations that apply to bow hunting.

Deer Bow Licenses

Bow Hunting

(Photo courtesy NDGF)

All resident deer bow licenses, and nonresident licenses for white-tailed deer only, are issued electronically through vendors participating in the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s online licensing system, at the Game and Fish website and Bismarck office, or by calling 800-406-6409.

The big thing to remember here is that if you buy a bow license over the phone or on the Game and Fish website, you’ll have to wait to hunt until you receive the physical tag in the mail, which could take several days.

Tagging Requirements

Hunters must tag all big game animals, not just deer, immediately after the animal is retrieved. In other words, the first thing you must do when you walk up to your deer is tag it.

I can’t emphasize this enough. I’ve seen some examples and heard many stories that relate to hunters who take a photo with their phone, and even post that image online, before they put the tag on their deer. If a game warden would see such an image, how would they know the deer was ever tagged?

Tag your deer before you take a photo, and you’ll never have to worry about a misunderstanding.

Tree Stands

Tree stands set up on private land in North Dakota don’t have much for restrictions beyond what the landowner might require. However, most agencies that manage public land where deer hunting is allowed do have restrictions for placing tree stands.

One common rule is that permanent tree stands, or permanent steps to a tree stand, are not allowed on any state wildlife management area, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuge or waterfowl production area. Portable tree stands and portable steps, and natural tree stands are allowed on these areas.

Tree stands and steps may not be put up on state wildlife management areas before Aug. 20, 2016, and they must be removed by Jan. 31, 2017. Stands and steps not removed by that date are considered abandoned property and are subject to removal and confiscation by the Game and Fish Department. Tree stands left unattended on state wildlife management areas require an identification tag displaying the owner’s name, address and telephone number; or hunter education number.

Hunting Big Game Over Bait

Hunt big game over bait is illegal in deer hunting units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2. Hunting big game over bait is also not allowed on all Game and Fish wildlife management areas, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas; U.S. Forest Service national grasslands; and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.

Last year, Game and Fish game wardens issued six citations for illegal baiting on wildlife management areas.

Hunting Hours

Hunting hours for bowhunting are the same as for deer gun hunting – 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, except opening day. Hunters must cease any hunting activity, leave any stand or blind, and must be in the process of leaving the field at the close of shooting hours.

For more information on North Dakota deer hunting regulations, see the complete 2016-17 deer hunting guide on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.


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