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ND Duck Hunting Regulations Set

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From the ND GNF:

North Dakota’s 2009 waterfowl season has been set. Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 26 for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Oct. 3.

The three-year Hunter’s Choice bag limit for duck hunting has ended. This year, hunters may take six ducks per day with the following restrictions: five mallards of which two may be hens, three wood ducks, two scaup, two redheads, one pintail, one canvasback. For ducks, the possession limit is twice the daily limit.

The daily limit of five mergansers may include no more than two hooded mergansers.

The hunting season for Canada geese in the Missouri River zone will close Jan. 1, 2010, while the remainder of the state will close Dec. 24. The season for whitefronts closes Dec. 6, while the season on light geese is open through Jan. 1, 2010. Shooting hours for all geese are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Oct. 31. Beginning Nov. 1, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.

Extended shooting hours for all geese are permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Wednesdays through Nov. 29, and on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from Dec. 2 through the end of each season.

The daily bag limit for Canada geese during the regular season is three, with six in possession. The daily limit on whitefronts is two with four in possession, and light goose is 20 daily, with no possession limit.

The special youth waterfowl hunting season is Sept. 19-20. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents 15 years of age or younger can hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and geese statewide. Youth hunters must have a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. A licensed adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field. The daily bag limit and species restrictions for the youth season are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons.

Nonresidents have the option of buying either a statewide waterfowl license or one with zone restrictions. Nonresidents who designate zones 1 or 2 may hunt that zone for only one seven-day period during the season. Nonresident hunters who chose to hunt in zone 1 or 2 and wish to use the full 14 consecutive days allowed, must use the other seven days in zone 3. Hunters in zone 3 can hunt that zone the entire 14 days.

In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from Oct. 10-16.

All waterfowl hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. Hunters purchasing a license from the Game and Fish Department can easily get a HIP number. Otherwise, hunters must call (888) 634-4798, or log on to the Game and Fish HSOforum at, provide the registration information, and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who HIP registered to hunt this spring’s light goose season do not have to register again, as it is required only once per year.

Hunters should refer to the 2009 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide, available in early September, for further details on the waterfowl season.


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Thanks MM, I am looking forward to my trip out there Oct. 15 -20, in zone 3. Always a good time, and never know if you will be shooting in a t-shirt or freezing in 16 degree mornings smile

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Been hunting geese in shorts and sandals the last couple weeks grin

Here's a outside-the-box question: Right now the honker posession limit is 10 for the early season so if I have 10 geese in my freezer come Sept 26 I know I cant hunt them but am I illegal just having them in my freezer?

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Would it sound crazy for a couple of fellas to travel from Boise to spend a little time and $ chasin geese and dux 10/28-11/3?

I haven't hunted NoDak since I lived in Bottineau in the late 70's. Looking forward to it.


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Update on the Duck Population:

Waterfowl Season Outlook Promising

Prospects for North Dakota’s upcoming waterfowl season are much improved over last year due to recharged water conditions across the state, according to Mike Johnson, game management section leader for the state Game and Fish Department. Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 26 for ducks, coots, mergansers and geese. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Oct. 3.

Johnson said the fall flight of ducks from North Dakota is expected to be up about a third from 2008 and similar to 2004. The brood index from the Game and Fish Department’s annual mid-July survey was down 2 percent from 2008, but was twice the long-term average. The water index observed during the survey was up 132 percent from last year and 63 percent above the long-term average.

Prospects for the continental fall duck flight are good, Johnson mentioned, with North Dakota’s contribution well-above the long-term average. “We had large numbers of breeding ducks this spring, and duck production in North Dakota was again high at 87 percent above the 1955-2008 average,” Johnson said.

Almost one-third of the duck production is blue-winged teal, which are early migrants, Johnson noted. “Many blue-winged teal migrate through the state early, and while there are always some around at the start of the season, approximately 80-90 percent migrate out of the state by Oct. 1,” he said.

Continental estimates of May breeding duck numbers indicated that most species were in good shape going into the breeding season. However, spring habitat conditions in much of prairie Canada were considered fair-to-poor this year. “Duck production from these areas is expected to be down,” Johnson said. “Despite these reports, the number of ducks that migrate through North Dakota should be fair-to-good. Of course, the success of this year’s waterfowl season is highly dependent upon our fall weather and habitat conditions, and the migration patterns they produce.”

Snow goose and Canada goose populations remain high and large numbers will migrate through the state this fall, Johnson noted. However, small Canada geese in the Tall Grass Prairie population, and Mid-Continent snow geese both had below average years on their arctic nesting grounds. ““Weather conditions in the arctic this spring were not good for goose production so hunters will see fewer young snow geese and small Canada geese,” Johnson added. “Reduced numbers of young birds in the fall flight make goose hunting more difficult.”

Hunters can find additional information on the status of ducks, geese and swans at the Internet HSOforum,

Resident hunters must possess a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. In addition, hunters ages 16 and older must have a small game license and federal duck stamp.

Nonresidents must purchase a nonresident waterfowl license, including the general game and habitat license, and certificate. Hunters age 16 and older must possess a federal duck stamp. Nonresident youth hunters from states that provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents qualify for North Dakota resident licenses. See the 2009 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide for details.

All migratory bird hunters are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. Hunters who purchase a license through the state Game and Fish Department HSOforum ( or instant licensing telephone number (800-406-6409) can easily get HIP certified.

Otherwise, hunters must call (888) 634-4798, or access the department’s HSOforum, and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year in each state hunted.

Hunters should refer to the waterfowl hunting guide for season regulations including licensing requirements, dates, bag limits, season zones and nonresident hunting zones.

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