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Pronghorn buck. (Photo/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department)

Game and Fish set hunting regulations and pronghorn, early goose dates

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has set regulations for small game, waterfowl and furbearers and has released the dates for pronghorn and early Canada goose hunting.

Early Canada goose hunting opens Aug. 15 in all three zones. It will close on Sept. 7 in the Missouri River zone, Sept. 15 in the western zone and Sept. 20 in the eastern zone.

Shooting hours for early Canada goose are limited to one half-hour before sunrise to sunset daily. Hunters are limited to 15 Canada geese daily and 45 in possession. Waterfowl rest areas are open during the early season but will be closed during the regular season. Residents need a $5 early Canada goose license and a general game and habitat license, and residents age 16 and older need a small game license. Nonresidents need only a $50 early Canada goose license.

The season for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers opens Sept. 21 for North Dakota residents and Sept. 28 for nonresidents.

The bow-only pronghorn season opens at noon Aug. 30 and ends Sept. 22. Hunters who still have a valid license after that point can hunt using legal firearms or archery equipment from noon Oct. 4 to Oct. 20. Non-residents are not eligible to apply for a 2019 pronghorn license, but 1,330 licenses are available in 12 units to North Dakota residents. While hunting, residents have to stay within their designated unit.

The deadline for applying for pronghorn licenses is Aug. 7. The license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older and $10 for those younger than 16.

A total of 110 licenses are available in unit 1A, 115 in 1D, 90 in 2A, 60 in 2B, 20 in 3A, 115 in 3B, 425 in 4A, 50 in 4C, 70 in 5A, 160 in 6A, 75 in 7A and 40 in 10A. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn, except in 4A where 100 of the 425 are allocated for does and fawns.

“Hunting units 1D and 10A will be open for the first time since 2009,” said Bruce Stillings, the big game management supervisor for Game and Fish. “Pronghorn have also increased in hunting Unit 4A, where doe/fawn licenses will be issued to address areas of high pronghorn density and provide additional hunting opportunities.”

License numbers and open units are up from last year, which allocated 1,075 licenses and had 10 open units.

“Our recently completed aerial survey indicated the pronghorn population is up 4% from last year,” Stillings said. “A combination of milder winter conditions since 2010 to 2011, closed seasons from 2010 to 2013 and improved fawn production and survival since 2013 have resulted in the population reaching a level that is able to support a higher harvest this fall.”

Other noteworthy items include:

  • Veterans and members of the U.S. military, including the National Guard and Reserves, on active duty may hunt waterfowl from Sept. 14 to Sept. 15 if they possess a resident hunting license.

  • The daily limit on pintails has been reduced from two to one.

  • The prairie chicken and sage grouse populations have remained low so their seasons will stay closed.

  • The tree squirrel season has been extended to Feb. 29.

  • The river otter season limit has increased from 15 to 20.

  • Bottineau and Rolette counties will remain closed for the fisher trapping season but all other counties will be open.

  • Nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on Game and Fish wildlife management areas or private land open to sportsmen areas from Oct. 12 through Oct. 18.

Hunters can access the North Dakota 2019-2020 Hunting and Trapping Guide and find information on further rules and regulations on the Game and Fish website.