Common violations and enforcement for North Dakota’s deer gun hunting season

Published: Nov. 9, 2023 at 6:34 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The deer gun season in North Dakota opens at noon on Friday, November 10. Thousands of deer hunters will hit the field in the next few weeks, and hunters should be aware of some of the more common violations game wardens encounter every year.

“Each hunter needs to wear at least 400 inches of blaze orange above the waist, as well as an orange head covering or hat,” explains Game Warden Supervisor Joe Lucas.

If you harvest a deer where you have a legal right to hunt but it ends up on posted land, you do have a legal right to retrieve the animal unarmed.

“If it’s wounded, that would be a situation where you need to get permission prior to doing so. Even if the animal is dead, we recommend reaching out to the landowner and just letting them know what’s going on, just so that there’s not confusion out there.”

There are some things you need to do immediately after harvesting your deer.

“So the first thing upon harvesting an animal, you’re legally required to tag it. That comes before field dressing. Taking photos. We want to make sure that the first thing people are doing is validating their tag by cutting out the date and then placing that tag on the animal,” explains Lucas.

There are also regulations that pertain to driving off-trail on private land during deer season, and if the land is posted you need landowner permission.

“So the only time a hunter can drive off of an established trail is once they have harvested an animal and that animal is tagged. Then they can take a direct route off of that established trail to load their animal, and then back to said trail.”

Public lands like wildlife management areas and other state and federal lands are oftentimes restricted for off-trail driving. If you plan on transporting someone else’s deer, there are some things you need to do.

“So everybody has to transport their own deer. The only way that you could transport another’s deer is if you do get a transportation permit. Our game wardens have those as well as some local law enforcement,” Lucas says.

There are regulations for hunting section lines if the land is posted.

“So section lines, they are open for public travel, but that does not mean that they are open for public hunting. For instance, if the land is posted on both sides of a section line, that posting does go up into the center of the section line.”

If you witness a Game and Fish violation, call the Report All Poachers number at 701-328-9921. For more information on the 2023 deer gun season in North Dakota, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website at