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North Dakota Wildlife Management Area Guide

Public Use Regulations for State Wildlife Management Areas

North Dakota Game and Fish Department


The following rules are authorized by Chapter 20.1-11 of the North Dakota Century Code and established in Chapter 30-04-02 of the North Dakota Administrative Code. (revised 11/95)
1. Public Access and Use.
All state wildlife management areas are open for public hunting, fishing and trapping, or other compatible public use, except as provided under this chapter, governor's proclamation, other valid rules and regulations or laws, or as posted at public road entry points.

2. Motor Vehicles.
Mallard and Matthews Islands are closed to the use of all motorized vehicles and aircraft. On all other state wildlife management areas, the use of all motorized vehicles is restricted to those constructed roads, well worn trails, and parking areas normally used by passenger cars. Established roads and trails do not include temporary trails across cultivated land used for agricultural purposes. Motor vehicles may be used on the ice of lakes for access for fishing unless otherwise prohibited by posting or by proclamation. Persons operating any motor vehicle on the ice of any lake or other water area on a state wildlife management area do so at their own risk. All motorized vehicles which produce a noise level of 85 decibels or greater, measured on scale A at a distance of 50 feet, [15.2 meters] are prohibited.

3. Watercraft.
Watercraft shall not be left unattended for more than 24 hours, except in mooring areas designated by the Department. The Department may have horsepower or other watercraft restrictions on some lakes.

4. Firearms.
Use of firearms is prohibited for such periods of time as are posted at public road and trail entry points, except that firearms are permitted on target ranges designated by the Department. Promiscuous shooting is prohibited on all state wildlife management areas.

5. Littering and Abandonment of Property.
The disposal of refuse, rubbish, bottles, cans, or other waste materials is prohibited except in garbage containers where provided. Abandonment of vehicles or other personal property is prohibited. Holding tanks of campers shall not be dumped within a state wildlife management area.

6. Removal and Destruction of Property.
Trees, shrubs, vines, plants, gravel, fill, sod, water, crops, firewood, posts, poles or other property may not be removed without a permit issued by the Department, except that firewood may be removed under certain stated conditions from Department designated firewood cutting plots. Commercial cutting of firewood is prohibited on designated firewood cutting plots. Gathering of downed wood for campfires is permitted. Removal of property from a state wildlife management area by permit shall be only in a manner, limit, and/or conditions specified by the permit. Berries and fruit may be picked, for non-commercial use - unless posting prohibits same. Properly may not be destroyed or defaced.

7. Private Property and Structures.
No person shall construct or maintain any building, cabin, dock, fence, beehive, billboard, sign, or other structure except by permit issued by the Department. Fish houses may be used during the ice fishing season in accordance with the governor's proclamation. Duck, goose, crane and other type decoys may not be left unattended in the field on any state wildlife management area. Temporary hunting blinds made of natural vegetation are permitted.

8. Tree Stands.
No person may construct or use a permanent tree stand or permanent steps to a tree stand on any state wildlife management area except as provided by a permit issued by the Department.

Permanent tree stands and steps are defined as those which are (1) fastened to the tree with nails, spikes, bolts or other metal fasteners driven or screwed into the tree or are (2) themselves fixtures driven or screwed into the tree.

Portable tree stands and natural tree stands may be used without a permit. Portable tree stands and steps to the tree stand are defined as those which are held to the tree with ropes, straps, cables or bars which do not penetrate the bark of the tree. The ladder type stands which lean against the tree are portable stands. The notched board placed in a tree crotch is a portable stand. Natural stands are those crotches, trunks, downed trees, etc. where no platform is used. Tree stands do not preempt hunting rights in the vicinity of the tree stand. Tree stands, both permanent and portable, may not be put up prior to August 20 of the year, and they shall be taken down by January 10th of the following year. Stands not removed by the 10th of January are considered abandoned property and are subject to removal and confiscation by the Department.

9. Cropping, Haying and Commercial Enterprises.
No person shall conduct any cropping, haying, or other commercial enterprise, except by permit issued by the Department.

10. Animal Trespass.
Livestock (domesticated cattle, goats, sheep, etc.) shall not be permitted on any state wildlife management area except as provided for by a grazing permit issued by the Department. Horseback riding is allowed, but groups of 25 or more require a permit.

11. Dogs.
Field trials for dogs are prohibited without a permit issued by the Department. Training of bird and gun dogs is prohibited April 1st through August 15th on all state wildlife management areas. Training of dogs on any state wildlife management area by a professional trainer is prohibited at all times. Pets may not be permitted to run unattended.

12. Camping.
Camping for longer than 10 consecutive days on any state wildlife management area is prohibited. Trailers, campers, motor homes, or tents may not be left unattended for more than 24 hours on any state wildlife management area. Camping is prohibited on those state wildlife management areas where posted at public road entry points.

13. Glass beverage containers or kegs prohibited.
No person may use or possess glass beverage containers or kegs on any state wildlife management area.

14. Organized Group Activities.
Organized group activities attended by more than 25 persons are prohibited without a permit issued by the Department.

15. Noise.
Excessive noise, which unreasonably disturbs other persons, is prohibited on state wildlife management areas at all times.

16. Department Work.
These rules shall not apply to activities by Department personnel and other persons designated by the Department which are necessary for law enforcement or for development, management, or maintenance of any state wildlife management area.

17. Check with the district wildlife resource management biologist for additional rules and regulations.

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