Licenses and Regulations

Pheasant hunting in ND is managed by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.  Their website contains a wealth of information related to licenses, bag limits, and other regulations.  A thorough description of regulations is given in the annual Small Game – Furbearer Proclamation issued by the Governor each year.  The proclamation sets the season dates and regulations and when signed by the Governor, it has the force of law.  Another handy resource is the North Dakota Small Game Hunting Guide published by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.  These two short documents will give you the necessary legal information for hunting in ND.  You can also read the hunting laws in Title 20.1 of the North Dakota Century Code

I have highlighted a few of the nuances to hunting in ND below, but I suggest you read the Proclamation and Small Game Hunting Guide in their entirety for exact terminology and descriptions.


Unless you own your own hunting land, all hunters born after December 31, 1961 must have passed a certified state or provincial hunter safety course in order to purchase a small game license in ND.

There is no minimum age for hunting, but everyone under 15 years of age must be licensed and under direct supervision of a parent, guardian or an adult authorized by the parent.

Licenses can be purchased in the state at authorized locations, but online purchasing is quick and easy.  Non-resident hunters will need to choose two 7-day periods or one 14-day period of hunting at the time they purchase their licenses.  These dates can be changed later for a small fee.

Non-residents must purchase a non-resident Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate ($2), a General Game and Habitat License ($13), and a Small Game License ($85) in order to hunt pheasants.  You will only need to purchase one Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate, and one General Game and Habitat License each year.  You can purchase as many Small Game Licenses as you wish.  For example:  If you wanted to make four different weekend trips to ND it would cost you $185. ($2 for a non-resident Fishing, Hunting and Furbearer Certificate, $13 for a General Game and Habitat License, and $170 for two non-resident Small Game Licenses since each license is for two 7-day periods)

Hunting Times and Limits:

The pheasant hunting season typically starts the second Saturday in October and ends in early January.

Typically, during the first week of pheasant season, Non-residents may not hunt any game on North Dakota Game and Fish department wildlife management areas or Conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas.

Pheasants can be hunted from 1/2 hour before sunrise until sunset during the regular season.

Daily Limit: 3 Roosters
Possession Limit: 12 Roosters

Other Regulations:

Shotgun must be capable of holding no more than 3 shots and must be no smaller than .410 and no larger than 10 gauge.

If hunting in an area where non-toxic shot is required, you must not have any toxic shot in your gun, your pockets, or within reach.

It is illegal to shoot a firearm while in or on a motor vehicle.

It is illegal to carry a firearm in or on a motor vehicle with a shell in the chamber.  However, it is legal in ND to carry your firearm uncased with shells in the magazine.

It is illegal to drive motor-driven vehicles off of established roads and trails while hunting small game unless written permission is gained from the land owner and it is not during deer gun season.  Established roads and trails do not include temporary trails made for agricultural purposes.

Motor-driven vehicles are not allowed on PLOTS areas.  These areas are for walk-in only.

When transporting harvested pheasants, one leg and foot, OR one fully feathered head, OR one fully feathered wing shall remain attached to the bird until it reaches its final place of storage.

It is illegal to hunt on posted lands without permission from the owner or tenant.

Any person may enter upon legally posted land to recover game that was shot or killed on land where he had a lawful right to hunt as long he does so without carrying a firearm or bow.

It is illegal to hunt in unharvested crops, including sprouted winter wheat, alfalfa, clover and other grasses grown for seed, without the owner’s consent.

Do not hunt on roadways unless you are certain they are open to public use.  Most road rights of way are under control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed for hunting.

An individual must harvest his or her own limit.  Party hunting is not allowed.

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