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Baiting, fishing tournament bills among North Dakota outdoors legislation still to be decided

As amended and passed, HB 1151 would allow baiting on private property from Aug. 25 through Jan. 7, among other stipulations.

NDGF Capitol photo.jpg
The Game and Fish Department set up its website page to track legislation that relates to hunting, fishing and other outdoor issues during the 2023 session.
Contributed/North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Here’s a look at the status of hunting- and fishing-related bills in the North Dakota Legislature as of Monday, March 20. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department tracks the status of hunting-, fishing- and trapping-related bills and posts updates as legislative action occurs. The status of outdoors-related bills is available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov/legislation.


  • HB 1134 : Amends subsection 12(c) of section 20.1-02-05 of North Dakota Century Code, to issue any resident license, except a lottery permit, to include nonresident current North Dakota National Guard members. Passed House 90-1; Passed Senate 46-1; signed by Gov. Doug Burgum.
  • HB 1224 : Allows the dog handler to carry a handgun in the recovery of a big game animal while in the presence of a dog. The dog handler cannot use the handgun to assist in the recovery of the animal, and must have permission from the landowner or individual authorized by the landowner before entering private land for the recovery of a big game animal. Passed House 91-0; passed Senate 46-1; signed by governor.
  • HB 1409 : A nonresident youth who is less than 16 years of age may purchase a resident general game hunting license and may hunt small game and waterfowl, except swans and wild turkeys, during the entire regular small game and waterfowl seasons. The accompanying adult family member or legal guardian does not have to be licensed. Passed House 91-0; passed Senate 47-0; signed by governor.


  • HB 1233 : Allows the 11-, 12- and 13-year-old antlerless white-tailed deer youth hunter to also hunt during the regular deer gun season. Passed House 87-3; passed Senate 45-0.
  • HB 1366 : Allows an individual engaged in barefoot skiing to wear a wet suit. A life preserver must be on board the towing vessel for an individual barefoot skiing or surfing. Passed House 89-5; passed Senate 47-0.
  • SB 2297 : Certified Game and Fish volunteer instructors who have maintained active status in the state for 30 years are eligible to receive complimentary fishing and certain hunting licenses. Passed Senate 45-0; passed House 91-1.

Active bills

  • HB 1014 : Provides an appropriation for defraying the expenses of the Industrial Commission and the agencies under its control. This includes Outdoor Heritage Fund at $15 million. Passed House 84-9; Senate Appropriations Committee heard March 1, March 9 and March 10.
  • HB 1151 : Allows hunting big game over bait on private property from Aug. 25 through Jan. 7, with a volume capacity of 50 gallons and a setback of 150 feet from a landowners property. Passed House 76-18; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard March 16.
    Columnist Jim Shaw writes that the Minnesota Legislature focused on important issues to help families, workers, women and minorities. Meanwhile, "those issues don't matter" to Republicans in Bismarck.
  • HB 1260 : Develops agreements to compensate private landowners for the development of habitat on private property for addressing fish and wildlife populations. In addition, allows the Game and Fish director to issue special antlerless elk depredation management licenses to landowners upon payment of the fee required for a resident big game license. To be eligible for this license a landowner cannot charge a fee for elk hunting and must allow reasonable public access as determined by the director. Passed House 85-9; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to hear at 2 p.m. March 23.
  • HB 1538 : Enacts a new section of Century Code related to fishing contests. Passed House 90-2; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard March 16.
HB 1538 would establish in Century Code the fee structure and policies for holding fishing contests in North Dakota, whether they be professional events or local charity fundraisers.

  • SB 2017 : The Senate passed an appropriation to the Game and Fish Department for the biennium beginning July 1, 2023 and ending June 30, 2025 of $109,532,444. Passed Senate 45-2; House Appropriations Committee heard March 8.
  • SB 2097 : Requires a political subdivision to notify the Game and Fish director, among others, before engaging in meetings with federal agencies to have any water body in the state designated a wild, scenic or recreational river under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Passed Senate 45-2. House Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard March 3, amended to include Public Service Commission to be notified. Recommended 12-0 do pass as amended.
  • SB 2382 : Provides clarity to the motorboat numbering exemptions section of the North Dakota Century Code. Passed Senate 46-0; House Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard March 16, recommended 13-0 do pass.


  • HB 1175 : Provides for a Legislative Management study regarding the posting of school trust lands during the big game hunting seasons. The study must include input from Departments of Trust Lands and Game and Fish, and report findings and recommendations to the 69th assembly. Passed House 89-2; Failed Senate 5-42.
  • HB 1258: The agriculture commissioner shall study challenges associated with native pollinating insects, including their decline, associated ecosystems, health and resilience. Failed House 15-79.
  • HB 1377: Any member of a party of 10 or fewer may take or kill the number of deer which is equal to the number of valid deer licenses held by the participating members of the party. Failed House 26-67.
  • HB 1408: Ten percent of the true and full valuation of land enrolled in the private land open to sportsmen program, which is owned by a resident of this state, would be eligible for property tax exemption. Failed House 17-73.
  • HB 1414: A nonresident who previously has purchased a resident hunting or fishing license with the department and has a resident family member in the state may purchase a resident family member small game license and hunt upland game as authorized by the department. The nonresident may hunt upland game for four days which may be consecutive or nonconsecutive from November 15 to the end of the upland game season. Failed House 5-85.
  • SB 2294: Nonprofit organizations eligible to receive special allocation big game hunting licenses would also include those eligible organizations exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(c)(19). Current law states those under section 501(c)(3) are eligible to receive no more than two elk, two moose, two pronghorn and 10 white-tailed deer licenses. Failed Senate 15-30.
  • SB 2368: During the 2023-24 interim, Legislative Management shall consider studying the laws governing the Game and Fish Department and the possibility of implementing an appointed game and fish commission to supervise the department. Failed Senate 8-36.


  • SB 2179: Would not prohibit the use of firearms between .22-caliber and .50-caliber when hunting big game on private land. Withdrawn from consideration.
  • SB 2298: When an owner or lessor of land in the state, the state owes a duty of reasonable care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for recreational purposes, regardless of the location and nature of the recreational purposes and whether the entry or use by others is for recreational purposes or is directly derived from the recreational purposes of others, and warn of a dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity on the land to persons entering for recreational purposes. Withdrawn from consideration.
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