May 8, 2023

Legislative Session Recap of the Peace Garden State

North Dakota State Capitol 02
Article Contact: Jake Gould,

Why It Matters: North Dakota’s 2023 legislative session proved to be a busy one as it was packed with several important pieces of legislation, both good and bad for sportsmen and women. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) was active in promoting increased opportunities for youth hunters, and vigilant in opposing legislation that aimed to undermine the management authority of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.


  • North Dakota House Bill 1151, a bill that would have undermined North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s (NDGF) wildlife management authority, was successfully defeated due to opposition efforts from CSF and other in-state partners. It is important to note that state fish and wildlife agencies, like NDGF, are the best equipped state authority to make wildlife management decisions.
  • North Dakota House Bill 1233 updated existing language that only allowed for youth white-tail antlerless deer permits to be filled during the youth season. By removing this limitation, youth hunters can fill that permit during the regular deer season, thereby increasing their opportunity to be in the field hunting.
  • North Dakota House Bill 1409 removed the language requiring the nonresident youth hunter’s home state to provide a reciprocal youth license for North Dakota resident youth hunters. Removing this language now allows nonresident youth hunters, regardless of home state, to purchase a general game hunting license without any barriers and experience the hunting opportunities North Dakota has to offer.

On April 30, the legislative session came to an end in the Peace Garden State. With the North Dakota State Legislature meeting biennially, it made for a busy legislative session during which several important pieces of legislation were introduced. Topics introduced in this session included bills that would have both positive and negative impacts on sportsmen and women. CSF worked with leaders of the North Dakota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, and in-state partners in actively tracking and engaging on multiple bills throughout the session by submitting testimony to committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

ND HB 1151 was among the bills CSF engaged on during the legislative session. The bill aimed to undermine the wildlife management authority of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department by restricting them from adopting any policy that prohibits the baiting of big game animals for hunting. CSF submitted testimony in opposition of ND HB 1151, outlining the importance of state fish and wildlife management authority. As outlined in testimony, CSF maintains that The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is the entity best equipped to make science-based wildlife management decisions. Fortunately, HB 1151 was successfully defeated when it failed to advance out of the Senate.

CSF also worked with partners and provided testimony in support of ND HB 1233 and ND HB 1409, bills that both expand opportunities for youth hunters. Under current law, youth hunters could only fill a white-tail antlerless deer permit during the youth hunting season. HB 1233 amended the language to allow youth hunters to fill their white-tail antlerless deer permit during the regular white-tail deer hunting season, giving them more opportunities to hunt.

HB 1409 increases opportunities for nonresident youth hunters by removing the requirement that a nonresident youth hunter’s home state provide a reciprocal license for North Dakota resident youth hunters under the age of 16. By removing this requirement, nonresident youth hunters, regardless of home state, can now purchase a general game hunting license and experience North Dakota’s small game and waterfowl hunting opportunities. With both bills being signed by the Governor, youth hunters now have more opportunities, which helps with hunter recruitment, and in turn, contributes more funding for state-based conservation through the unique “user pays – public benefits” structure of the American System of Conservation Funding.

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