October 5, 2020

New Legislation in North Dakota Could Create a Useful Tool or Limit Access

Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager

September 22, North Dakota’s Office of Legislative Council pre-filed ND D 196 in preparation for the 2021 legislative session. The bill pertains to trespass laws in the state which have been a topic of discussion for the last few years. Currently in North Dakota, private land is open to hunting unless otherwise posted. This has been a big draw for hunters across the country looking to take advantage of North Dakota’s diverse hunting opportunities. For the most part, they have been welcomed with open arms. This new legislation has the potential to make it both easier for landowners to post land and for sportsmen to identify private land as either open or closed to hunting.

As the law reads today, the landowner must post “signs alongside the public highway or the land giving notice that hunting is not permitted on the land…and [signage] must be placed conspicuously not more than eight hundred eighty yards apart. As to land entirely enclosed by a fence or other enclosure, posting of signs at or on all gates through the fence or enclosure constitutes a posting of all the enclosed land.”

The proposed change would allow the land owner to “designate the land as posted or closed to hunting in an online database or other electronic application maintained or authorized by the state and available to the public which identifies whether the land is available to hunters.”

This proposed change will give landowners an additional option to post their land electronically, but it will also give hunters the ability to easily identify lands that are open to hunting while pre-planning their hunting trips in the Peace Garden State.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation has worked with members of the North Dakota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Governor’s office, and the North Dakota Game & Fish Department to ensure that sportsmen and women’s voices are heard on this issue. CSF is committed to protecting and expanding access not only in North Dakota, but across all fifty states. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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