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Doug Leier: PLOTS guide, Duck Stamp among topics to consider as hunting seasons begin

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's 2020 Private Land Open To Sportsmen guide features about 800,000 PLOTS acres.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen Guide for 2020 is now available. (Photo/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department)

While there’s plenty of chatter about bowhunting, chasing upland game and planning for waterfowl and pheasant openers, there are a few topics that don’t specifically pertain to any particular hunting season or activity.

For instance.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen Guide for 2020 is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov . In addition, the free printed PLOTS Guide, which is not available to mail, can be found at most license vendors and other locations throughout the state, and at Game and Fish offices. The PLOTS Guide features maps highlighting walk-in areas, identified in the field by inverted triangular yellow signs, as well as other public lands.

The guide features about 800,000 PLOTS acres. Because the guide was printed in mid-August, some PLOTS tracts highlighted in the guide may have been removed from the program since the time of printing.

There will also be some PLOTS tracts where the habitat and condition of the tract will have changed significantly. Conversely, Game and Fish may have added new tracts to the program after the guide went to press. To minimize possible confusion, Game and Fish will update PLOTS map sheets weekly on its website.


The guides are not available to mail, so hunters will have to pick one up at a local vendor or Game and Fish offices or print individual maps from the website.

Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are reminded a federal duck stamp is required for hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers and coots.

This year’s 2020-21 Federal Duck Stamp is available for electronic purchase through the Game and Fish Department’s website, instant licensing telephone number at (800) 406-6409 or at license vendors registered with the department’s licensing system. Physical stamps are not available at North Dakota license vendors, but they can be purchased at many U.S. Postal Service offices.

The electronic stamp is a purchase item like any other hunting or fishing license. When the purchase is completed, the electronic stamp is valid immediately. Federal Duck Stamp will be printed on the license certificate, along with an expiration date 45 days from the date of purchase. The actual physical stamp will be sent by postal mail.

The physical stamp is processed and sent by the official Duck Stamp vendor in Texas and should arrive well before the expiration date printed on the electronic license. The physical stamp must remain in possession of the hunter after the 45-day electronic stamp has expired.

The Federal Duck Stamp has a fee of $25. An additional $1.50 fee is added to cover shipping and handling costs of the physical stamp. Anyone with questions about the status of their physical stamp can contact the Federal Duck Stamp vendor customer service number at (800) 852-4897.

Hunters, trappers and anglers are reminded that an equipment registration number, or their name, address and telephone number, must be displayed on all equipment requiring identification.

While on state wildlife management areas, identification is required on items such as ground blinds, tree stands, cameras and traps. Identification must be attached to cable devices that are set on either private or public land, and on fish houses left unattended on the ice.


Owners can generate an equipment registration number by clicking Buy and Apply on the department’s website. One registration number will be issued that can be used on all equipment that requires identification.

The equipment registration number does not expire.

Leier is an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Reach him at dleier@nd.gov.

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Doug Leier

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