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North Dakota Game and Fish Department highlights new outdoors legislation

The bills take effect Aug. 1, except SB 2297, which carries an emergency clause and is effective immediately, and HB 1538, which begins April 1, 2024, the start of the following license year.

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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

BISMARCK – The North Dakota Game and Fish Department tracked 20 outdoors-related bills during the 2023 legislative session, of which 12 passed both chambers and were signed into law by Gov. Doug Burgum.

The following bills take effect Aug. 1, except Senate Bill 2297, which carries an emergency clause and is effective immediately, and House Bill 1538, which begins April 1, 2024, the start of the following license year.

  • HB 1014: Provides an appropriation for defraying the expenses of the industrial commission and agencies under its control. This includes the Outdoor Heritage Fund at $15 million.
  • HB 1134: Nonresident current North Dakota national guard members are eligible to receive resident licenses, except lottery permits.
  • HB 1224: Allows a 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.
  • HB 1233: Allows a 11-, 12- and 13-year-old antlerless white-tailed deer youth hunter to also hunt during the regular deer gun season.
  • 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.
  • HB 1366: Allows an individual engaged in barefoot skiing or surfing to wear a wet suit. A life preserver must be on board the towing vessel for an individual barefoot skiing or surfing.
  • 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.
  • HB 1538: Relates to fishing. Established a $50 entry fee for a fishing contest, an application fee of $75 for all tournaments, a conservation fee of an amount to be determined between the tournament sponsor and a representative of the fishing tournament (except for nonprofits), post contest reporting requirements, Game and Fish establishes a fishery conservation fund, and a surcharge of $5 on each nonresident fishing license. Effective April 1, 2024.
  • SB 2017: Establishes an appropriation of $107,611,466 to the Game and Fish Department for the biennium beginning July 1, 2023, and ending June 30, 2025.
  • 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.
  • 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. Emergency clause carried; effective immediately.
  • SB 2382: Provides clarity to the motorboat numbering exemptions section of the North Dakota Century Code.
Doing your part to follow the rules to help reduce the potential introduction or spread of aquatic nuisance species is the best decision for all.

A complete list of bills can be found on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.

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