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Turkey Hunting in North Dakota

North Dakota


Not available

Wild Turkey Population

Merriam's, Easterns, hybrids

Turkey Subspecies


Number of Licenses Sold Annually


License, $15; general game and habitat license, $20; small-game license, $10; fishing, hunting, furbearer certificate, $1

Cost of Resident License and Permit

Residents only (spring)

Nonresidents can hunt fall turkeys.

Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit

Image: MW_merriam_3

Photo by John Hafner

Turkey hunting North Dakota can be a challenge for nonresidents. It's only open to residents in spring. A lottery system is in place for residents. Nonresidents can hunt fall turkeys, so that's an option.

That said, there is one other possibility for visitors interested in spring gobblers. You hunt on Indian lands within a reservation. North Dakota Game and Fish says a tribal license is required, and a state hunting license is not. However, hunting on nontribal lands within an Indian reservation requires a state hunting license. Game taken legally with a tribal license within an Indian reservation can be possessed and transported anywhere in North Dakota.

According to the NDGF, turkeys aren't native to North Dakota. The first introduction occurred in the early 1950s along the Missouri, Knife and Heart rivers. The state's birds are often listed as Merriam's and Easterns, with widespread hybridization. North Dakota hunters took 2,358 birds in 2023. For the best hunting, look to counties adjoining the Missouri and Little Missouri rivers in central and western North Dakota. Any river corridor with timber can produce birds. The state has a variety of public lands, including wildlife management areas. The Bureau of Land Management manages almost 70,000 acres here, largely in the western part of the state. Much of that land is leased for agricultural use but is open to public access. Specific turkey hunting units define options. Also, the state emphasizes that although public land provides varied opportunities for hunters (and anglers) in North Dakota, much of it is on private land. Permission is always required to hunt private land that's posted.

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