Duck Hunting in North Dakota

North Dakota, Duck Hunting Nation State, Waterfowl Hunting, Waterfowl Hunting

North Dakota



Duck Statewide Harvest


Goose Statewide Harvest


No. Waterfowl Licenses Sold Annually


Ducks Per Hunter


Geese Per Hunter

$10; general game and habitat license: $10; fishing, hunting, furbearer certificate: $1

Cost of Resident Waterfowl Hunting License

Early Canada goose $5; sandhill crane $10; swan: $10

Cost of Resident State Stamps and Permits


Federal Duck Stamp

$103 to $153

Cost of Non-Resident Waterfowl Hunting License

Early Canada goose $50; spring light goose $50; swan: $30; sandhill crane $30; general game and habitat license: $20fishing, hunting, furbearer certificate: $2;

Cost of Non-Resident State Stamps and Permits


Federal Duck Stamp

You owe it to yourself to hunt North Dakota at least once in a duck hunting lifetime. Only problem is, you can't do North Dakota just once.

Why is North Dakota so great? It has habitat, ducks and places to hunt. Add over-the-counter licenses for nonresidents, and the state gets an easy A rating.

The habitat part is straightforward: grass, water and grain make North Dakota duck heaven. From eastern potholes, fertile river bottoms and the central Prairie Coteau to the Missouri River and out to wetlands in the western grasslands, the Peace Garden State is a duck factory.

The ducks are there early, and the hunting for resident teal, gadwalls, mallards and wigeon can be spectacular. But the ducks are there late, too. When the residents move out, Canadian ducks move in, and diver hunting can be exceptional during the late October and November migration too.

Finally, the state has plenty of places to hunt. Between North Dakota's extensive PLOTS (Private Lands Open to Sportsmen program), wildlife management areas and more than 230,000 aces of federal waterfowl production areas, not to mention state school lands generally open to public hunting, you don't even have to knock on a door to find good hunting.

That said, knocking on doors can work, too. It's probably not as effective early for resident ducks (landowners tend to be protective of the teal and mallard broods they saw all summer). But when the migrants are swarming through, permission can be gained relatively easily. Bring a child along for an ace in the hole.

Don't overlook North Dakota as a goose hotbed, as hunters there took more than 162,000 geese in 2021-'22. And did we mention you can hunt sandhill cranes there too?

Notes: Multiple licenses and certificates required to hunt waterfowl, for residents and nonresidents. Nonresident waterfowl licenses are over the counter, but restricted to seven or 14 total days of hunting.

— Compiled and written by Tom Carpenter

Photo © Hannu Rama/Shutterstock

Seasons and Bag Limits