When the topic of conversation is game and fish violations, most people might assume that high-profile cases like hunting on posted land or some type of big game hunting violation, such as not tagging a deer or exceeding the limit, are the most common.
While each of these cases might garner some individual attention, they are far outnumbered in the frequency category by violations such as not carrying a license, or not having enough personal flotation devices on a boat. Those and other statistics were part of the annual enforcement division annual report published in the February 2019 issue of North Dakota Outdoors, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s magazine.
In 2018, according to the report, game wardens issued more than 2,400 citations, compared to 2,500 in 2017 and 2,300 in 2016.
Counties with the most violations were Ramsey (343), Williams (227), McKenzie (202), Burleigh (107) and Stutsman (94).
The most common violations and number issued in 2018 were:
- Licensing (622): failure to carry license (347); and hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license (219).
- Fishing (487): exceeding limit (187); aquatic nuisance species violations (86); and excessive lines (78).
- Boating (445): inadequate number of personal flotation devices (214); failure to display boat registration (58); and use of unlicensed/unnumbered boat (52).
- General (263): loaded firearm in vehicle (60); hunting on posted land without permission (54); and littering (42).
- Small game (242): using shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (60); failure to leave identification of sex on game (56); and exceeding limit (17).
- Miscellaneous (180): minor in possession (48); criminal trespass (27); possession of a controlled substance (25); and open container (21).
- Wildlife management areas/refuge (88): failure to obey posted regulations (50); and possession of glass beverage containers (21).
- Big game (57): tagging violations (21); failure to wear orange (10); and chronic wasting disease violations (10).
- Furbearer (34): shining/using artificial light (8); and illegal possession/taking (6).
These are what the numbers show, but what should also be noted is if hunters, landowners or citizens have information on illegal activity, it’s important to take action, as poachers steal from law-abiding hunters and anglers. A poacher who takes a deer out of season or an extra limit of fish has reduced your opportunity.
If you value hunting and fishing, you owe it to yourself to report violations. If you witness or hear about something, contact a game warden directly. Game wardens are stationed throughout the state, and their phone numbers are listed on the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.