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The fundamental principle about planning certainly applies when it comes to spending time outdoors. Planning ahead can help achieve a more positive or preferred outdoors experience.

We likely all have a few stories related to forgetting a shotgun or shells or bait at home, to the ice auger running out of gas on the second hole with no reserves. While those are lapses on individual trips, one of the best tips I can provide is checking the tentative opening dates which have been released for 2019.

While the dates listed below are not necessarily etched in stone, but barring  they are the dates the North Dakota Game and Fish Department will recommend in the various proclamations. The dates don’t become official until the governor signs each individual season proclamation.

Most of the opening dates are part of a rotation that the Game and Fish Department calls “standardized opening dates.” For instance, the standardized opening date for sharp-tailed grouse season is the second Saturday in September, which has a date range of Sept. 8-14.

The deer gun season standardized date is the Friday before Veteran’s Day, which has a range of Nov. 4-10. However, many years ago the state Legislature passed a law that requires deer and other big game seasons to open on a Friday at noon.

Similarly, the Legislature in 2017 passed a law that requires the North Dakota pheasant season to open no later than Oct. 12.

In this day and age of congested schedules and overlapping family events, a little glance ahead at these dates may help reduce future stress.

Tentative opening dates for 2019 include:

• April 13: Spring turkey 

• Aug. 30: Deer and pronghorn bow, mountain lion 

•  Sept. 1: Dove 

• Sept. 13: Youth deer 

• Sept. 14: Grouse, partridge, squirrel 

• Sept. 14: Youth waterfowl 

• Sept. 21: Early resident waterfowl 

• Sept. 28: Regular waterfowl 

•  Oct. 4: Pronghorn gun 

• Oct. 5: Youth pheasant 

•  Oct. 12: Pheasant, fall turkey 

•  Oct. 26: Mink, muskrat, weasel trapping 

• Nov. 8: Deer Gun 

• Nov. 29: Deer Muzzleloader 

Popular activities, such as fishing and coyote hunting, are open year-round, but a new license is needed on April 1.

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