North Dakota Hunting Reports


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  4. Season opened this morning and heavy rain in the north near the border. Up to 2 inches are forecasted for next 2 days will put water in potholes and fields. Little water leaves lots of mud for anyone hunting water. Magoo and I will get after them when rain subsides, here we go boys!

    • Heavy rain left and windy all day. Magoo and I managed Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and Pintail today. Lots of fields have standing water and harvest is at standstill. We found a slough loaded with ducks, seems like thousands in there for another day. Temps should stay warm for 10 days, be nice to get grain off before migration starts

    • George Schneider

      We are going to be hunting out of Upham the week of 10/15.
      Any reports/updates on conditions would be greatly appreciated. Never hunted ND before.

    • Water everywhere. Fields flooded in many areas of northeast and north central ND. Birds are very spread out. Not many visible from driving around but we had good to very good results. Hunting is by far better in the morning and especially at early dawn. This is actually unusual for ND as per past experience as many times you will not see a lot of bird movement until sunrise or even an hour past sunrise. We ended up with eleven species of duck on opening day that is quite remarkable; not sure if that has happened before on the opener.

      The weather was warm in the 70’s with strong winds out of the south and southeast. There actually were some northern ducks in our bag; many drake species were in very close to full color. That is also unusual the first couple days in October.

      It looks to be a strange duck hunting season; no two are ever the same. As the weather changes, so will the duck movement. The harvest is delayed in many areas because of wet and flooded fields to this will also have an impact on migration and duck numbers.

      We will hunt again in late October. Hopefully, the weather will be more seasonal and there will have been several hard freezes by then. We swatted swarms of mosquitoes the first two days. Monday, October 3rd was so windy the skeeters stayed away.

      Good luck to those hunting ND this season. Be safe and wear a life jacket if you hunt on bigger water.

      • Christopher Mayhew

        Mark Can you give any update on the Devils Lake area for this weekend? Looking to head back up as we had a good hunt in mid Oct. Want to get into some Divers. Aay word would be helpful.


  5. Going to be in ND full time this year starting September. Lots of water, crops starting to get taken off in the north as I have people at my camp from Alberta right now. So I can help ethical hunters with honest reports in the north as well as the Lake region where I will hunt too.

    • Geese are starting to bunch up in the north. Very warm still, sloughs are drying up in the north. Harvest is under way, starting to see some ducks use fresh cut grain fields, nice group of honkers picking a grain field this morning on way to work. With low water, access may be tough to those hunting sloughs.

    • We’re heading to Lakota as we speak. A little leary as we came 2 weeks later last year and had excellent hunting. I will update as the week goes by on how we do. Hopefully we didn’t come too soon!

      • Please keep me posted I will be heading out there on the 28th and we hunted Lakota every year for the last 5 years Any information would help.

  6. I haven’t been to NoDak since 2011. The first time I went in 1999 there wasn’t hardly any posted land. In 2011 just about the whole state was posted. Really hard to drive 1250 miles only to hear “no”. I can get that in Pennsylvania all day long. In 2013 I discovered Sask., sad to say my days of hunting Nodak are probably over. It’s a shame too….

  7. Hunted far North Central North Dakota 10/17 – 10/20 where the plains meet the Turtle mountain area. Myself and hunting partner have hunted this area for the past 12+ years and bye far this was the worst hunt we have had in that we left early due to such warm temperatures and lack of birds.
    The plains are very low on water and where we found some water very few birds. If your a crane hunter we saw thousands of them but not many honkers either. In the turtle mountains the water level is good with a little better population both ducks and honkers but still nothing like years past.
    I think the weather in this area was just to warm with nothing being pushed down or I believe the migration route has been shifting to the west. Hopefully in a few weeks thinks will pick-up for any hunters heading into this area

  8. any reports from eastern North Dakota? Leaving in the am

    • Looks like the site continues to dwindle. Use to be a field editor and shot reports like crazy while in ND, now see nothing for almost a year :((
      But I shall be leaving northern Ontario for ND early November for a while. If anyone has reports or wants to hunt up near the Manitoba border, feel free to shoot me an email at
      Have a great season hunters!

    • Hey I am hopeful to get this up and going again with active honest reports. Season started and was slow from a friends report as it was very warm, but plenty of birds and water is good.

    • Here is a field report for northeastern ND for the nonresident opener October 3rd and 4th 2015:

      I own 400 acres in the prime pothole land of the area of Devils lake, ND. Waterfowl numbers are down at least 75% in this area over 2006 numbers that was the first year I owned the land up there. Waterfowl numbers are down 95% from the best years we hunted this area dating back to 1997-98. Many potholes are completely void of ducks. Yes, I said “completely void of ducks”.

      In good years, nearly every body of water from a small roadside ditch to a large lake slough held birds. Bird numbers could range in the tens of birds to hundreds of birds and, on occasion, to over 1,000 birds in a single slough. This past weekend, bird numbers were so poor that we did not even hunt in our area. There was little chance of harvesting a limit, and quite frankly, we were afraid to for fear of shooting up the few resident birds that are in the area.

      For those hunters traveling from far off in southern States, I strongly advise you to study the migration maps and get as many positive field reports as you can accomplish before you make a long trip that will only disappoint you in the end. You may want to consider a later visit to North Dakota to catch the migration as it passes through the State in late October and the first week of November.

      I am being told by the ND Game and Fish Department the birds have dispersed to other areas but the real truth is that the birds simply did not nest in this area of the State like they have in past seasons. These are not my opinions but the facts observed by area farmers who said the ducks simply did not migrate through the area in the Spring of 2015 to build nests and raise a brood. Reasons are not entirely clear. However, I talked with a Bismarck field representative and he indicated that they had little Winter snow melt in this area. The seasonal water was very poor in the month of April. They did have considerable Spring rains but not until May 10th. Some late nesting birds did roost in the area, but the numbers are embarrassing as compared to even 2013. Other factors probably include the lack of CRP land that was prime habitat for nesting ducks where they were undisturbed from agriculture and predators. You can thank your president for allowing the land subsidies to farmers to evaporate after September 30, 2012.

      In the end, we did end up with a few birds but our harvest was intentionally reduced by our own decisions to let the birds catch a break. We did manage to have a mixed bag of ten species of duck in the thirty birds we shot in two days of hunting. Realize that the numbers for our hunting party are usually closer to 90-100 for opening weekend that we hunt through Monday or Tuesday. This year, we cut it short after hunting only through Sunday morning. And we hunted a new area considerably south of where we usually hunt.

      We are hoping that our second visit to ND will be better than the first. We hope to hunt the migration but, as waterfowl hunters, we know this changes from year to year. I have been frozen off of sloughs as early as mid-October in ND (two inches of ice). Other years, we have had 60 degree temps as late as Halloween.

      Good luck to those of you venturing to ND this season. There will be good times for many of you and there is still excellent goose hunting in the traditional flyways of the State.

  9. Our second visit to Northeastern ND wasn’t great for seeing many birds. In fact, it was quite depressing because many typical hot spots were practically void of ducks. As a result, we were forced to scout and it eventually paid off. We found a slough that we had checked out in previous years but had never hunted before. The wind was fairly calm around 2:00 pm and nothing was flying. So, we took a chance and dumped two boats into this large slough and rowed about 1/3 of a mile. We set up two boats about 300 yards apart and seemed to get lucky as we four ducks down in the first ten minutes after we had set up our decoy spreads. Within an hour, we had fourteen ducks and seven different species including canvasback, redhead, greater and lesser scaup, bufflehead, mallard and pintail. After only shooting four birds in the morning, we finished a limit in the afternoon in short order and picked up around 4:30 with two hours left of shooting time.

    The wind switched to a strong southeast wind the next morning. I mean it was howling at 25-30 mph. We hunted the same slough but obviously set up on an end at least 1/4 mile from the previous afternoon. The ducks starting moving right from the break of dawn and action was fast and furious. We shot 18 ducks by 9:00 am with a 7:30 legal shooting time that morning. We would have been done even earlier but spent nearly half the time chasing a couple cripples and retrieving our dead birds on the water that moved about hundred yards every two minutes with that strong SE wind. Another nice mixed bag with nine species in the 18 bird count. Some really nice colored out drake divers along with a couple nice triple curl mallards. We even shot two drake spooners that were nearly in full color. They are really beautiful birds when they get into mating plumage.

  10. Hi All,

    Coming to the Jamestown area Oct. 16-20. How has the hunting been? I’m bringing my dad and uncle who are on the older side. Any suggestions for field hunts or water hunts in the area, or suggestions strategies? thanks!

  11. House for rent in northern ND. Fully furnished, plenty of water and ducks this year! Harvest is just starting, pm me for more information!

  12. Hope the site is getting along, guess we shall see??

  13. I need e-mail address for the game and fish dept.Wanted information on their season and license prices.Page used to have their home page.What happened to it.

  14. Hey guys, anyone hunting near jamestown this year? thinking of coming there next year!

    • yah we do—live here

    • how was the hunting and water level this year? field hunts good?

      • water levels overall is still favorable yet many smaller ones are gone. We saw more ducks this fall than we have a many year- Mallards did hold firm till this storm hit this week. The ace we have around here is the large bodys of water that tend to stay open longer than the smaller ones. Many of these lakes have great fish populations so we see guys fishing earlier and hunting later–kind of great way to spend a fall. We have few acres of CRP so sometime shortly I do expect numbers to fall unless water makes huge comeback-pretty sure farmers will not welcome that tho.

      • Awesome. Thanks for the info. i live in montana, hunting in december and january can be pretty good for late season mallards if you can find some warm springs.

  15. Charles Fitzgibbon

    Hunted North and East of Devils Lake region 10/20-10/26 and up to Starkweather on sloughs potholes have hunted in the past since 2002, all field corn around the region is standing soy beans are still coming off, very few mallards working the fields and just not a lot of ducks we hunted, the first farm I stopped at outside of Crary told me the corn won’t be off for a month, too wet, snow geese starting to show up all week, but that 1:00 p.m closure except Wednesday and Saturday is not good, field conditions were drier North and west of the lake region, took a drive on the 26th around Lake Alice at sun up and was not impressed with the morning flight, but as always the folks were really nice we managed a mix bag of two possession limits to bring home but no geese! Just remember the face of North Dakota is changing oil, gas, wind turbines, all that good stuff, some locals wish away.

  16. Hunted the non resident opener in south central NO.Dak. Saturday a pesky rain made for a difficult hunt, but our group managed 9 ducks..mixed bag, mallards, pintail, gadwall. returned to the same stubble field Sunday, blue bird morning and the ducks rained in…twenty for four guys….Monday…third times a charm back to the same stubble field and 15 more…. mostly mallards….crops starting to come off, but it will be a mid to late october harvest. Great to be back in gods country

  17. Son went up to NW corner of the state Sept 28~29 and did great on Gadwalls,Widgeon and blue wing teal north of Battleview. A few young mallards were in the bag, but not many. Of the 6 people in the group, almost everybody got their 6 ducks each day with mixed bag. I was up by Leal Saturday 28th, not much in puddles and lots of pressure. Went to Gackle on sunday with my other son, Found lots of young mallards, teal and posted land. Did get 10 ducks by 11:00 from puddle jumping. Zigzagged back to Valley City without finding any ducks NOT on posted land. Didn’t have a platt map, so didn’t attempt to contact land owners. Just a heads up to anybody venturing into the area to have access to landowners somehow. They are usually very friendly and willing to let you on, they mostly just want to know.

  18. This summer was not kind to ND as severe drought hit James River Region from Jamestown to Sd border and 50miles west. Many of our good small slew are no more and many are being dug again. Many of our larger lakes have gone down also so cover will be scarce to say the least around here. I strongly suggest checking out your favorite spot before showing up as the change is really unbelievable in some areas. Of course fall rains can help and the month of August we have picked up some rainfall but not enuff to slow down the drought with these warm temps. Most of the puddle ducks are not really present like they were earlier in July-I am seeing small flocks of grain feeding ducks going out in evenings. Teal numbers look good and seeing nice numbers in certain areas of Stutsman County. The hatch was very late for everything even the large Canadas. Something different I have not ever witnessed in ND saw a pair of snow geese with 3 young with them on Monday just west of Medina ND. I have seen the pair on and off all summer and figured maybe something neat is happening. They did look healthy and were flying with mom and dad into the water.

    • Hey Paul,

      I’m heading up from Kansas in two weeks – meeting a group from Wisconsin out in Wishek/Lehr area. Any update on bird numbers, pot hole conditions, etc.?


      • duck numbers are suprising–with fewer bodies of water than past 3 years ducks are more confined which can only mean better hunting. Lehr and Wishek areas were also hit hard by drought this summer some rain has fallen through that area but amounts I do not know. My guess is it will look similar to the Kulm-Gackle areas which have greened up the past weeks. Duck numbers especially mallards are very respectable in these areas. Should be good time to chase the curly tail buggers–enjoy the hunt

  19. Hope we can get a VFE or other members in N. Dakota to post.I don’t know if it is the new format or what,seems like less reporting from several states.Rick Nelson was an great VFE in N. Dakota,not seen any posts from him for all of last season.

  20. first time-r
    Spring has left us in ND but re-trying once again to re-appear. Lsst week very large number of birds(mostly snows) near Spiritwood area with no pressure other than one group. West and south of Jamestown had very large numbers with no hunters. East of Montpelier unbelieable numbers and again no hunters. We do not chase snows in the spring-enjoy pictures and watching-fall totally different story. Guys get up here the birds are sitting close to roads and they do not seem spooky. Have to believe with snow cover best hunting will be jumping or pass shooting as fields are only passable to feet. Please make sure you ask area farmers friendly if asked but they get upset if you just go.

    • Paul — thanks for the update. How are the potholes looking for nesting season?

      • After a slow start to spring the quick turn around has left us very dry-hard to believe all the snow and pot holes are at premium. Appears to me most of ducks kept going north. We still have more water than we did back in 90’s but the good rearing holes are no more.
        If things stay as they look right now finding anything but large water will tuff to find this fall. Good/bad news-Canada geese all over-farmers are very concerned on how to handle as most farmers lose minnium of 80acres to grazing birds. (which means loss of crop and profits) these 2 partys are having troubles getting along right now and I see more trouble brewing.

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