North Dakota Whitetail

cjthomas2

FNG
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
40
I know how non residents get treated on some forums so not looking to be torn apart on here but I have a few questions for people that have archery hunted North Dakota or residents.

I’ll be in North Dakota for work the last week of October and thinking of taking some time off and chase some whitetail. I’m trying to find a little insight aside from what I can find on the Game and Fish website.

I planned on hopping around public and put miles on looking for deer but wanted to see what everyone’s experience is with land that is not posted? I know landowners can now post electronically so I will have maps downloaded prior to the trip. I have read the laws, it just feels weird to be able to walk onto unposted land.

Secondly, I know there was a harsh winter this last year and I cannot find anywhere that has posted if there was a bad winter kill. I’ll be focusing in the southeast portion of the state. Sheyenne national grassland is definitely catching my eye with a chance to get away from roads.

Any insight would be a great help.


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Edge

FNG
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
31
The winter kill was bad in 2G1, probably over 30%. My hunting partner was hauling dead deer out of the yard that had bedded and never got up again. The trail cam pics this year are way down on the numbers compared to previous years and we haven't gotten an old bruiser on camera yet. The old guys tend to get worn down after the rut and the bad weather kicked in the 2nd week of Nov last year and didn't let up.

As for dates, late October has tended to be tough hunting as it's the lull before the rut. We have shifted to an early October hunt when able over Columbus Day weekend and have done well. The best time starts late the first week of Nov.

Good luck!
 

WCB

WKR
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
3,207
I hunt ND every year. If it is not posted I have never had a problem with landowners if they come across you hunting it. I have tracked down landowners just to ask even though it wasn't posted and every time they say something to the effect of. "it aint posted is it?" or "I didn't post it so I don't have to take calls or have people stopping over asking all the time".

Some areas including the area I hunt had 50+% die off. Certain winter herds in the area had upwards of 80%. Herds that were only 5 or 6 miles apart in the winter had very different survival rates talking to the farmers that had to scoop the bodies off of roads and out of fields/ditches come spring thaw.

Depending on where you are at you will have to deal with Pheasant and Waterfowl hunters. I believe the areas around the Sheyenne Grasslands saw up to a 30% die off...which was pretty good compared to a bunch of other places around the state.

I will go against what Edge said above. If you are hunting the last week of Oct and the weather is not warm it can be great hunting. I've hunted the second to last week for 3 days or so and then came back for the last week of Oct for almost 20 years. around the 20th -24th or so can be slow. But usually a switch flip around the 28th and you will see stuff tore to shreds and have bucks moving like crazy. I've shot a bunch of deer the last week and most were rattled or grunted in. Of course the 1st week of Nov. is great but the last week of Oct treats us just fine.
 

Dmbjr

FNG
Joined
Sep 21, 2023
Messages
30
I hunt ND every year. If it is not posted I have never had a problem with landowners if they come across you hunting it. I have tracked down landowners just to ask even though it wasn't posted and every time they say something to the effect of. "it aint posted is it?" or "I didn't post it so I don't have to take calls or have people stopping over asking all the time".

Some areas including the area I hunt had 50+% die off. Certain winter herds in the area had upwards of 80%. Herds that were only 5 or 6 miles apart in the winter had very different survival rates talking to the farmers that had to scoop the bodies off of roads and out of fields/ditches come spring thaw.

Depending on where you are at you will have to deal with Pheasant and Waterfowl hunters. I believe the areas around the Sheyenne Grasslands saw up to a 30% die off...which was pretty good compared to a bunch of other places around the state.

I will go against what Edge said above. If you are hunting the last week of Oct and the weather is not warm it can be great hunting. I've hunted the second to last week for 3 days or so and then came back for the last week of Oct for almost 20 years. around the 20th -24th or so can be slow. But usually a switch flip around the 28th and you will see stuff tore to shreds and have bucks moving like crazy. I've shot a bunch of deer the last week and most were rattled or grunted in. Of course the 1st week of Nov. is great but the last week of Oct treats us just fine.
So sad to see how devastating the winters can be. About 10 years ago I found 22 deer that were in their winter yarding area all passed.
 

WCB

WKR
Joined
Jun 12, 2019
Messages
3,207
So sad to see how devastating the winters can be. About 10 years ago I found 22 deer that were in their winter yarding area all passed.
This year I went out right after melt off...in fact there were still a few roads drifted in. I walked 8 miles one day looking for sheds...only found 1 shed and 1 dead fawn. Saw tons of deer on the walk really looked not to be effected. Drove to another spot where deer yard up. Farmer said he believe 75-80% of that herd died as he spent 2 days piling up dead deer out of his fields and the ditches immediately around his farm. Even then I could sit in one spot on the road and count 12 dead deer within 200 yards of the road.
 

Novashooter

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Aug 14, 2023
Messages
286
This year I went out right after melt off...in fact there were still a few roads drifted in. I walked 8 miles one day looking for sheds...only found 1 shed and 1 dead fawn. Saw tons of deer on the walk really looked not to be effected. Drove to another spot where deer yard up. Farmer said he believe 75-80% of that herd died as he spent 2 days piling up dead deer out of his fields and the ditches immediately around his farm. Even then I could sit in one spot on the road and count 12 dead deer within 200 yards of the road.

This has been my experience in South Dakota too. Whitetails are very adaptable, but it seems their lack of desire to travel really hurts them bad in winters like this. One area with a lot of shelter they could have been fine, and others it's so open few survived. It seems most whitetails will not travel more than a few miles in their home range. Where I live is kind of inbetween. There is some shelter, not a ton. The shelter belts were mostly useless this winter as they became snow fences to 10'+ tall snow drifts. I'm sure food was really hard to get to. Some local people would blow the fields to give animals a place to get to the food which helped. I had some really scruffy looking deer in my yard come April. Many never made it to May. This time of year on a good year I should be seeing 5-10 deer in the hay field when I come home at night. Currently I'm seeing mostly 0, sometimes 1 or 2... and yet I can drive 5 miles away to an area that has more shelter, and it's absolutely stacked with deer.

Deer numbers overall are way down in the Dakotas, but I'm guessing they should have fared better than antelope. About the non-posted land thing, it's not a huge deal. You aren't going to find an unposted 10 acres of woods, it's almost all agricultural crop fields. I haven't hunted ND since 2020, but it was already slim pickings then. I think that was the year before they started the electronic posting, it actually could have been that year it started. I did manage to field goose hunt one unposted field. Every other viable hunting field was posted. There's not a ton of public land in ND either. The last week in October is usually the most busy for waterfowl hunters, generally that's the peak of the migration. I am very familiar with the area you are looking at. I've been driving through there on highway 13 every weekend for the past 6 weeks. It's an area that's hunted a lot by waterfowl and pheasant hunters. I can't say what it's like deer hunting specifically. I would have to think that Sheyenne national grassland gets hunted for deer a lot. When it comes to public land deer, my instinct is always to ignore the most obvious choice.

My advice is to find an area that looks like it has decent winter cover, which can be trees, cat tails, or even just a hilly area (which will stick out like a sore thumb in that flat as a pancake area). If you can get away from the duck or pheasant hunters, do that. A lot of deer tend to abandon thin tree lines and go deep into cat tails for bedding when they get pushed around like that.
 

Edge

FNG
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
31
As I mentioned earlier in the thread, this weekend tends to be a good one. Had two bucks pop on camera for the first time this year, the bigger one:
spypoint.jpg
 
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Jrcole51

FNG
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
12
I know how non residents get treated on some forums so not looking to be torn apart on here but I have a few questions for people that have archery hunted North Dakota or residents.

I’ll be in North Dakota for work the last week of October and thinking of taking some time off and chase some whitetail. I’m trying to find a little insight aside from what I can find on the Game and Fish website.

I planned on hopping around public and put miles on looking for deer but wanted to see what everyone’s experience is with land that is not posted? I know landowners can now post electronically so I will have maps downloaded prior to the trip. I have read the laws, it just feels weird to be able to walk onto unposted land.

Secondly, I know there was a harsh winter this last year and I cannot find anywhere that has posted if there was a bad winter kill. I’ll be focusing in the southeast portion of the state. Sheyenne national grassland is definitely catching my eye with a chance to get away from roads.

Any insight would be a great help.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I know how non residents get treated on some forums so not looking to be torn apart on here but I have a few questions for people that have archery hunted North Dakota or residents.

I’ll be in North Dakota for work the last week of October and thinking of taking some time off and chase some whitetail. I’m trying to find a little insight aside from what I can find on the Game and Fish website.

I planned on hopping around public and put miles on looking for deer but wanted to see what everyone’s experience is with land that is not posted? I know landowners can now post electronically so I will have maps downloaded prior to the trip. I have read the laws, it just feels weird to be able to walk onto unposted land.

Secondly, I know there was a harsh winter this last year and I cannot find anywhere that has posted if there was a bad winter kill. I’ll be focusing in the southeast portion of the state. Sheyenne national grassland is definitely catching my eye with a chance to get away from roads.

Any insight would be a great help.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I just came across this thread. Being a ND resident just curious how you did, did you fill your tag?
 
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