Doug Leier Column: North Dakota Hunters, Anglers See First Major Fee Increases In 20 Years


Just about this time last year, the North Dakota legislature was working through a bill that would raise fees for many of the state’s hunting and fishing licenses.

Eventually, Senate Bill 2231 passed the state senate overwhelmingly by a 39-6 vote, and the house followed suit with a vote of 77-15.

While technically the law went into effect in August of 2013, none of the fee increases became valid until 2014. The first people to notice were boat owners, who received their registration renewals earlier this year.

And right away I heard boat owners ask, “When did this happen?”

Understandably, a lot of other anglers and hunters will probably wonder the same thing over the next couple of months, simply because it’s been awhile since the fee increase was in the news, and the first major license-buying period of the year is right around the corner as new fishing licenses are needed starting April 1.

Even right now, prospective 2014 bighorn sheep, moose and elk hunters will notice that the application fee is $5 per species, compared to $3 each in previous years. The application deadline isMarch 26.

Starting about March 15, Game and Fish and its license vendors statewide will start selling 2014-15 fishing and hunting licenses that fall under the new fee structure.

“This is the first time in many years we’ve seen such a wide range of license fee increases,” North Dakota Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said. “State legislators, hunters and anglers voiced overwhelming support during committee hearings and when voted on the floor. We heard that same type of support at statewide advisory board meetings.”

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the cost to license a motorboat under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, increased from $12 to $18; motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length from $24 to $36; and  motorboats at least 20 feet in length from $33 to $45.

Changes to fishing licenses effective April 1, 2014 include:

  • Resident fishing license will increase from $10 to $16.
  • Resident age 65 and older or permanently disabled fishing license from $3 to $5.
  • Resident husband and wife fishing license from $14 to $22.
  • Resident paddlefish tag from $3 to $10.
  • Resident combination license (fishing, small game, general game and habitat) from $32 to $50.
  • Nonresident paddlefish tag from $7.50 to $25.50.
  • Nonresident individual fishing license from $35 to $45.
  • Nonresident husband and wife fishing license from $45 to $60.
  • Nonresident three-day fishing license from $15 to $25.
  • Nonresident 10-day fishing license from $25 to $35.

Other changes to hunting licenses in 2014 include:

  • Resident small game hunting license will increase from $6 to $10.
  • Nonresident small game hunting license from $85 to $100.
  • Resident big game hunting license from $20 to $30 (youth big game license remains at $10).
  • Nonresident big game hunting license from $200 to $250.
  • Nonresident big game bowhunting license from $200 to $250.
  • Resident furbearer license from $7 to $15.
  • Nonresident waterfowl hunting license from $85 to $100.
  • Statewide nonresident waterfowl license from $125 to $150.
  • Nonresident furbearer and nongame license from $25 to $40.
  • Resident swan license from $5 to $10.
  • Nonresident swan license from $25 to $30.
  • Resident crane license from $5 to $10.
  • Nonresident crane license from $5 to $30.
  • Nonresident reciprocal trapping license from $250 to $350.

In addition, the habitat restoration stamp required for the general game license increases from $10 to $17, with $8 (instead of $5) of each habitat stamp sold placed in the Game and Fish Department’s private land habitat and access improvement fund. Leier is a biologist with the Game and Fish Department. He can be reached by email: