North Dakota Bowfishing Season Opens May 1

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North Dakota’s bowfishing season opens May 1 and participants are reminded to properly dispose of the fish they take.

Robert Timian, enforcement chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said there is a lot of littering, with people leaving dead fish on a shoreline or in the water.

“Bowfishing is a legal activity, but leaving the fish in the water or on shore is not legal,” Timian said. “Participants must dispose of their fish properly, preferably by burying their take in an appropriate location.”

Game wardens and other law enforcement officers have the authority to cite persons for this violation, Timian said, with the minimum penalty a $100 littering violation and the maximum a Class B misdemeanor which can bring up to a $1,000 fine and possible loss of fishing, hunting privileges.

Other regulations include:

  • Game fish may not be taken with bow/arrows or spears.
  • It is illegal to return fish to the water after they are shot or speared.
  • Legal archery equipment is any bow to which an arrow is attached by a line and equipped with a harpoon style point or wire-barbed point.
  • Use of night vision equipment or electronically enhanced light-gathering optics, including all lights used for locating and shooting at fish, is legal.
  • Crossbows are prohibited except with a special director’s permit that may be issued if an individual is permanently disabled.

For more information, including open areas, refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide.