Here’s What Hunters Expect From North Dakota’s 2021 PLOTS Program
North Dakota's waterfowl season got underway this past weekend, and the highly anticipated pheasant opener is less than two weeks away on Saturday, October 9th.
Thousands of rooster hunters will take to the field in a sea of blaze orange in search of North Dakota's most prized bird, the Ring-necked Pheasant. There are lots of moving parts to this season, including electronic posting in the state of North Dakota. You can read about that here. The drought will certainly come into play this season as well. Dry conditions, less water, less grass, and fewer hunting spots. This will lead to more competition among hunters for prime hunting spots. Another issue is trying to buy shotgun shells. Hopefully, you stocked up over the past year. In general, hunters are urged to curb their expectations this season.
As far as North Dakota's PLOTS program (Private Land Open To Sportsman), you can expect to find about the same amount of acreage in the program. According to a video posted to YouTube from the North Dakota Game and Fish, about 800,000 acres are enrolled in the program for 2021. That's down just slightly from last season. Back In the hay day of the PLOTS program, there were over a million acres.
Contracts for PLOTS acreage vary from two years all the way up to 20 years. Each contract has provisions for landowners to do such things as haying or even allowing cows on the land for part of the season. Rules remain the same, walk-in hunting only. Driving on the land to set up decoys, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, or other activities would require written permission from the landowner.
You can still find printed copies of PLOTS at stores like Scheels around town, but the demand for that has gone way down with online and app versions.
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