North Dakota Outdoors: your guide to exploring wildlife management areas

Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 12:22 AM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The North Dakota Game and Fish Department manages 235 wildlife management areas statewide, which encompass around 220,000 acres.

“The main purpose of a wildlife management areas is to manage for wildlife. We try to have the highest populations we can on these areas and the best habitat. We do have other activities that go on in some of these management areas, such as shore-fishing and boat ramps and gun ranges, but our number one objective is wildlife management,” said Levi Jacobson, ND Game and Fish wildlife resource management supervisor.

Jacobson says spring and summers are busy with seeding grasses, prescribed burning, planting trees and food plots, setting up grazing rotations and general maintenance to ensure healthy habitats for wildlife and wildlife production.

“We have a number of different types of habitat. We have grasslands, we have woodlands, we have wetlands. We try to manage for all kinds of different species, whether it’s deer, turkey, pheasants, waterfowl and grouse. We maintain the best habitat we can to sustain populations for public hunting,” said Jacobson.

There are rules and regulations people need to follow on wildlife management areas.

“One of the big ones is no dog training on the WMAs, we don’t want to disturb those ground-nesting birds. And there’s no fireworks, they are prohibited year-round. For a full list of the rules and regulations you can go to our website and find that,” said Jacobson.

Camping is allowed on most WMAs.

“Most of them it is restricted to 10 days at a time. However, in some WMAs out west, there’s no camping on Tuesday and Wednesdays. Campfires are allowed, but we just ask people to be cautious and follow the county rules as far as burn bans,” said Jacobson.

There are shooting ranges on WMAs, too.

“There’s two here in the Bismarck-Mandan area, one in Wilton, one in Riverdale, and also one in Williston. And these ranges are provided by us and they’re free, open 365 days a year. And the primary goal of those is to keep people from target shooting off of those shooting ranges on other areas of the WMAs,” said Jacobson.

For more information on wildlife management areas, visit the Game and Fish Department’s website at

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