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Help protect North Dakota's declining mountain lion population!

In the box below you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

  • Return to the portal page for North Dakota.

  • The status of Puma concolor in North Dakota.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in North Dakota.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in North Dakota.

  • Cougar science and research in North Dakota.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

North Dakota Cougar Laws and Regulations

Species Status

Mountain lions are classified as a fur-bearing species (N.D. Cent. Code Section 20.1-01-02).

Hunting Law

North Dakota's mountain lion hunting season for firearms and archery runs from September through March. Hound hunting is permitted and that season runs from the end of November through March. Each hunter may take one mountain lion per season and must notify North Dakota Game and Fish Department within 12 hours of killing a mountain lion. In addition, they must present the carcass intact for analysis and tagging. The carcass is returned to the hunter so they can keep the pelt, but the rest of the carcass becomes property of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Hunters must have a furbearer license or a combination license, in addition to a Fishing, Hunting, and Furbearer Certificate. The use of artificial lights and calls is permitted. Trapping is not permitted, neither is hunting spotted kittens.

Hunting quotas include mountain lions killed by hunters, USDA Wildlife Services, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, private landowners defending their livestock, road killed animals, incidental animals killed by traps or snares, and animals taken for human safety issues. Quotas do not include mountain lions killed on tribal lands, with the exception of mountain lions taken on the Fort Berthold Reservation (which are included in the quota).

Visit the North Dakota state website for further details about use of firearms and archery equipment and seasons for hunts.

The Legislature

The Legislative Assembly is made up from the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate may consist of 40-54 members and the House may consist of 80-108 members. Legislative members take office December 1 of even-numbered years, for example, a new assembly will be appointed in 2018. The Legislative Assembly meets in regular session the following January, for example, a new session will start january 2019.

You can find all the information about contacting senators, history, management, and scheduled events on their website.

State Regulation

You can find all the information about the code here on their website. All information regarding fur-bearing animal regulations and management can be found on the North Dakota Legislative Branch Website under their Century Codes page. Under Title 20.1 and chapter 20.1-07 you can find these regulations.

You can also access the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to find more information about hunting laws and regulations of wildlife in North Dakota.

Public Safety Law

Killing a lion outside a regulated hunting season is prohibited, unless there is a human safety risk. Mountain lions deemed to be a substantial, unpreventable threat to public safety (or property, bighorn sheep, or other species of high public interest) may be killed. North Dakota Game and Fish Department has considered relocating problem animals, but determined that this was not a suitable option.

The code (section 20.1-07-04) states that "where a lion is a repeat offender or is judged to be a substantial threat to property or public safety, it may be killed by the landowner or tenant or that person's agent. Additionally, a lion may be dispatched by Department personnel or by Wildlife Services personnel upon approval by the Department Director or designee if a lion is judged to be a substantial threat to property, public safety, bighorn sheep or other species of high public interest. Game and Fish personnel and Wildlife Services personnel must IMMEDIATELY OBTAIN PERMISSION from one of the following: Director, Deputy Director, Wildlife Division Chief, or Assistant Wildlife Division Chief of the Game and Fish Department for authority to dispatch a mountain lion under these circumstances."

Depredation Law

The Depredation Code reads as follows:

"20.1-07-04. Depredating fur-bearing animals - Destruction and disposition. A landowner or tenant or that person's agent may catch or kill any wild fur-bearing animal that is committing depredations upon that person's poultry, domestic animals, or crops, except a landowner or tenant or that person's agent shall notify and obtain the approval of the director before catching or killing a black bear. A landowner or tenant or that person's agent may not commercialize in, sell, or ship an animal or the pelt or any part of an animal caught or killed under this section if caught or killed during the closed season. A person catching or killing a black bear or mountain lion under this section shall report the capture or killing to the department within twenty-four hours and the entire animal must be turned over to the department."


Fur bearing animal regulations can be found on this website. The code reads:

"Any person violating a provision of this chapter for which a penalty is not specifically provided is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. 20.1-07-06. Unlawful possession of fur-bearers - Each violation is a distinct offense. No person may unlawfully: 1. Kill, take, attempt to take, possess, transport, accept for transportation, buy, sell, offer for sale, barter, or otherwise dispose of any fur-bearing animal or any part thereof. 2. Take or attempt to take any fur-bearer outside a regularly prescribed season or without a license or as provided in section 20.1-07-04, or violate any of this chapter. Each violation constitutes a distinct and separate offense."

Road Mortalities

You can find information on regulations for handling and collecting roadkill here.

In order to pick up roadkill, a permit must be obtained. A call to a North Dakota Game and Fish Warden would be required for mortalities of furbearers.

Click here to visit the scorecard's website...

Environmental Scorecard

League of Conservation Voters

The League of Conservation Voters' scorecard considers the State Legislature's environmental records since 1971. It quantifies the environmental votes of each individual legislator — an important first step in considering accountability — and provides critical qualitative assessments as well. The scorecard will help you to know your legislator before you write a letter in support of cougars.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Commonly abbreviated as: NDGFD

Kim Kary, Division Chief

Main Office:
100 N. Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58501-50951
(701) 328-6300

Game Management Section
Leader and Furbearer Biologist

Stephanie Tucker
100 N. Bismarck Expressway
Bismarck, ND 58501-50951
(701) 220-1871

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in North Dakota.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.


Copyright 1988-2019. Material produced by the Mountain Lion Foundation is protected under copyright laws. Permission to rebroadcast or duplicate is granted for non-commercial use when the Mountain Lion Foundation is credited.