Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In North Dakota [No]

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Pigeons tend to love city life more than the country. It provides them with plenty of shelter and food. It’s common to find one or more pigeons living on your window sill or rooftop. But is it illegal to kill pigeons in North Dakota? 

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in North Dakota. But you will need permission to kill one. The law states that no one can remove or kill any wildlife or pigeon without a permit. So, you must obtain permission before killing the annoying pigeon species from your home. 

The state also allows dove hunting for limited days. The article states hunting and shooting rules. So, read till the end. 

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In North Dakota? 

You can hunt and eat all pigeon species in North Dakota. The pigeon and dove species in the state are Rock pigeons, Mourning doves, Eurasian-collared doves, and Round-necked Pheasant. All of these are unprotected except the dove species. So, you cannot hunt them except during the Small games.  

Mourning doves are plump and small-headed. They are 9 to 13 inches long, and with the wing span, their size can increase up to 18 inches. The color of the Mourning dove is tan or greyish brown. They have dark spots on the wings and a black spot under the eyes. The tail is thin and pointed, with white strips under the side.  

Eurasian-collared doves have plump bodies, small heads, and long tails. But they are bigger than a Mourning dove. They have dark-tipped wings and white tail feathers. The overall color is chalky light brown to grey buff. You can also identify it with a narrow black crescent around the nape of the neck. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In North Dakota?

In North Dakota, You cannot hunt doves all year. The dove hunting season begins in the first week of September and ends in the last week of October. The authorities protect all migratory birds in the state. Migratory birds travel long distances in search of better environmental conditions to grow their young. 

Eurasian collared doves do not migrate regularly. But young birds move around. In North Dakota, all doves migrate as the season changes. So, as per the MBTA or Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to harm, kill, sell, or trade any such birds without a permit. The act was signed in 1918 by the USA. It was later followed by other neighboring countries. 

It is legal to eat pigeon meat as long as you can prove it was not shot for food purposes. You can also eat the doves harvested from the small games. But avoid eating Feral pigeons as they carry pathogens. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In North Dakota State 

There are four pigeon species in North Dakota. Out of these four, two are doves. So, they are under the protection of the state. The laws are one in the USA but can have slight changes according to each state. Below I have explained some rules that can guide you about pigeon shooting in the state.  

Hunters Education  

When planning to purchase a hunting license in North Dakota, you must complete a Hunting education course. The course is mandatory for people after 1961. One must be at least eleven years old to take the course.   

The course has two sessions in class and online. You are required to complete two in-person classroom sessions. The first session is 2 to 4 hours of classroom instruction.

The students are given registration cards and course material. They are also provided with the date, time, and location for the Final Classroom Session. Then the student will have two weeks to complete the online part of the class. 

The Final Classroom Session includes a material review, a written test, and a hands-on practical. Then North Dakota Game and Fish Department will send Hunter Education Certificates to students who have passed the course.

Hunting License    

All hunters must possess a hunting license, irrespective of age and residence. People can purchase a hunting license online or through a wildlife agent. Check the official website for more detail on license types and prices.  

There is no minimum hunting age in North Dakota. But they must possess a hunting license. So, to ensure the safety of hunters below 15, they must be under the supervision of an adult. It can be a parent, guardian, or adult authorized by their parent or guardian. 

Dove Hunting Limit  

The daily bag count of the Mourning dove and Eurasian collared dove during hunting season is 15 discrete or combined. But there is no bag limit for Feral pigeons.   

The daily possession limit is thrice the daily bag limit. It is the number of birds one hunter can possess. You can have 45 doves per day in North Dakota. But you will have to monitor the daily bag limit on the possession limit. 


You can use shotguns and air rifles to shoot pigeons in North Dakota. However, the authorities don’t allow air rifles in small games. Hunters can only use shotguns to shoot doves. So, Shotguns must not be more than ten gauges and cannot hold more than three shells. The shotgun with more pellet space is illegal. Additionally, hunters can use bows and arrows to hunt pigeons. 


In North Dakota, it is illegal to shoot doves by baiting or over any baited area. Baiting means depositing, distributing, or scattering salt, grain, or other feed that can attract doves. Any baited area is considered baited for the next ten days after the complete removal of the bait.   

You cannot use live decoys and electronic calls. So, any call record or tapes of migratory bird calls, or sounds or electronically amplified bird calls’ is not legal on the field.  

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In North Dakota State? 

To shoot and hunt pigeons’ you must follow the law. The law ensures the safety of hunters, wildlife, and the public. The pointers below will guide you all about it.    

  • Complete the Hunting Education Program and pass the test.   
  • Submit your certificate and ID number to purchase a hunting license. It is available online or through a wildlife agent.   
  • You must possess a hunting license on the field. It can be on any e-device or in print.   
  •   To hunt with a bow and archery, get an archery permit.     
  • To hunt on private property, you need to get permission from the landowner. Hunting on private land without a permit is considered trespassing.    
  • Bring all the safety gear to the hunting field. It is better to wear bright clothing like dark pink or orange.   
  • Avoid shooting pigeons in residential areas. The state does not allow the use of firearms within 150 yards of a residence or any dwellings.   
  • Collect harvested pigeons in disposable bags. Separate pigeons according to their species.   
  • After hunting, record the harvest count. Submit this count by filling out the form on the website.   
  • Proper and clean disposal of pigeon corpses is necessary to avoid infectious diseases.    

Summing Up

You can’t hunt birds or pigeons without a permit and hunting license in North Dakota. There are a few pigeon species that you cannot shoot or hunt all year. You can take down doves only during September and October. But hunting of Feral pigeons is open all year.  

Doves in North Dakota are migratory. So, it means they travel long distances for a better climate, shelter, and food. The state protects them under the MBTA, 1918. You can hunt doves and pigeons on your property without a permit only if you are the owner or closely related to the owner or tenant.