100 Best Public-Land Hunts: North Dakota

Sheyenne National Grassland
Location: southeast North Dakota
Size: 70,180 acres
ZIP: 58054

Prime whitetail range in North Dakota is north and east of the Missouri River, and the Sheyenne makes up that region's largest single plot of public land. One of the last remnants of tallgrass prairie in the state, these rolling sandhill grasslands are dotted with deer-sheltering stands of aspen and Russian olive. Riparian corridors along river bottoms may hold lots of whitetails, which raid nearby farmland planted in alfalfa, sunflower, soybeans and corn. Pay attention to boundaries: Private land is interspersed with the federal holdings and access can be hard to come by.

PLOTS: Private Land Open to Sportsmen

Only 5 percent of North Dakota is publicly owned, and nowhere is the dearth of hunting access felt more keenly than in the northeast. "There are lots of deer in the northeastern corner of the state, but most is private land," says Bill Jensen, deer biologist with North Dakota Game and Fish. "Much of it is being bought by nonresidential hunters, and people can't get access." The PLOTS (Private Land Open to Sportsmen) program leases private holdings-usually in 160 to 320-acre segments-and opens them to public hunting. Some 385 PLOTS sites covering 86,000 acres are located in the seven northeastern-most counties. Check the Game and Fish Web site at gf.nd.gov for printable PLOTS maps.