The 7 Weirdest, Strangest, and Stupidest Laws in North Dakota

Did you know that setting off fireworks within the confines of the ‘Roughrider State’ is only allowed between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. and that it is legal to shoot a Native American on horseback as long as you are in a covered wagon?

These are some of the bizarre laws from North Dakota. The state and county rule books contain a significant number of old laws that, despite not being necessarily heavily enforced today, still haven’t been repealed.

Below is a fascinating compilation of seven strange laws from the state of North Dakota.

1. You’ll need a license to kill a pigeon in the city of Fargo

Pigeons can be a nuisance when allowed to breed uncontrollably. Pigeon excreta contains certain strains of the bacteria E. coli (Escherichia coli) which, when introduced in the food or water supply, may lead to illnesses. However, if you want to wage war on the hordes of feral pigeons in your backyard, you’ll need a permit from the Fargo health department.

2. Fireworks are not allowed after 11 p.m.

Imagine celebrating the turn of the New Year without the sound and sight of fireworks crackling in the sky. North Dakota has done just that by passing a law that prohibits the use or detonating of fireworks beyond the hours of 8 a.m. and 11n p.m.

3. You can shoot an Indian on horseback as long as you are on a wagon.

This ordinance came about in the early days of the Westward Expansion. Caravans of European settlers who were migrating into North Dakota territory were frequently getting attacked by bands of Native Americans. A law was passed that allowed migrating settlers to shoot back at their attackers provided they did it while riding on their wagons.

4. It’s okay to play poker but only twice a year

This law applies to non-governmental organizations and charitable groups that operate in the state. They can hold stud poker games to raise money but only twice a year.

5. You’ll be charged a $10,000 fine for cloning yourself

According to chapter 12.1-39 Section 2 of North Dakota law, “ A person may not intentionally or knowingly:

  • Perform or attempt to perform human cloning.
  • Participate in performing or attempting to perform human cloning.
  • Transfer or receive the product of a human cloning for any purpose.
  • Transfer or receive, in whole or in part, any oocyte, human embryo, human fetus, or human somatic cell, for the purpose of human cloning.

Anyone who violates subdivision a or b of subsection 1 is guilty of a class C felony which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

6. Coal mines must have adequate toilet paper 

Working in the sweltering heat in coal mine shafts can be tough. The situation is exacerbated when you go for a potty break only to find out that there is no tissue paper. The state legislature decided to pass a law that ensures all employees in underground coal mines are provided with adequate toilet paper to their employees. 

7. It’s illegal to serve beer and pretzels 

Apparently, owners of establishments that serve alcoholic drinks are not allowed to serve beer and pretzels to their clients. 

When starting a business in North Dakota, you need to understand the rules that the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in  North Dakota and how to find a great registered agent in North Dakota can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.


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