Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest

The deadline for submitting entries in the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Oct. 1.

The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.

The contest guidelines are the same as in previous years, but the process for submitting photos has changed. This year, photographers will provide information and upload images through the Game and Fish Department website only, at gf.nd.gov/photo-contest.

Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.

By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine, and on the department’s website.

For more information or questions, contact Patrick Isakson, conservation biologist, at pisakson@nd.gov.

Water Recreationists, Property Owners Asked to Help Search for ANS

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is asking water recreationists and property owners to check for zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species when removing boat lifts, docks and other equipment from area lakes.

ANS coordinator Jessica Howell said zebra mussels attach to hard surfaces that are left in the water for long periods of time, first settling in tight spaces and areas that are protected from sunlight. She said this can make searching for them in the lake difficult when there are few mussels present.

“It makes it easier to do a thorough search on equipment when it’s taken out of the water in the fall,” Howell said. “Pay special attention to wheel wells, right angles on frames, and areas that are otherwise protected from sunlight. Feel for attached organisms that have small hair-like structures holding them in place. Small mussels can feel like rough sandpaper, and adults can be as large as two inches long.”

Howell said if you think you’ve found a zebra mussel, take pictures, write down any relevant information such as how many were found and where, and report it online at the Game and Fish website gf.nd.gov/ans, or email Howell at jmhowell@nd.gov.

Zebra mussels are native to the Black and Caspian seas and were introduced to the United States in the mid-1980s. Since then, they have caused massive damage to infrastructure, increased costs to electric and water users, and altered the ecosystems into which they were introduced. They were first discovered in North Dakota in the Red River in 2015 as a result of downstream drift from infested Minnesota lakes. Most recently, zebra mussels were discovered earlier this year in Lake Ashtabula.

“Help stop the spread by reporting anything that seems out of place, and remember to clean, drain and dry equipment before moving between waters,” Howell said.

This weeks Game and Fish news

  • First-Come, First-Served Deer Gun Licenses Available Aug. 8
  • Pronghorn Applications due Aug. 7
  • Hunters Reminded of Baiting Restrictions
  • Equipment on Wildlife Management Areas
  • Game Warden Exam Set for Sept. 6

First-Come, First-Served Deer Gun Licenses Available Aug. 8

More than 3,000 antlerless deer gun licenses are still available in 12 units after the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently completed its second lottery drawing.

Antlerless licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. Central Time on Aug. 8. Residents and nonresidents who have not already received a lottery or landowner license are eligible to apply, by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

These licenses are valid only during the regular deer gun season, Nov. 8-24.

Remaining deer gun licenses

(B = Any Antlerless   D = Antlerless Whitetail   F = Antlerless Mule Deer)

Unit     Type     Available
3A1       B     48
3B2      D     50
3B2      F    152
3B3      D     11
3C      D     92
3D1      B     28
3D1      D    184
3D2      D     41
3E1      D     45
3E2      D     82
3F1      B    106
3F1      D    442
3F2      B    739
3F2      D    740
4E      D     87
4F      D    341
4F      F    126

 


Pronghorn Applications due Aug. 7

Hunters are reminded the deadline to apply for the 2019 pronghorn hunting season is Aug. 7.

Applicants can apply online by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by calling 800-406-6409.

A total of 1,330 licenses are available in 12 open units – 1A, 1D, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4C, 5A, 6A, 7A and 10A. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn, except in 4A where doe/fawn licenses are also available.

The bow-only portion of the season is from Aug. 30 (noon) – Sept. 22. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license.

From Oct. 4 (noon) – Oct. 20, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or archery equipment, and again must stay in the assigned unit.

The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16.

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2019 pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points, but will not accrue one for next year. However, hunters who do not want a license in 2019 have the option to purchase a bonus point on the application.

Successful applicants should note that Game and Fish will not mail pronghorn licenses until a valid 2019-20 hunting license is purchased. All pronghorn hunters, regardless of age, are required to have a general game and habitat license in addition to their pronghorn license. Hunters who have already purchased this 2019-20 license do not have to purchase another one.


Hunters Reminded of Baiting Restrictions

Hunters are reminded it is unlawful to hunt big game over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, on both public and private land in deer units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 north of N.D. Highway 2, 3B1, 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

The restriction is in place to help slow the spread of chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked. Hunting units in the northwest have been added to the restriction zone, following the detection of CWD in those areas this past year.

Hunting over bait is defined as the placement and/or use of baits for attracting big game and other wildlife to a specific location for the purpose of hunting. Baits include but are not limited to grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay, or any other natural or manufactured foods.

In addition, placing of bait for any purpose is prohibited on all North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas. Hunting big game over bait is also prohibited on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, U.S. Forest Service national grasslands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands, and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.

More information on CWD can be found at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.


Equipment on Wildlife Management Areas

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds hunters that tree stands, ground blinds and game cameras cannot be placed on state wildlife management areas prior to Aug. 20.

Equipment set out prior to Aug. 20, or left on a WMA after Jan. 31, is considered abandoned property and is subject to removal.

In addition, an equipment registration number, or the owner’s name, address and telephone number, must be displayed on all equipment requiring identification.

Owners can generate an equipment registration number by visiting My Account at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. One registration number will be issued for all equipment that requires identification.


Game Warden Exam Set for Sept. 6

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination to select candidates for the position of district game warden. The test is at 10 a.m., Sept. 6, at the department’s main office in Bismarck.

Applicants must register to take the exam no later than Sept. 2 by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations as determined by the department. Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions, at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.

Salary through training for a district game warden is $3,900 per month. For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Game and Fish at State Fair

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will host thousands of visitors to its free Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park July 19-27 at the State Fair in Minot.

 

Visitors will be treated to an array of activities, exhibits and useful information as the park is open from 1-7 p.m. daily. Pathways to Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Archery are major attractions where interested kids and adults participate in each outdoor activity.

 

In addition to hands-on outdoor learning opportunities, the area offers a live fish display, furbearer exhibit and native prairie plantings. An information center staffed by Game and Fish Department personnel greets visitors to the Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park, which is located on the north end of the fairgrounds near the State Fair Center.

 

 

The North Dakota State Fair begins Friday. Visit us there at the Department’s Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park. The park and activities are free and open daily from 1 p.m. – 7 p.m. The park offers hands-on outdoor learning opportunities like a fishing pond and archery range. There are also many informational exhibits including a live fish display and native prairie plantings. Learn more

have you read? FREE July ND Outdoors Magazine

The July 2019 North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find a great piece by editor Ron Wilson  The Value of Helping Hands You can hardly swing a gillnet at a North Dakota Game and Fish Department gathering without hitting a full-time staffer who was employed as a seasonal worker earlier in their career. By most counts, more than half of the 163 full-time Game and Fish Department employees hired on as seasonal staff during their college years.

 

Alicia Underlee Nelson takes a look at One of the longest trails in the nation which starts in North Dakota. The North Country National Scenic Trail will span more than 4,600 miles (more than twice the length of the Appalachian Trail) between Lake Sakakawea State Park and Crown Point, New York on the western shore of Lake Champlain.
Fisheries biologist Randy Hiltner shares his insight Managing Fish and Angling Opportunities in the Northeast The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s northeast fisheries management district encompasses all or parts of 16 counties. Included are several large natural lakes, such as Devils Lake, Stump Lake and the Lake Irvine complex.

Bighead Carp Caught in James River

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently collected and verified bighead carp in the James River near LaMoure during silver carp monitoring efforts. Bighead carp, an exotic species, are established in the lower Missouri River and in the James River in South Dakota. This is the first report of this aquatic nuisance species in North Dakota waters.

Jessica Howell, Game and Fish aquatic nuisance species coordinator, said department personnel are disappointed but not surprised that bighead carp have entered the state.

“High water levels in the James River this year have facilitated their movements upstream, providing an opportunity for them to enter the state from the South Dakota portions,” Howell said.

Game and Fish staff will continue to sample the James River on a regular basis to monitor the silver and bighead carp populations as well as to detect any new potential species that migrate during high flows.

“Once established in a large river system they are virtually impossible to eliminate,” Howell said.

Like the closely related silver carp that showed up in 2011, bighead carp can out-compete native and other game fish in large river systems. They eat phytoplankton, a food item used by zooplankton, which in turn are eaten by small game fish. They concentrate below dams and in confluence areas and can drive out desirable fish.

Operation Dry Water

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will again participate in Operation Dry Water as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence. The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use on state waterways.

 

Operation Dry Water weekend, July 5-7, is the national weekend of heightened enforcement effort directed at boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach.

 

While informing and educating boaters about the hazards and negative outcomes associated with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a year-round effort, on ODW weekend the Game and Fish Department’s game wardens will be focused on the water, informing boaters about safe boating practices, and removing impaired operators from the water.

 

Tips to staying safe on the water:

  • Boat sober – alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
  • Wear your life jacket – 85 percent of drowning victims nationwide were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Take a boating safety education course - 71 percent of deaths nationwide occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.

WMA Regulations Prohibit Fireworks, Camping Restrictions Lifted for Holiday

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

 

The primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses that are compatible with these objectives. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.

 

In addition, the Game and Fish Department will lift the Tuesday-Wednesday no-camping restriction for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week, which will allow overnight camping July 2-3 on those WMAs that otherwise have this two-day restriction in place.

 

A complete list of the WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.