Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Youth Grant Program Application Deadline

Wildlife, shooting, fraternal and nonprofit civic organizations are urged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a North Dakota Game and Fish Department grant program developed to assist recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.

 

The maximum grant allowed is $3,000. The program currently helps fund approximately 40 club and organizational events and projects each year, with an average grant of $1,550.

 

Grant funds help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.

 

Past funding has enabled groups to conduct youth pheasant and waterfowl hunts, or sponsor trap and other shooting events, including archery and rifle shooting.

 

One change from previous years is that grants related to the high school clay target league will now come out of a separate fund, and these will be for newly formed teams in 2018 only. All other shooting events, including summer youth trapshooting leagues, are still eligible for Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters grants.

 

Any club or organization interested in conducting a youth hunting or shooting event can get more information, including a grant application, from the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by contacting outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at 701-328-6332.

 

The deadline to apply for a 2018 grant is April 10.

Register to Darkhouse Spearfish

All individuals, regardless of age, who participate in darkhouse spearfishing are reminded to register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating.

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Free registration is available at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.

North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

Spearers must have a valid fishing license, except for those under the age of 16.

All waters open to hook-and-line fishing are open to darkhouse spearing except:

  • East Park Lake, West Park Lake, Lake Audubon – McLean County
  • Heckers Lake – Sheridan County
  • Larimore Dam – Grand Forks County
  • McClusky Canal
  • New Johns Lake – Burleigh County
  • Red Willow Lake – Griggs County
  • Wood Lake – Benson County

Anglers should refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide for more information.

Game and Fish Violations Tallied for 2017

While game and fish violations were up in 2017, the number of citations has remained relatively consistent in North Dakota from year to year.

 

Robert Timian, chief of enforcement for the state Game and Fish Department, said there are three basic causes of violations – intentional disregard of the rules, lack of knowledge of the rules and just simply mistakes.

 

“Violations due to lack of knowledge can easily be addressed by taking the time to read through the regulations,” Timian said. “Mistakes can be reduced by taking a little more care and time.”

 

Wardens check thousands of hunters and anglers each year, and Timian said the majority are law-abiding citizens.

 

Game wardens issued more than 2,500 citations in 2017, compared to nearly 2,300 in 2016 and 2,400 in 2015.

 

“There are some factors why violations were up in 2017,” Timian said. “For one, we had a full warden staff for the entire year, in addition to one temporary position, and another reason was all of our wardens at one time or another during the 2016 fall hunting seasons and into 2017 were assisting with efforts at the pipeline protest.”

 

The same violations occur at or near the top of the list every year, Timian said, such as failure to have a license, and boating/fishing without the proper number of life jackets. But he emphasized there is one area of violation that has increased every year.

 

“Aquatic nuisance species violations are up,” he added. “We put a lot of effort into ANS enforcement, as we work toward a time when boaters and anglers make it a habit to check their equipment.”

 

Counties with the most violations in 2017 were Burleigh (251), Ramsey (234), McLean (206), McKenzie (175) and Morton (172).

 

The most common violations and number issued in 2017 were:

 

  • Boating (643): inadequate number of personal flotation devices (255); use of unlicensed/unnumbered boat (138); and failure to display boat registration (121).
  • Fishing (348): aquatic nuisance species violations (130); exceeding limit (87); and excessive lines (53).
  • Small game (262): using shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (56); failure to leave identification of sex on game (51); exceeding limit (19); and hunting in unharvested field (19).
  • Big game (95): tagging violations (31); failure to wear orange (17); and hunting in closed season (10).
  • Furbearer (35): shining/using artificial light (13); and harassment with motor vehicle (10).
  • Licensing (622): failure to carry license (334); hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license (235); and misrepresentation on license or application (21).
  • General (296): loaded firearm in vehicle (64); hunting on posted land without permission (59); and littering (52).
  • Miscellaneous (126): open container (28); criminal trespass (28); and minor in possession (17).
  • Wildlife management areas/refuge (94): failure to obey posted regulations (29); camping (21); and possession of glass beverage containers (14).

 

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Pressure Ridges Cause for Concern

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds ice anglers that caution is always advised when traveling on frozen waters, even though recent ice conditions may appear safe.

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Education coordinator Brian Schaffer said extreme cold temperatures have created much better ice conditions in most of the state, but driving or fishing near pressure ridges should be avoided.

 

“Pressure ridges are a way of life when it comes to ice fishing, but this year there appears to be more of them, especially in south central North Dakota,” Schaffer said.

 

Pressure ridges, cracks, and slushy or dark areas signal thinner ice.

 

“The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush and embankments, especially under bridges,” Schaffer said.

 

In addition, Schaffer said snow hides blemishes, such as cracked, weak and open water areas.

 

“Simply put, anglers need to be aware of the current conditions, and continue to monitor ice conditions as winter moves along,” he added.

Watchable Wildlife Checkoff on State Tax Form

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.

The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.

The checkoff – whether you are receiving a refund or having to pay in – is an easy way to voluntarily contribute to sustain this long‑standing program. In addition, direct donations to the program are accepted any time of year.

To learn more about Watchable Wildlife program activities, visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

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Greg Hastings Named Wildlife Officer of the Year

Greg Hastings, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Jamestown, is the state’s 2017 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Hastings was honored recently by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Hastings district boasts numerous lakes, rivers, reservoirs, wetlands and public hunting areas.

“There are tremendous fishing, hunting and boating opportunities throughout his district, and warden Hastings makes his presence felt by his dedication and perseverance,” Timian said. “He has strong communication and investigative skills, an understanding demeanor and makes good decisions.”

Russ Kinzler Named Game and Fish Employee of the Year

Russ Kinzler, Missouri River System fisheries biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Riverdale, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the Department’s annual meeting Dec. 7 in Bismarck.

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Kinzler is known for his commitment to his craft in his more than 20 years with the agency. “Russ possesses an incredible work ethic, positive attitude, strong mechanical skills and field expertise, solid biological knowledge and maintains a great working relationship with various angling groups,” Steinwand said.

Kinzler was recognized for his role in designing and completing a wide range of management and research activities on the Missouri River System. “All of his duties require an array of equipment and Russ has the ability to keep it all working,” Steinwand added. “Often his skills are used in assisting other district offices, divisions and agencies.”