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).