Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Moose and Elk Lotteries Held, Bighorn Sheep in September

North Dakota’s moose and elk lotteries have been held, and individual results are available by visiting My Account at the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

A total of 15,516 applications were received for bighorn sheep, 19,290 for elk and 22,456 for moose.

While in My Account, successful applicants must pay for a moose and/or elk license. In addition, a 2019-20 general game and habitat license, or combination license, is required. The moose/elk license will be mailed after the required hunting licenses are purchased.

Hunters in moose unit M10 and elk unit E6 are reminded of restrictions that prohibit transporting the whole carcass, including the head and spinal column, outside of the unit. For more information, visit the chronic wasting disease page on the Game and Fish website.

The bighorn sheep lottery is scheduled in September, after summer population surveys are completed and total licenses are determined. Once the lottery is held, successful applicants will be contacted to select a hunting unit.

Bighorn Sheep Population Up from Last Year

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 2018 bighorn sheep survey, completed by recounting lambs in March, revealed a minimum of 283 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota, up 7 percent from 2017 and equal to the five-year average.


Altogether, biologists counted 84 rams, 161 ewes and 38 lambs. Not included are approximately 20 bighorns in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.


Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann was pleased to see an increase in the survey, following a decline in 2017.


“The increase in the 2018 count reflects lessening effects of bacterial pneumonia that was detected in 2014,” Wiedmann said.


The northern badlands population increased 9 percent from 2017 and was the second highest count on record. The southern badlands population declined again to the lowest level since 1999.


“The total count of adult rams declined in 2018 but adult ewes increased,” Wiedmann said. “Most encouragingly was the significant increase in the lamb count and recruitment rate following record lows in 2016 and 2017.”


Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer, and then recount lambs the following March, as they approach one year of age, to determine recruitment.


“Fortunately, annual survival rates of adult bighorns are similar to those prior to the die-off and lamb survival is improving, which could indicate the population is becoming somewhat resilient to the deadly pathogens first observed in 2014,” Wiedmann said. “The next few years will be important in determining if the state’s population shows signs of recovering from the disease outbreak, or if the pathogens are likely to persist and cause a long-term population decline.”


Game and Fish wildlife veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson said that four of the 15 adult bighorns tested for the deadly pathogens last winter were positive.


A bighorn sheep hunting season is tentatively scheduled to open in 2019, unless there is a recurrence of significant adult mortality from bacterial pneumonia. The status of the bighorn sheep season will be determined Sept. 1, after the summer population survey is completed.


Game and Fish issued three licenses in 2018 and all hunters were successful in harvesting a ram.

NASP State Tournament Results

A record 820 archers competed in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state bull’s-eye tournament March 22-23 in Minot.


Oakes students claimed top honors in the elementary (grades 4-6) and middle school (grades 7-8) divisions, while Hankinson received the top prize in the high school (grades 9-12) division.


The overall male winner was Barnes County North archer Casey Everson, while Hankinson student Kirstan Loewen claimed the top spot in the female division.


Winning teams and the top 10 individuals qualify for the national tournaments, scheduled for May in Louisville, Ky and June in Salt Lake City, UT. The Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Youth Archery Advisory Council contribute a total of $3,000 in travel assistance to the first place team in each division, and $1,000 to the overall male and female individual winners. In addition, a total of $20,000 in college scholarships was awarded by the NDYAAC to the top five overall scorers in both boys and girls divisions.


Qualifying for nationals in each division are:


High school boys – 1) Casey Everson, Barnes County North; 2) Joshua Wiebusch, Wahpeton; 3) Chase Bladow, Hankinson; 4) Mason Kamlitz, Oakes; 5) Andrew Hill, Oakes; 6) Jaden Payne, Glenburn; 7) Cheyne Meyer, Hankinson; 8) Austin Bladow, Hankinson; 9) Erich Scheffert, Oakes; 10) Dalton Gartner, Edgeley.


High school girls – 1) Gracie Gunderson, Medina; 2) Ainsley Helgerson, Oakes; 3) Sydni Berg, Edgeley; 4) Josephine Nelson, North Sargent; 5) Avery Trittin, Lidgerwood; 6) Grace Neameyer, Mt. Pleasant; 7) Chase McFarland, North Sargent; 8) Mary Goroski, Wahpeton; 9) Octavia Ralph-Martin, Griggs County Central; 10) Jaden Gilje, North Sargent.


Middle school boys – 1) Jake Hennings, Bottineau; 2) Colin Olson, North Sargent; 3) Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes; 4) Hunter Genre, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 5) Brady Sand; Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg; 6) Hunter Kamlitz, Oakes; 7) Brady Haugen, Griggs County Central; 8) Nick Hansen, North Sargent; 9) Samuel Abel, South Prairie; 10) Calvin Satrom, Hope-Page.


Middle school girls – 1) Kirstan Loewen, Hankinson; 2) Kaitlyn Folkman, Oakes; 3) Rylee Suhr, Griggs County Central; 4) Eve Thompson, Hope-Page; 5) Ariana Onchuck, Hankinson; 6) Allison Thomas, Pingree-Buchanan; 7) Zoey Bohnenstingl, Lidgerwood; 8) Jewels Hamling, Hankinson; 9) Kyria Dockter, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 10) Bethany Schafer, Lidgerwood.


Elementary boys – 1) Brady Hanson, Edgeley; 2) Braysen Sagert, Oakes; 3) Alex Weisenburger, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 4) Parker Deering, Oakes; 5) William Bergquist, Wilton; 6) Adam Ryun, Medina; 7) Hayden Risty, Wilton; 8) Ryan Roeder, Hankinson; 9) Jayson Schlenker, Barnes County North; 10) Tucker Deering, Oakes.


Elementary girls – 1) Danica Onchuck, Hankinson; 2) Shayle Zimbelman, Oakes; 3) Braylyn McKown, Wyndmere; 4) Claire Wehseler, North Sargent; 5) Matilda Moch, Edgeley; 6) Mackenzie Nogowski, North Sargent; 7) Jourdyn Buchholz, Griggs County Central; 8) Kiara Frederick, Wilton; 9) Claire Leidy, Wilton; 10) Logan Cudworth, New Rockford-Sheyenne.


In addition, 570 archers competed in a NASP 3-D Challenge, run simultaneously with the bull’s-eye tournament.


Overall male and female winners were Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes, and Josephine Nelson, North Sargent.


Austin Bladow of Hankinson was the winner of a pronghorn hunt in Wyoming, determined by a shoot-out after placing among the top three boys and girls final score.


Top performers in the 3-D high school boys were 1) Cheyen Meyer, Hankinson; 2) Austin Bladow, Hankinson; 3) Mason Kamlitz, Oakes.


3-D high school girls – 1) Josephine Nelson, North Sargent; 2) Avery Trittin, Lidgerwood; 3) Ainsley Helgerson, Oakes.


3-D middle school boys – 1) Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes; 2) Hunter Genre, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 3) Tommy Baldwin, Lidgerwood.


3-D middle school girls – 1) Mackenzie Motter, Hope-Page; 2) Ariana Onchuck, Hankinson; 3) Kirstan Loewen, Hankinson.


3-D elementary boys – 1) Braysen Sagert, Oakes; 2) Wayland Sabinash, Kensal; 3) Parker Deering, Oakes.


3-D elementary girls – 1) Danica Onchuck, Hankinson; 2) Shayle Zimbelman, Oakes; 3) Braylyn McKown, Wyndmere.

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Test Set

The next guide and outfitter written examination is May 18 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.


In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.


Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.


Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.

Deer Gratis Application Online

Landowners who are interested in applying for a 2019 deer gratis license can fill out their application online by visiting the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. The general deer lottery and muzzleloader applications will be available online in early May. The deadline for applying is June 5.

Chief of administrative services Kim Kary said similar to last year, the Game and Fish Department is opening deer gratis applications a month earlier than prior years to allow additional time for landowners to apply online who are busy with spring farm and ranch activities.

“Gratis applicants who have previously applied online will automatically have their land description carried forward to this year’s application,” Kary said. “However, any changes with the land description from last year’s application must be made prior to submitting the 2019 application.”

Applications must be submitted online using a computer or smartphone. Kary suggests applicants without access to online services can submit the online application at any Game and Fish Department office or public service location, such as a library, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor. License vendor systems are unable to process deer gratis applications.

Kary said moving to an all-electronic licensing system was initiated by the state legislature in 2015. “It has worked well for both the agency and customer by providing a user-friendly experience for the hunter and has improved the department’s time to deliver lottery results and mail tags,” she said.

Elk, Moose, Bighorn Sheep Apps due March 27

North Dakotan’s who want to hunt elk, moose and bighorn sheep in 2019 are reminded the deadline for submitting applications is March 27.


Prospective hunters can apply online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. General lottery applications can also be submitted by calling 800-406-6409. Preferential landowner (gratis) applications must be submitted online. Paper applications are not available.


The status of the bighorn sheep season will be determined Sept. 1, after summer population surveys are completed. However, bighorn sheep applications must be submitted before the deadline. Once total licenses are determined for each unit in late summer, the bighorn lottery will then be held and successful applicants will be contacted to select a hunting unit.


Elk, moose and bighorn sheep lottery licenses are issued as once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota. Hunters who have received a license through the lottery in the past are not eligible to apply for that species again.

Pronghorn Hunting Season Statistics

Hunter success during last fall’s pronghorn hunting season was 81 percent, according to statistics provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.


Game and Fish issued 1,081 licenses (701 lottery and 380 gratis), and 976 hunters took 792 pronghorn, consisting of 761 bucks, 28 does and three fawns. Each hunter spent an average of 2.7 days afield.


Two percent of the harvest occurred during the archery-only portion of the season.


The 2019 pronghorn hunting season will be determined in July.

Game and Fish Volunteers Recognized

Volunteer instructors for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department were recently recognized at the annual recognition event in Bismarck.


Shannon Johnson, Fargo, was recognized as hunter education instructor of the year and Steve Goroski, Bismarck, was named archery education instructor of the year.


Honored for 30 years of service were James Boley, Minot; Richard Brewster, Washburn; David Cox, Minot; Douglas Crosby, Williston; Keith Domke, Jamestown; Richard Jorgenson, Devils Lake; Todd Parkman, Hope; Ralph Danuser, Marion; Charles Meikle, Spiritwood; Gary Nilsson, Walhalla.


Recognized for 25 years of service were Kevin Bishop, Kathryn; Patsy Crooke, Mandan; Mike Cruff, Minot; Charles Deremer, Fargo; Darwin Gebhardt, Lake Elmo, Minn.; Garry Hillier, Thompson; Francis Miller, Mandan; Gregory Odden, Rugby; Allen Schirado, Bismarck; Melvin Siverson, Bowman; Curt Beattie, Hannaford; Jay Grover, Cooperstown; Brad Pierce, Hatton;


Honored for 20 years of service were William Bahm, Almont; Stanley Cox, Jamestown; Mark Engen, Anamoose; Mark Entzi, Watford City; Daryl Heid, Center; Matthew Herman, Ashley; Leon Hiltner, Wales; Michael Hinrichs, Bismarck; Lynn Kieper, Bismarck; Curtis Miller, Tioga; Loran Palmer, Wahpeton; Richard Petersen, Bismarck; Craig Roe, Kindred; Douglas Thingstad, Jamestown; Cindie Van Tassel, Breckenridge, Minn.; David Daeley, Maddock; Darryl Duttenhefner, Menoken; Sean Hagan, Walhalla; Jerry Rekow, Ellendale.


Fifteen-year service awards were presented to Nathan Fitzgerald, Cooperstown; Gregory Gerou, Wahpeton; Judy Haglund, Garrison; Walter Helfrich, Mandan; Terry Kassian, Wilton; Michael Melaas, Minot; Dustin Neva, Hatton; Dale Patrick, Jamestown; Scott Thorson, Towner; Bruce Baer, Belfield; James Dusek, Grafton; Michael Erickson, Edgeley; Bradley Gregoire, Thompson; David Sardelli, Hebron.


Ten-year active instructors recognized were Mark Berg, Bismarck; Leonna Coutts, Bismarck; Jason Heinz, Rolette; Andrew Majeres, Garrison; Frank Odell, Belfield; Matt Webster, Jamestown; Cassie Felber, Towner; Kevin Harris, Watford City; Petrina Krenzel, Harvey; Jerry Lillis, Lincoln; Roger Norton, Kindred; Mike Redmond, Ray; Joe Tuchscherer, Rugby.


Recognized for five years of service were Michael Bahm, Mandan; Damon Finley, Harvey; Jamie Germundson, Stanley; Brandi Hansen, Horace; Beaufort Joe, Mandaree; Alan Klitzke, Powers Lake; Seth Larson, Max; Travis Leier, Velva; Krista Lundgren, Kulm; Gary Peterson, Jamestown; DJ Randolph, Velva; Patti Schaner, Mandan; Al Zimmerman, West Fargo; Darcy Aberle, Williston; Lori Deal, Grace City; Jason Forster, Lidgerwood; David Hammond, Abercrombie; Brian Johnson, Sawyer; Jon Johnson, Jamestown; Melanie Nelson, Harvey; Bruce Nielsen, Valley City; Eric Odegaard, West Fargo; Erin Odell, Belfield; John Perritt, Fargo; Carl Quam Jr., Tolna; Jason Sauer, Glen Ullin; Kori Schantz, Underwood; Kent Schimke, Ellendale; Kristofer Schmidt, Washburn; Daniel Sem, Minot; Than Young, Napoleon; Andrew Zickur, Glenburn.


Two-year active instructors recognized were James Decker, Bismarck; Steve Geller, Minot; Rod Kuhn, Bismarck; Jason Lura, Carrington; Arlyce Malarkey, Bismarck, Michael Malarkey, Bismarck; Albert Olson, Bismarck; Jacob Renne, Tioga; Frank Rohloff, Grand Forks; Joel Bohm, Mohall; Lynn Burgard, Bismarck; Larry Derr, Glenburn; Donald Dick, Enderlin; Christopher Eng, Underwood; Seth Engelstad, Mooreton; Todd Gallion, Dunn Center; Kresta Hauge, Ray; Katrina Haugen, Minto; Kali Metzger, Bismarck; Chad Olson, Lisbon; Jordan Peterson, Minot; Dan Schmidtke, Devils Lake; Robert Schock, Bismarck; Danielle Siverhus-Dinger, Oakes; Michael Straus, West Fargo; Tim Straus, West Fargo.

Deer Found Near Williston Tests Positive for CWD

A white-tailed deer found dead just south of Williston in late February has been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Charlie Bahnson, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

“This is unfortunate news because it means CWD is much farther south than the positive deer harvested this past fall in the northwest corner of deer unit 3A1 in Divide County,” Bahnson said.

CWD is a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked. Since 2009, 14 other deer have tested positive for CWD in North Dakota – 13 from Grant and Sioux counties in hunting unit 3F2 in the southwest, and the other taken last fall from the northwest in Divide County.

The deer found near Williston is the first documented case of a mortality due to CWD in North Dakota.

“All 14 previous detections were perfectly healthy-looking deer that were hunter-harvested before they got sick,” Bahnson said. “This deer was severely emaciated and had an empty digestive tract, which is unusual even in starvation cases that can occur in harder winters like this one. This deer stopped trying to forage some time ago.”

Bahnson said this deer was probably not the first to die of CWD in North Dakota, especially since the disease has been documented in 3F2 for a decade. “But this animal happened to die in an area where it was highly visible, and the carcass could be recovered in time for testing,” he said.

The Game and Fish Department will collect additional samples for testing through targeted removal over the next week or so. In addition to the targeted removal and testing, Game and Fish will review the need to amend the current CWD proclamation to reflect the new CWD positive.

“In other areas of the country where CWD has reached a tipping point, finding sick or dead CWD-infected deer has become common,” Bahnson said. “We need to do everything in our power to ensure that doesn’t happen in North Dakota.”

More information about CWD and regulations regarding CWD are available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.