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.

Game Warden Exam Set for Feb. 23

Individuals interested in taking the exam to select candidates for the position of a full-time temporary district game warden must register no later than Feb. 19. The test is at 10 a.m., Feb. 23, at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck.

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Applicants must register 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 (tentative hire date is May 1), 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 $3,800 per month. For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Spring Light Goose Conservation Order

North Dakota’s spring light goose conservation order opens Feb. 17 and continues through May 13.

Residents must have a valid current season 2017-18 (valid through March 31) or 2018-19 (required April 1) combination license; or a small game, and general game and habitat license. The 2018-19 license is available for purchase beginning March 15.

Nonresidents need a 2018 spring light goose conservation order license. The cost is $50 and is valid statewide. Nonresidents who hunt in the spring remain eligible to buy a fall season license. The spring license does not count against the 14-day fall waterfowl hunting season regulation.

In addition, nonresident youth under age 16 can purchase a license at the resident fee if their state has youth reciprocity licensing with North Dakota.

A federal duck stamp is not required for either residents or nonresidents.

Resident and nonresident licenses are available online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, by calling 800-406-6409, and at license vendors.

Hunters must register annually with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting in each state. The HIP number can be obtained online, or by calling 888-634-4798. The HIP number obtained for North Dakota’s spring conservation order is also valid for North Dakota’s fall hunting season.

The Game and Fish Department will provide hunters with migration updates once geese have entered the state. Hunters can access the department’s website, or call 701-328-3697, to receive generalized locations of bird sightings in North Dakota until the season ends or geese have left the state. Migration reports will be updated periodically during the week.

The spring conservation order is only open to light geese – snows, blues, and Ross’s. Species identification is important because white-fronted and Canada geese travel with light geese. The conservation order is closed to whitefronts, Canada geese, swans and all other migratory birds.

For more information on regulations refer to the 2018 Spring Light Goose Hunting Regulations and the 2017 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide.

 

Two Deer Test Positive for CWD

A whitetail buck and a mule deer doe, taken during the 2017 deer gun season from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota, have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Since 2009, the total now stands at 11 deer to test positive for CWD in North Dakota, and all were from within unit 3F2.

 

In 2010, the Game and Fish Department implemented special regulations in 3F2 and surrounding units to limit the natural spread of the disease, and to protect the rest of the deer, elk and moose herds in North Dakota.

 

In addition to the 350 samples tested for CWD from unit 3F2, another 1,050 were tested from deer harvested last fall by hunters in the central third of the state, and from any moose or elk taken during the hunting season. In all, more than 1,400 samples were tested.

 

Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 31,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD.

 

“The Department takes the risk of CWD to the state’s deer, elk and moose herds seriously,” Grove said. “CWD is considered a permanent disease on the landscape once an area becomes endemic.”

 

The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In 2018, deer will be tested from the western portion of the state.

 

The Game and Fish Department also has a targeted surveillance program that is an ongoing, year-round effort to test animals found dead or sick.

 

CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. For more information on CWD, refer to the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

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Midwinter Waterfowl Survey

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated about 135,000 Canada geese in the state.

 

Andy Dinges, migratory game bird biologist, said that number likely would have been higher, but cold weather in late December undoubtedly pushed some birds south just prior to the survey.

 

“However, we still saw a significant increase in the number of birds, as compared to the 26,400 that were recorded last year,” Dinges said. “A year ago, wintering conditions with heavy snowfall were highly unfavorable, which dramatically reduced access to waste grain.”

 

During the recent survey, an estimated 110,800 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 24,000 on Nelson Lake in Oliver County. No waterfowl were recorded on Lake Sakakawea, which officially froze over just days before the survey. Dinges said after summarizing the numbers, an additional 16,400 mallards were tallied statewide, most of which were recorded on Nelson Lake.

 

The 10-year average (2008-17) for the midwinter survey in North Dakota is 95,600 Canada geese and 27,300 mallards.

 

All states participate in the midwinter survey during the same time frame, so birds are not counted more than once.

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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Spring Turkey Season Set, Apply Online

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is offering 5,655 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, 30 fewer than last year.

Four of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than in 2017, eight have fewer and nine remain the same. Unit 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2018 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.

Spring turkey applicants can apply online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling 800-406-6409. Paper applications are no longer available for spring turkey or any other lottery licenses, which also includes moose, elk and sheep; deer gun, pronghorn and swan.

The deadline for applying is Feb. 14.

Successful spring turkey applicants must purchase a 2018-19 hunting license, as last year’s 2017-18 licenses expire March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license.

First-time spring turkey hunters ages 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for the regular hunting season in a specific unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season, and have never received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.

Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. Per legislation, an additional four spring wild turkey licenses are available to the Outdoor Adventure Foundation and three to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The spring turkey season opens April 14 and continues through May 20.

Nonresident Any-Deer Bow Licenses

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 502 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2018.

Applicants must apply online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications are not available. The deadline for applying is March 1.

Up to five applicants can apply together as a party. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation. The Game and Fish Department issued 3,350 mule deer licenses in the 2017 deer gun license lottery.