Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Deer Lottery Held, Licenses Remain

North Dakota’s deer gun lottery has been held and individual results are available online at the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

Chief of administrative services Kim Kary said moving to an online lottery has resulted in reducing the time between the application deadline and the lottery run date.

“It’s a major benefit in moving to an all online lottery application process,” Kary said.

The Game and Fish Department will mail deer licenses to successful applicants after they purchase a valid 2019-20 hunting license. All deer hunters, regardless of age, are required to have a general game and habitat license in addition to their deer license.

More than 6,000 deer gun licenses remain. Only resident applicants who were unsuccessful in the lottery can apply for remaining licenses.

More than 78,000 individuals applied for a deer gun lottery license, in addition to about 13,500 gratis applicants. The 2019 deer gun proclamation allows for 64,500 deer gun season licenses.

Unsuccessful applicants can apply online for remaining licenses beginning July 10. The deadline for applying is July 24.

Remaining Deer Gun Licenses

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





















































































Spring Breeding Duck Numbers Tallied

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 72nd annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 3.4 million birds, up 20 percent from last year.


Migratory game bird supervisor Mike Szymanski said the index was the 22nd highest on record and stands 40 percent above the long-term (1948-2018) average.


“Breeding duck numbers generally trend with wetland conditions,” Szymanski said. “The large number of ducks in North Dakota this spring can again be attributed to the large number of ducks that we have been producing for many years.”


Survey results indicate numbers for all primary species were up from their 2018 estimates, including mallards (16 percent), green-winged teal (81 percent) and ruddy ducks (57 percent). All other ducks ranged from 5 (scaup) to 40 percent (pintails) above last year’s numbers. All species, with the exception of pintails and blue-winged teal, were above the 71-year average.


The number of temporary and seasonal wetlands was substantially higher than last year, as figures show the spring water index is up 46 percent. The water index is based on basins with water, and does not necessarily represent the amount of water contained in wetlands or the type of wetlands represented.


“Water conditions ranged from poor to excellent across the state,” Szymanski said. “Excellent wetland conditions in the south and east quickly deteriorated moving into the north central region, but are fair to good in the northwest.”


Szymanski said concerns about habitat remain, as nesting cover in North Dakota continues to decline. “Waterfowl breeding habitats are under extreme pressure, and expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts and the continual conversion of habitat to other uses can only further reduce waterfowl production in the state,” he added.


The July brood survey provides a better idea of duck production and insight into expectations for this fall, Szymanski said, though hunting success is also influenced by bird movements before and during hunting seasons, and weather patterns during the fall migration.

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.

Put Garbage Where it Belongs

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds outdoor recreationists to keep public use areas, including state wildlife management areas, clean this summer by packing out all trash.


All garbage should be placed in a proper trash receptacle. If trash cans aren’t available, or are full, take the trash and dispose of it at home.


It is not uncommon to see garbage piling up around full trash containers. Styrofoam containers are not biodegradable, but yet are often found wedged in cattails, drifting or washed up on shore.


Tires, mattresses and kitchen appliances have found their way to public use areas. This illegal dumping is costly to clean up and takes a significant toll on the environment. Not only does it spoil the beauty of the land, it destroys habitat, has the potential to pollute North Dakota waters and can injure wildlife.


In addition, possession of glass bottles is prohibited on state wildlife management areas and state sovereign lands. Therefore, it is illegal for outdoor recreationists to possess glass containers on sandbars within the Missouri River System.


Littering violations should be reported by calling the Report All Poachers hotline at 701-328-9921.


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

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Exam Scheduled

The next guide and outfitter written examination is Aug. 17 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.

have you read?

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

You’ll find a great piece by Editor Ron Wilson  Big Lake Walleye Spawn Fuels State Fisheries “Walleye spawning is driven by two things – water temperature and photoperiod (daylight),” said Dave Fryda, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System fisheries supervisor. “Especially in Lake Sakakawea, which is a big body of water, there is warmer water in many of the bays, while the water is still cold out in the lake.”

Ron also shares thoughts from Greg Power, fisheries division chief, who revists the changes in fish spawning in 40 Years of Eggs and Change

“1979 – 40 years ago – was the first year I spawned fish at this location,” Power said. “At the time, there was a spawning shack here, but very few trees and there weren’t many anglers to speak of back in those days.”


Operation Dry Water takes a look at work by game wardens to keep boating safe this summer.

Boating under the influence is always a concern for law enforcement during North Dakota’s open-water season. With more than 64,000 registered watercraft in the state, it’s a certainty when the sun pops, weather warms and the wind dies, that not all water enthusiasts are playing it smart.

CRP Enrollment Open

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for certain practices under the continuous Conservation Reserve Program. Eligible farmers, ranchers and private landowners can sign up at their local USDA Farm Service Agency offices.


Practices eligible for enrollment include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers and wetland restoration. The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, an offshoot of CRP, is also open for enrollment.


Continuous signup enrollment contracts are for 10 to 15 years, with soil rental rates set at 90 percent of the existing rate. Incentive rates are not offered.


Kevin Kading, North Dakota Game and Fish Department private land section leader, said landowners interested in these programs could also qualify for additional financial incentives and cost-share from Game and Fish.


“Anyone who’s interested in seeing how Game and Fish can help add to these practices, can contact a private land biologist in their area,” Kading said.


Bismarck – Levi Jacobson – 527-3764 (Burleigh, Emmons, Kidder, Morton, Oliver)


Devils Lake – Andrew Ahrens – 204-5227 (Bottineau, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, Ramsey, Rolette, Towner, Walsh)


Dickinson – Jaden Honeyman – 260-3546 (Adams, Grant, Hettinger, Sioux)


Dickinson – Curtis Francis – 227-7431 (Billings, Bowman, Golden Valley, Slope, Stark)


Harvey – Terry Oswald, Jr., – 399-9958 (Benson, Eddy, Foster, Pierce, Sheridan, Wells)


Jamestown – Renae Heinle, Jamestown – 320-4695 (Barnes, Cass, Dickey, Griggs, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, Stutsman, Traill)


Riverdale – Ryan Huber – 527-8963 (Dunn, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Renville, Ward)


Williston – Todd Buckley – 770-3815 (Burke, Divide, McKenzie, Mountrail, Williams)


Deer Application Deadline is June 5

Hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting applications for the 2019 deer gun season is Wednesday, June 5.


Applicants for regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader can apply online through the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov, or call 800-406-6409. A service fee is charged for applications made through the 800 number.


Gratis applicants must apply online – the toll-free licensing telephone number is not set up to receive gratis applications.


Applicants who do not have access to a computer or smartphone can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.


Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline will qualify for an any-legal-deer license. As per state law, gratis applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery – and generally only antlerless licenses remain.

Hunters, Anglers Take Note of New Legislation

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department tracked 40 outdoors-related bills during the 2019 legislative session, 21 of which were passed by both chambers and signed into law.


The following bills take effect Aug. 1, unless the bill includes an emergency clause which indicates it is already in effect.


HB 1021 – Included in the Information Technology Department’s appropriation, during the 2019-21 interim, a 14 member land access committee (with nine voting members) will study access to public and private lands for hunting, trapping, fishing and related issues, including trespass violations and penalties, and provide recommendations regarding a land access database with capabilities of electronic posting. The study committee may establish a trial electronic posting and hunter access information system in up to three counties prior to Aug. 1, 2020, and report findings and recommendations to the 67th legislative assembly.


HB 1066 – Returns the funding limit to the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund to $20 million per fiscal year.


HB 1209 – Allows the use of dogs in the recovery of big game animals.


HB 1246 – Defines the eligibility requirements relating to gratis licenses for hunting big game and to provide a legislative study.


HB 1286 – Amends the century code relating to law enforcement agencies reporting seizures and forfeitures.


HB 1366 – Allows the use of a telescopic sight on a crossbow with a maximum power of 8×32.


HB 1383 – Alters the North Dakota Public Service Commission’s century code relating to mitigating environmental impacts associated with energy development.


HB 1412 – Allows the use of night vision, thermal vision or infrared light with a power source of not more than six volts while hunting coyote, fox, raccoon or beaver during the open season, and on a predatory animal attacking and attempting to destroy poultry, livestock or other property.


HB 1462 – Changes the seven white-tailed deer licenses to four any-whitetail and three any-antlered deer licenses, that are provided to the outdoor adventure foundation to be used by youth with life-threatening illnesses.


HB 1503 – Requires an individual who enters private property and installs a device for observing, recording or photographing wildlife to either receive written permission from the landowner, or identifies the device with a permanently affixed metal or plastic tag with a registration number issued by the Game and Fish Department, or the individual’s name, address and telephone number.


SB 2017 – Appropriates $83,803,632 to the Game and Fish Department for the biennium beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2021.


SB 2034 – Defines the terms “firearm” or “weapon” and clarifies who can carry, including a minor under age 15 carrying a muzzleloader under direct supervision.


SB 2055 – Allows Game and Fish to get approval from either the legislative assembly or budget section for each land acquisition of at least 10 acres or $10,000.


SB 2058 – Amends the century code relating to the Outdoor Heritage Fund, whereas grant applications that are eligible to be forwarded to the North Dakota Industrial Commission must receive favorable recommendation from a majority of the outdoor heritage advisory board members.


SB 2138 – Allows advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, in addition to a physician, to verify the physical condition necessary for individuals to qualify for a shoot from a stationary motor vehicle permit.


SB 2165 – Amends the tax department’s section of the century code relating to gross receipts, specifically that gross receipts does not include the amount of compensation received from an insurance company for the loss of a stolen or destroyed watercraft that had been previously taxed if that compensation is used as a trade-in credit on the purchase of a replacement watercraft.


SB 2239 – Defines open records laws/exemptions of animal tracking data bases for animal health purposes, including state and federal agencies would be able to collect information to assist in animal disease control or tracking an animal disease. Declared an emergency measure.


SB 2261 – Amends the energy and conversion and transmission facilities section of the century code, relating to conditions imposed on designation of sites, corridors and routes.


SB 2293 – Creates an aquatic nuisance species program fund in the state treasury. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, establishes an ANS fee of $15 for each motorboat licensed in North Dakota to run concurrent with motorboat licensure, and an ANS fee of $15 to be paid for the calendar year for every boat that is not licensed in North Dakota. Effective April 1, 2020, establishes a $2 surcharge on each resident fishing license and combination license, with the exception of a resident age 65 and older fishing license, permanently or totally disabled fishing license, or a disabled veteran fishing license. In addition, includes a $3 surcharge on each nonresident fishing license and each nonresident waterfowl license.


SB 2342 – Any boat operated between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. may not produce a noise in excess of 88 decibels for more than 10 minutes.


SB 2358 – Relates to Red River Valley water supply project contract terms, elimination of voter approval requirements and notice of proposed water management systems.