Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Find Your Deer License

Now is the time to locate your deer license and check it for accuracy.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND     Game and Fish

Every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s licensing section receives last-minute inquiries from hunters who can’t find their license. When that happens, it’s difficult to try to get a replacement license in time for the season opener.

Another reason to check the license now is to make sure the unit and species is what was intended.

Deer hunters in need of a replacement license can print out a duplicate (replacement) license application from the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, or can request an application by calling 701-328-6300.

The form must be completely filled out and notarized, and sent back in to the department with a fee.

Order 2018 OUTDOORS Calendars

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is taking orders for its North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar, the source for all hunting season and application dates for 2018. Along with outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, it also includes sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

calendar

To order online, visit buy and apply at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov., or  send $3 for each, plus $1 postage, to: Calendar, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095. Be sure to include a three-line return address with your order, or the post office may not deliver our return mailing.

The calendar is the North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine’s December issue, so current subscribers will automatically receive it in the mail.

have you read?

The 2017 October North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

North Dakota Game  and Fish Director Terry Steinwand  writes Matters of Opinion  

It’s a busy time of year in North Dakota’s outdoors.

By the time this magazine is printed and mailed to subscribers, the echoes of the first shotgun blasts, signaling the state’s pheasant opener, will have faded.

I’m hoping that hunters went in to the pheasant season with reasonable expectations, considering bird numbers are down in many areas following a difficult winter, drought and an altered landscape.

Ron Wilson North Dakota Outdoors editor with a feature on the Partnership to Benefit Producers, Wildlife

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has partnered with Pheasants Forever and four county soil conservation districts to help producers farm more efficiently and profitably by offering conservation practices on less gainful crop acres.According to a Pheasants Forever news release, the foundation of the precision agriculture planning partnership is built on the technology of AgSolver’s Profit Zone Manager software platform, which focuses on the producer’s return-on-investment.

North Dakota Outdoors editor Ron Wilson examines the biology of Managing Sakakawea’s Salmon Populaton

 

There are 1.5 million reasons fisheries biologists will slowly navigate Lake Sakakawea’s shallow waters this month.

That’s roughly the number of chinook salmon eggs North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel aim to collect to produce hundreds of thousands of smolts that, months later, will be released back into the big lake.

Last fall, for example, biologists spawned 683 mature females and collected nearly 1.8 million eggs. After sharing some with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, fisheries biologists here stocked about 430,000 salmon smolts into Sakakawea in 2017.

Pheasant Hunting Season Opens Oct. 7

North Dakota pheasant hunters are reminded the season opens Oct. 7 and continues through Jan. 7, 2018.

In past years, the season typically opened the second Saturday in October. However, the 2017 state legislature passed a law which requires the pheasant hunting season to open no later than Oct. 12. The 2017 North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar, which was printed prior to the start of the legislative session, lists opening day as Oct. 14.

pheasant hunter

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily limit is three and possession limit is 12.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2017-18 Small Game Hunting Guide.

Hunting from Duck Boats Requires Safety

Waterfowlers hunting from boats are encouraged to wear properly-fitted life jackets while on the water.

photo by Ed Bry, ND Game and Fish

Hunting jackets with life jackets already built in are light and comfortable to wear. In addition, wearing a life jacket will not only keep the overboard hunter afloat, but also slow the loss of critical body heat caused by exposure to cold water.

Capsizing and falling overboard from small boats are the most common types of fatal boating accidents for hunters.

Eight people have drowned in state waters since 1998 while hunting from a boat, and none were wearing life jackets.

Youth Waterfowl Trailer Available

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and Ducks Unlimited co-sponsor a trailer full of waterfowl hunting gear that is available to families with young hunters.

photo by Harold Umber, ND Game and Fish

Purchased by the Game and Fish Department’s Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters grant program, the trailer is designed for families who don’t have the appropriate gear for their young hunters to hunt waterfowl. The equipment is donated by Avery Outdoors.

Use of the trailer is free, and it is equipped with goose and duck decoys for field hunting, and two bags of floating duck decoys and marsh seats for hunting a wetland.

For more information, or to reserve equipment, contact the Ducks Unlimited office in Bismarck at 701-355-3500.

Youth Pheasant Weekend Sept. 30, Oct. 1

North Dakota’s two-day youth pheasant season is Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger may hunt roosters statewide.

youth pheasant hunter

Resident youth hunters, regardless of age, must possess a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. Nonresident youth hunters from states that provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents qualify for North Dakota resident licenses. Otherwise, nonresident youth hunters must purchase a nonresident small game license.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course. The daily bag limit and all other regulations for the regular pheasant season apply.

An adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter in the field. The adult may not carry a firearm.

See the 2017 North Dakota Small Game Hunting Guide for additional information.

Waterfowl Hunters Reminded of ANS Regulations

Waterfowl hunters are reminded to do their part in preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species into or within North Dakota.

Waterfowl hunters must remove plants and plant fragments from decoys, strings and anchors; remove plants seeds and plant fragments from waders and other equipment before leaving hunting areas; remove all water from decoys, boats, motors, trailers and other watercraft; and remove all aquatic plants from boats and trailers before leaving a marsh or lake. In addition, hunters are encouraged to brush their hunting dogs free of mud and seeds.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

Cattails and bulrushes may be transported as camouflage on boats. All other aquatic vegetation must be cleaned from boats prior to transportation into or within North Dakota.

In addition, drain plugs on boats must remain pulled when the boat is in transit away from a water body.

More ANS information, including regulations, is available by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Whooping Crane Migration

Whooping cranes are in the midst of their fall migration and sightings will increase as they make their way into and through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.

photo by Ed Bry, ND Game and Fish

Whoopers stand about five feet tall and have a wingspan of about seven feet from tip to tip. They are bright white with black wing tips, which are visible only when the wings are outspread. In flight they extend their long necks straight forward, while their long, slender legs extend out behind the tail. Whooping cranes typically migrate singly, or in groups of 2-3 birds, and may be associated with sandhill cranes.

Other white birds such as snow geese, swans and egrets are often mistaken for whooping cranes. The most common misidentification is pelicans, because their wingspan is similar and they tuck their pouch in flight, leaving a silhouette similar to a crane when viewed from below.

Anyone sighting whoopers should not disturb them, but record the date, time, location, and the birds’ activity. Observers should also look closely for and report colored bands which may occur on one or both legs. Whooping cranes have been marked with colored leg bands to help determine their identity.

Whooping crane sightings should be reported to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices at Lostwood, 701-848-2466, or Long Lake, 701-387-4397, national wildlife refuges; the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, 701-328-6300, or to local game wardens across the state. Reports help biologists locate important whooping crane habitat areas, monitor marked birds, determine survival and population numbers, and identify times and migration routes.