Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

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The 2018 February North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

Leading off the issue is an important feature on the licensing transition: Applying online for lottery licenses for North Dakota game species, such as deer and wild turkeys, is nothing new to many people. Yet, as Game and Fish Department officials embrace a long-range plan to phase out paper applications, there will likely be some questions. What follows are a number of questions and answers to help people with possible uncertainties about the process.

 

Ty Stockton writes a feature on Productive Prairie Lakes

Fishing in North Dakota has never been better. The state boasts 22 species of game fish and 449 bodies of water where anglers can wet a line.

 

Ron Wilson North Dakota Outdoors editor captures the birthday of the magazine with this month’s Backcast

In late summer 1931, the first issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS was published and made available to the public. If you do the math, that means the magazine turned 87 this year. Not a milestone, certainly. Just a point of interest.

 

Register to Darkhouse Spearfish

All individuals, regardless of age, who participate in darkhouse spearfishing are reminded to register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating.

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Free registration is available at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.

North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

Spearers must have a valid fishing license, except for those under the age of 16.

All waters open to hook-and-line fishing are open to darkhouse spearing except:

  • East Park Lake, West Park Lake, Lake Audubon – McLean County
  • Heckers Lake – Sheridan County
  • Larimore Dam – Grand Forks County
  • McClusky Canal
  • New Johns Lake – Burleigh County
  • Red Willow Lake – Griggs County
  • Wood Lake – Benson County

Anglers should refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide for more information.

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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NASP Tourney March 23-24

The North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament is scheduled for March 23-24 at the State Fair Center in Minot.

The tournament will feature team and individual categories in elementary, middle school and high school, including awards and prizes, and up to $20,000 in college scholarships available to the top 10 boys and girls in each grade division.

Additionally, the top 10 boys and girls qualify for NASP nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.

The state tournament and all other local and regional NASP tournaments are open to any student in grades 4-12 who attend a school that offers NASP lessons during the school day. If a school has an after-school club, third-graders are also welcome, with permission from the coach and principal.

For a complete listing of tournaments in North Dakota, go to the Official NASP Tournament website at http://www.nasptournaments.org/. A certified NASP archery instructor must register participants for all NASP tournaments.

For more information, or to find out if your child’s school participates in NASP, contact Jeff Long, North Dakota state coordinator, at jrlong@nd.gov, or call 701-328-6322.

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North Dakota Earth Day Patch Contest

The state Game and Fish Department’s annual Earth Day awareness campaign is accepting entries for design of a 2018 Earth Day patch. North Dakota students ages 6-18 are eligible to participate. The deadline to submit entries is March 15.
The Game and Fish Department will announce a winner in three age categories – 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18. Each winner will receive a pair of binoculars. The final patch design will be chosen from the three winners.
The winning design will be used on a patch given to members of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs and any school participating in Earth Day cleanup projects on state-owned or managed lands in North Dakota in April and May.
The patch should incorporate some aspect of Earth Day – celebrated April 22 – or keeping North Dakota clean. It must be round and three inches in diameter. There is a limit of five colors on the patch, and lettering must be printed. Name, address, age and phone number of the contestant must be clearly printed on the entry form. Only one entry per person is allowed.
Earth Day contest rules and entry forms are available on the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. For more information, contact Pat Lothspeich by email at ndgf@nd.gov, or call 701-328-6332.