Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Pronghorn Lottery Held

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

A total of 1,075 licenses were available in 10 units. More than 11,100 applications, including 377 gratis, were received.

All licenses were issued.

Hunters who are drawn for a 2018 pronghorn license will be sent their license after purchasing a valid 2018-19 general game and habitat license, or combination license, which is also required to hunt pronghorn (exception: no other licenses are required for gratis). Hunters who have already purchased this 2018-19 license do not have to purchase another one.

Fur Harvester Classes Scheduled

The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring three fur harvester education classes for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers.

 

Courses in Bismarck and Jamestown are set for Aug. 21, 23 and 25. A course in Dickinson is Aug. 18 and 25.

 

Courses are free and take 16 hours to complete .

 

Students will learn the history of the fur trade in the Dakotas, furbearer identification, tools and techniques for harvesting furbearers in North Dakota, as well as proper handling (skinning, fleshing and boarding) of furbearers.

 

Upon completion, graduates are issued a certification card that is recognized by any state requiring trapper education prior to purchasing a license.

 

Anyone interested in signing up for the class should visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov, click on the education link and fur harvester education.

Swan Hunt Applications due Aug. 15

Swan hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting an application for the 2018 season is Aug. 15.

 

Applicants must submit an online application through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. North Dakota residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply. The resident swan license is $10, while the nonresident fee is $30.

 

The statewide tundra swan hunting season is Sept. 29 – Dec. 30. A total of 2,700 licenses are available. Successful applicants will receive a tag to take one swan during the season. Since swans are classified as waterfowl, nonresidents may hunt them only during the period their nonresident waterfowl license is valid.

HIP Registration Required for Migratory Bird Hunters

Migratory bird hunters of all ages are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Hunters must register in each state for which they are licensed to hunt.

 

Hunters can HIP certify when purchasing a license – or by clicking the Migratory Bird HIP link – at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, hunters can call 888-634-4798 and record the HIP number on their printed license.

 

Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.

 

HIP registration is a cooperative program designed to determine a sample of hunters from which to measure the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes.

Sportsman Against Hunger Accepting Goose Meat

The North Dakota Community Action Sportsmen Against Hunger program is again accepting donations of goose meat taken during the August Management Take/Early September Canada goose season. In addition, the program will accept Canada and light (snow, blue and Ross’s) goose donations during the regular waterfowl season.

 

Similar to last year, hunters can bring in their goose meat to participating processors after removing the breast meat from the birds at home. Or, hunters may also deliver geese directly from the field to a processor, but identification such as the wing or head must remain attached to the bird until in possession of the processor.

 

For a list of participating processors in North Dakota, visit the North Dakota Community Action website.

 

Breast meat brought from home without a wing or head attached to the meat must be accompanied by written information that includes the hunter’s name, address, signature, hunting license number, date taken and species and number taken. Information forms are also available at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website.

 

Hunters will also fill out a brief form so that processors can keep a record on donated goose meat, the same as is required for processing any other type of wild game meat.

 

Since no goose carcasses or feathers are allowed inside processing facilities, hunters must be able to ensure proper disposal and clean-up of carcasses.

Pronghorn Applications due Aug. 8

Prospective pronghorn hunters are reminded the deadline to apply for the 2018 hunting season is Aug. 8.

 

Applicants can apply online by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by calling 800-406-6409. Paper applications are not available.

 

A total of 1,075 licenses are available in 10 open units – 1A, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4C, 5A, 6A and 7A. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn.

 

The bow-only portion of the season is from Aug. 31 (noon) – Sept. 23. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license.

 

From Oct. 5 (noon) – Oct. 21, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or archery equipment, and again must stay in the assigned unit.

 

The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16.

 

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2018 pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points, but will not accrue one for next year. However, hunters who do not want a license in 2018 have the option to purchase a bonus point on the application.

 

Applications for Remaining Doe Licenses due Aug. 8

North Dakota residents who were unsuccessful in the initial deer lottery are reminded the deadline to submit an application for a remaining doe license is Aug. 8.

Unsuccessful applicants must apply online by visiting the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. More than 3,000 antlerless licenses remain in 11 units.

In addition, hunters who receive a 2018 deer license will be sent their license after purchasing a valid 2018-19 general game and habitat license, or combination license, which is also required to hunt deer. Hunters who have already purchased this 2018-19 license do not have to purchase another one.

Duck Brood Numbers Up from Last Year

State Game and Fish Department biologists expect a fall duck flight from North Dakota that is up 12 percent from last year and the 20th highest since 1965, based on observations from the annual mid-July waterfowl production survey.

This year’s duck brood index was up 37 percent from last year, and showed 5.11 broods per square mile, an increase of 39 percent. Average brood size is unchanged at 6.76 ducklings per brood.

Migratory game bird management supervisor Mike Szymanski said conditions were pretty dry after the May breeding duck survey, which indicated duck numbers and wetlands were down. “But most of the state received abundant rainfall from late May through early July, which was encouraging for the summer survey,” he said.

The July survey showed duck production in the northern tier of the state was very good, and Szymanski mentioned even areas further south were still quite favorable. “We have been seeing good numbers of broods since the summer survey, and especially lots of young birds, which indicates renesting efforts were very strong,” Szymanski said.

Mallards, gadwall and blue-winged teal are the top three duck species that nest in North Dakota, and together they accounted for about 75 percent of the broods observed in the summer survey. Mallard brood numbers were up about 22 percent from last year, gadwalls were up about 47 percent, and blue-winged teal broods were up 45 percent. Blue-winged teal are typically the most prevalent breeding duck in North Dakota. In addition, pintail brood numbers were up 142 percent.

Observers also count water areas during the summer survey, and this year’s water index was up 11 percent from last year. Szymanski said wetlands in the north central were still below average, but other areas were close to or slightly above average.

“Wetland conditions are still on the dry side, as the early summer rains slowed down quite a bit,” he added. “The larger basins are in pretty good shape, and even some of the local smaller basins that were dry this spring were filled from the earlier rainfall. But the small, shallow basins are beginning to show the effects and have the potential to dry up before the hunting season begins.”

Game and Fish biologists will conduct a separate survey in September to assess wetland conditions heading into the waterfowl hunting seasons.

The Game and Fish summer duck brood survey involves 18 routes that cover all sectors of the state, except west and south of the Missouri River. Biologists count and classify duck broods and water areas within 220 yards on each side of the road.

The survey started in the mid-1950s, and all routes used today have been in place since 1965.

2018 Small Game, Waterfowl and Furbearer Regulations Set

North Dakota’s 2018 small game, waterfowl and furbearer regulations are set and most season structures are similar to last year.

However, one major change from last year involves Canada goose hunting zones.

The Canada goose hunting season is divided into three zones – Missouri River, western and eastern. The Missouri River Canada goose zone has the same boundary as last year, while the western zone has the same boundary as the high plains duck unit, excluding the Missouri River zone. The eastern zone has the same boundary as the low plains duck unit.

Other noteworthy items include:

  • Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 22 for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North DakotaSept. 29.
  • The daily limit on pintails has increased from one to two.
  • The prairie chicken and sage grouse seasons will remain closed due to low populations.
  • In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from Oct. 6-12.

In addition, the state’s waterfowl, small game and furbearer regulations will have a new look this fall.

No longer printed as separate documents, North Dakota’s 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Guide includes three main sections – upland game, migratory game bird and furbearer/trapping.

The 52-page document offers much of the same information hunters and trappers rely on, but in a much more user-friendly format. In addition, the guide also features a 4-page colored duck identification guide, aquatic nuisance species information, boating safety for hunters and Tom Roster’s Nontoxic Shot Lethality Table.

Hunters and trappers can find the guide by visiting the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Printed guides will be available at vendor locations in mid-August.

For a complete listing of opening and closing dates, and daily and possession limits, refer to the table on pages 4-5 of the guide.