Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Sponsors Earth Day Project

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is once again celebrating Earth Day by sponsoring clean-up days on publicly owned or managed lands.


With Earth Day recognized April 22, each member of a school, Girl Scout, Boy Scout, 4-H club or youth organization who participates in cleaning up public lands through May will receive a specifically designed conservation patch.


Last winter the Game and Fish Department sponsored a contest for students ages 6-18 to design a North Dakota Earth Day Patch. Winners in the three age categories were Damien Twinn of Fort Yates (6-9), Kalen Kinzell of Courtenay (10-13), and Daniel Schumacher of Linton (14-18). Schumacher’s design was chosen as the contest winner and will be used on this year’s Earth Day patch.


Groups participating in the Earth Day project are encouraged to take the following precautions to ensure safety: keep young people away from highways, lakes and rivers; and only allow older participants to pick up broken glass.


Interested participants are asked to contact Pat Lothspeich at 328-6332 to receive a reporting form for their project.

NASP State Tournament Results

A record 820 archers competed in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state bull’s-eye tournament March 22-23 in Minot.


Oakes students claimed top honors in the elementary (grades 4-6) and middle school (grades 7-8) divisions, while Hankinson received the top prize in the high school (grades 9-12) division.


The overall male winner was Barnes County North archer Casey Everson, while Hankinson student Kirstan Loewen claimed the top spot in the female division.


Winning teams and the top 10 individuals qualify for the national tournaments, scheduled for May in Louisville, Ky and June in Salt Lake City, UT. The Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Youth Archery Advisory Council contribute a total of $3,000 in travel assistance to the first place team in each division, and $1,000 to the overall male and female individual winners. In addition, a total of $20,000 in college scholarships was awarded by the NDYAAC to the top five overall scorers in both boys and girls divisions.


Qualifying for nationals in each division are:


High school boys – 1) Casey Everson, Barnes County North; 2) Joshua Wiebusch, Wahpeton; 3) Chase Bladow, Hankinson; 4) Mason Kamlitz, Oakes; 5) Andrew Hill, Oakes; 6) Jaden Payne, Glenburn; 7) Cheyne Meyer, Hankinson; 8) Austin Bladow, Hankinson; 9) Erich Scheffert, Oakes; 10) Dalton Gartner, Edgeley.


High school girls – 1) Gracie Gunderson, Medina; 2) Ainsley Helgerson, Oakes; 3) Sydni Berg, Edgeley; 4) Josephine Nelson, North Sargent; 5) Avery Trittin, Lidgerwood; 6) Grace Neameyer, Mt. Pleasant; 7) Chase McFarland, North Sargent; 8) Mary Goroski, Wahpeton; 9) Octavia Ralph-Martin, Griggs County Central; 10) Jaden Gilje, North Sargent.


Middle school boys – 1) Jake Hennings, Bottineau; 2) Colin Olson, North Sargent; 3) Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes; 4) Hunter Genre, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 5) Brady Sand; Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg; 6) Hunter Kamlitz, Oakes; 7) Brady Haugen, Griggs County Central; 8) Nick Hansen, North Sargent; 9) Samuel Abel, South Prairie; 10) Calvin Satrom, Hope-Page.


Middle school girls – 1) Kirstan Loewen, Hankinson; 2) Kaitlyn Folkman, Oakes; 3) Rylee Suhr, Griggs County Central; 4) Eve Thompson, Hope-Page; 5) Ariana Onchuck, Hankinson; 6) Allison Thomas, Pingree-Buchanan; 7) Zoey Bohnenstingl, Lidgerwood; 8) Jewels Hamling, Hankinson; 9) Kyria Dockter, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 10) Bethany Schafer, Lidgerwood.


Elementary boys – 1) Brady Hanson, Edgeley; 2) Braysen Sagert, Oakes; 3) Alex Weisenburger, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 4) Parker Deering, Oakes; 5) William Bergquist, Wilton; 6) Adam Ryun, Medina; 7) Hayden Risty, Wilton; 8) Ryan Roeder, Hankinson; 9) Jayson Schlenker, Barnes County North; 10) Tucker Deering, Oakes.


Elementary girls – 1) Danica Onchuck, Hankinson; 2) Shayle Zimbelman, Oakes; 3) Braylyn McKown, Wyndmere; 4) Claire Wehseler, North Sargent; 5) Matilda Moch, Edgeley; 6) Mackenzie Nogowski, North Sargent; 7) Jourdyn Buchholz, Griggs County Central; 8) Kiara Frederick, Wilton; 9) Claire Leidy, Wilton; 10) Logan Cudworth, New Rockford-Sheyenne.


In addition, 570 archers competed in a NASP 3-D Challenge, run simultaneously with the bull’s-eye tournament.


Overall male and female winners were Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes, and Josephine Nelson, North Sargent.


Austin Bladow of Hankinson was the winner of a pronghorn hunt in Wyoming, determined by a shoot-out after placing among the top three boys and girls final score.


Top performers in the 3-D high school boys were 1) Cheyen Meyer, Hankinson; 2) Austin Bladow, Hankinson; 3) Mason Kamlitz, Oakes.


3-D high school girls – 1) Josephine Nelson, North Sargent; 2) Avery Trittin, Lidgerwood; 3) Ainsley Helgerson, Oakes.


3-D middle school boys – 1) Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes; 2) Hunter Genre, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 3) Tommy Baldwin, Lidgerwood.


3-D middle school girls – 1) Mackenzie Motter, Hope-Page; 2) Ariana Onchuck, Hankinson; 3) Kirstan Loewen, Hankinson.


3-D elementary boys – 1) Braysen Sagert, Oakes; 2) Wayland Sabinash, Kensal; 3) Parker Deering, Oakes.


3-D elementary girls – 1) Danica Onchuck, Hankinson; 2) Shayle Zimbelman, Oakes; 3) Braylyn McKown, Wyndmere.

Report Bald Eagle Nest Sightings

The state Game and Fish Department is asking for help in locating active bald eagle nests in North Dakota.


Game and Fish conservation biologist Sandra Johnson said the department is looking for locations of nests with eagles present, not individual eagle sightings.


Eagles lay eggs in early-to-mid March, and hatch about a month later. Johnson said it’s easy to distinguish an eagle nest because of its enormous size.


“And you don’t have to travel far to find one, as we have around 270 active bald eagle nests, and possibly more, in the state,” Johnson said, while noting that in 2008 North Dakota had only 50 active nests.


Eagle nests are observed in more than three-quarters of the counties in the state, mostly near streams and mid- to large-sized lakes. However, they are also found in unique areas such as shelterbelts surrounded by cropland or pasture.


Nest observations should be reported online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Observers are asked to not disturb the nest, and to stay a safe distance away. Johnson said foot traffic may disturb the bird, likely causing the eagle to leave her eggs or young unattended.

have you read? March-April ND Outdoors

The March/April  2019 North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find ND Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand’s column Matters Of Opinioninside the cover: While you’ll read and hear about a number of lakes winterkilling across North Dakota’s landscape, the fallout of snow covering our waters for such a long period of time was anticipated. This is simply the nature of things on the Northern Plains where Mother Nature reminds us often who is in charge.


Greg Power, Fisheries Division Chief, revisits  A Fishing Report Card

In the past 15 years, North Dakota has experienced characteristic extreme shifts in weather, which influence short- and long-term fishing opportunities in the state. Periodically during that time, I’ve provided a North Dakota fishing report card to assess how well the state’s fisheries are doing.


I think you’ll enjoy and appreciate Ron Wilson Back Cast

I worked with a newspaper reporter years ago who proudly hung his hat and young career on a two-word headline that warned readers of an impending winter storm that promised inches of snow, strong winds and falling temperatures.

The “Brace Yourselves” headline ran on the front page above the fold in large type that barked at passing readers through the windows of the yellow newspaper boxes. His two-word alarm was simple, to the point and, most importantly, accurate. Lots of snow fell, the wind blew, and it was cold.

Whooping Crane Migration

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


The whooping cranes that do make their way through North Dakota each spring are part of a population of about 500 birds that are on their way from wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas to their nesting grounds at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada, a distance of about 2,500 miles.


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 Audubon, 701-442-5474, 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.

Advisory Board Meetings Annouced

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department spring advisory board meeting in their area.


These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.


The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.


Any person who requires an auxiliary aid or service must notify the contact person at least five days prior to the scheduled meeting date.


District 5 – Counties: Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill

Date: April 1 – 7 p.m.

Location: City Hall, 14497 42nd St. SE, Embden

Host: Four Corners Wildlife Club

Contact: Kent Jensen, 793-4446

Advisory board member: Duane Hanson, West Fargo, 367-4249


District 8 – Counties: Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark

Date: April 1 – 7 p.m.

Location: Eagles Club, 21 First Ave. E., Dickinson

Host: Cannonball Company

Contact: Nicole Haase, 209-0214

Advisory board member: Dwight Hecker, Dickinson, 483-4952


District 1 – Counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams

Date: April 2 – 7 p.m.

Location: Civic Center, 213 Second St. NE, Watford City

Host: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Little Missouri Chapter

Contact and advisory board member: Beau Wisness, Keene, 421-8814


District 4 – Counties: Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh

Date: April 2 – 7 p.m.

Location: Community Center, Minto

Host: Minto Area Sportsman’s

Contact: Keith Shutt, 520-3456

Advisory board member: Joe Solseng, 317-5009


District 6 – Counties: Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells

Date: April 8 – 7 p.m.

Location: Fireside Restaurant, Ellendale

Host: Pheasants Forever

Contact: Charles Kingzett, 210-0608

Advisory board member: Cody Sand, Ashley, 357-7011


District 7 – Counties: Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux

Date: April 8 – 7 p.m.

Location: Game and Fish Main Office, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck

Host: Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club

Contact: Dave Dewald, 471-1046

Advisory board member: Dave Nehring, Bismarck, 214-3184


District 2 – Counties: Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.

Location: Wildlife Club, 1901 Hwy 52 W., Velva

Host: Velva Wildlife Club

Contact: DJ Randolph, 720-2134

Advisory board member: Robert Gjellstad, Voltaire, 338-2281


District 3 – Counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.

Location: Lake Region State College, 1801 College Dr., Devils Lake


Contact and advisory board member: Tom Rost, Devils Lake, 662-8620


Spring Turkey Application Deadline Feb. 13

Prospective spring turkey hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting an application for the 2019 season is Feb. 13.

Spring turkey applicants can apply online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling 800-406-6409. Paper applications are not available.

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

Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents.

The season opens April 13 and continues through May 19.

spring turkey lottery results from 2018

have you read?

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

You’ll find ND Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand’s column Matters Of Opinioninside the cover: I’ve written more than once on this page how seriously many North Dakotans take their deer hunting. To repeat myself, the state’s deer gun season, or more so the opening weekend of the season, has a holiday feel to it. Sort of like Christmas.


Ron Wilson wrote:  Fishing Stories, Measuring Angler Success

Erica Sevigny has heard her share of fishing stories this winter.

As a winter creel clerk for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department on Lake Audubon, Sevigny knocks on ice house doors to ask ice anglers a few simple questions about their fishing trip.

Game Warden Corey Erck  takes you on a ride along with A Warden’s Story

I’m often asked what I like best about being a game warden. The answer is easy: No two days are the same and the job changes with the seasons.

Every time my phone rings, it’s only a guess if it’s a routine call about clarifying a hunting regulation or something you’d never expect. Maybe the best way to illustrate this is to relay the events of one day in November 2017.


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 2019 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 outreach biologist  Pat Lothspeich by email at ndgf@nd.gov, or call 701-328-6332.