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 Brooke Livingston of Kenmare (6-9), Abbey Peterson of Velva (10-13), and Deanna Rose of Grand Forks (14-18). Rose’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

While a spring snowstorm kept some of the record 750 registrants from attending, 600 archers did compete in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state bull’s-eye tournament in Minot March 23-24.


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 Hankinson archer Cheyne Meyer, while Medina student Gracie Gunderson claimed the top spot in the female division.


Winning teams and the top 10 individuals qualify for the national tournament, scheduled for May in Louisville, Ky. 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) Cheyne Meyer, Hankinson; 2) Ty Wixo, Wahpeton; 3) Conor Shall, Oakes; 4) Evan Mickelson, Mt. Pleasant; 5) Chase Bladow, Hankinson; 6) Michael McKenna, North Sargent; 7) Clayton Stone, Hankinson; 8) Koven Walford, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 9) Michael Heim, Oakes; 10) Ben Frankki, Lidgerwood.


High school girls – 1) Gracie Gunderson, Medina; 2) Alicia Biewer, Hankinson; 3) Kate Loewen, Hankinson; 4) Jaden Gilje, North Sargent; 5) Jaidyn Sander, Hankinson; 6) Josephine Nelson, North Sargent; 7) Sydni Berg, Edgeley; 8) Avery Trittin, Lidgerwood; 9) Ainsley Helgerson, Oakes; 10) Mary Goroski, Wahpeton.


Middle school boys – 1) Brady Sand, Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg; 2) Casey Everson, Barnes County North; 3) Joshua Wiebusch, Wahpeton; 4) Jack Thompson, Hope-Page; 5) Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes; 6) Dillon Deering, Oakes; 7) Justin Schlenker, Barnes County North; 8) Grady Henderson, Edgeley; 9) Avery McFarland, North Sargent; 10) Marcus Garza, Oakes.


Middle school girls – 1) Rylee Suhr, Griggs County; 2) Lily Wiek, Oakes; 3) Ariana Onchuck, Hankinson; 4) Mackenzie Motter, Hope-Page; 5) Jaycee Brown, Hankinson; 6) Tallin Schafer, Lidgerwood; 7) Paetyn Hamann, North Sargent; 8) Sadie Keller, Hankinson; 9) Trinity Brandenburg, Edgeley; 10) Madison Sitzmann, Edgeley.


Elementary boys – 1) Brady Haugen, Griggs County; 2) Braysen Sagert, Oakes; 3) Damian Carlson, Edgeley; 4) Colin Olson, North Sargent; 5) Tucker Schacher, Wilton; 6) Wayland Sabinash, Kensal; 7) Connor Boe, Oakes; 8) Bryson McKown, Wyndmere; 9) Zachary Quinn, Wilton; 10) Andrew Jean, Hankinson.


Elementary girls – 1) Madison Samuelson, Mt. Pleasant; 2) Shayle Zimbelman, Oakes; 3) Carrie Osier, North Sargent; 4) Taya Schelske, Medina; 5) Avery St. Germaine, Mt. Pleasant; 6) Merissa Sitzmann, Edgeley; 7) Danica Onchuck, Hankinson; 8) Kaiya O’Connor, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 9) Serenity Reynolds, Pingree-Buchanan; 10) Kiara Frederick, Wilton.


In addition, archers had the option of competing in a NASP 3-D Challenge, run simultaneously with the bull’s-eye tournament.


Overall male and female winners were Brady Sand, Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg, and Gracie Gunderson, Medina.


Andrew Hill of Oakes was the winner of a pronghorn hunt in Wyoming, with the winning score decided by a one arrow shoot-off from the top five overall archers.


Top performers in the 3-D high school boys were 1) Andrew Hill, Oakes; 2) Chase Bladow, Hankinson; 3) Conor Shall, Oakes; 4) Tavon Stadler, Griggs County; 5) Evan Mickelson, Mt. Pleasant.


3-D high school girls – 1) Gracie Gunderson, Medina; 2) Jaidyn Sander, Hankinson; 3) Josephine Nelson, North Sargent; 4) Kate Loewen, Hankinson; 5) Avery Trittin, Lidgerwood.


3-D middle school boys – 1) Brady Sand, Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg; 2) Joshua Wiebusch, Wahpeton; 3) Clancy Zimbelman, Oakes; 4) Jack Thompson, Hope-Page; 5) Maxin Walock, Oakes.


3-D middle school girls – 1) Piper Suhr, Griggs County; 2) Rylee Suhr, Griggs County; 3) Kyria Dockter, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 4) Paetyn Hamann, North Sargent; 5) Aysia Frederick, Wilton.


3-D elementary boys – 1) Damian Carlson, Edgeley; 2) Braysen Sagert, Oakes; 3) Colin Olson, North Sargent; 4) Alex Weisenburger, New Rockford-Sheyenne; 5) Brady Haugen, Griggs County.


3-D elementary girls – 1) Madison Samuelson, Mt. Pleasant; 2) Shayle Zimbelman, Oakes; 3) Merissa Sitzmann, Edgeley; 4) Carrie Osier, North Sargent; 5) Skyler Foertsch, Hankinson.


Have You Read? March-April Outdoors magazine

have you read?

The 2018 March-April North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE onlineright now here.

Leading off the issue is Director Terry Steinwand’s Matters of Opinion While an inconvenience for anyone traveling or clearing sidewalks and driveways, the heavy, wet snows that fell on much of the state in March were welcome.

North Dakota’s fishing opportunities today are many. With a record number of lakes across the state that hold, in some instances, robust fish populations, the precipitation was needed.

Greg Power, fisheries division chief explains, The Value Of Fishing

Have you ever wondered why the diamond on a ring may cost $10,000 or more, yet it has no material utility other than to shine? Or why a teaspoon of salty fish eggs may run $100, even if the majority of people would prefer nothing more than just the cracker on which the eggs are served?

Ron Wilson, North Dakota Outdoors editor, this months examines the history of the “Whopper Club” with his Look Back column.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department officials unveiled the Whopper Club program to anglers nearly 60 years ago.

Is it fair to say that Department heads in 1960 didn’t envision this program to still be swimming upstream with purpose in 2018?

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 are incubating eggs in April, and it’s easy to distinguish an eagle nest because of its enormous size. Johnson estimates the state has around 240 active bald eagle nests, possibly more.

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. In addition, observations can be submitted by email to ndgf@nd.gov, or call 701-328-6300.

Observers are asked to not disturb the nest, and to stay away at a safe distance. Johnson said foot traffic may disturb the bird, likely causing the eagle to leave her eggs or young unattended.

Deer Gratis Applications Online

North Dakota landowners who are interested in applying for a 2018 deer gratis license can fill out their application online starting April 2 by visiting the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. The general deer lottery and muzzleloader applications will be online in early May. The deadline for applying is June 6.

Chief of administrative services Kim Kary said the Game and Fish Department decided to open the deer gratis application period a month earlier than in past years, to provide additional time for landowners to get accustomed to the new online-only licensing system.

“Online applications is part of the plan that was initiated by the state legislature in 2015, which required Game and Fish to develop an all-electronic licensing system that went into effect two years ago,” Kary said. “When you factor in that more than 90 percent of regular lottery applications, and nearly 75 percent gratis, were already submitted online, it was the right time to eliminate paper applications and go completely online.”

Gratis applicants who have previously applied online or by paper will already have their land description entered into the system. Kary said applicants will be able to copy the land description from the previous year into this year’s application. “Landowners will still need to bring up their land description and add the number of acres for each tract,” Kary added. “In addition, any changes to the land description from the previous year will have to be made.”

Kary suggest landowners who do not have access to a computer should contact a friend, relative or neighbor who does, or find a public service location such as a public library, or stop at a Game and Fish office. “We will have a computer set up to use,” Kary said, while mentioning that the electronic system at vendors is not set up to handle lottery/gratis applications.

Spring turkey, moose, elk and bighorn sheep applications were all submitted online in 2018, and Kary said the process worked extremely well. “We will continue to require all electronic applications as we move forward, which includes pronghorn, swan and fall turkey,” she said.


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 are part of a population of about 400 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 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.

Advisory Board Meetings Announced

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

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.




Advisory board member: Tom Rost, Devils Lake, 662-8620


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

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.

Location: American Legion, 108 5th St. E., Park River

Host: Walsh County Gun Club

Contact: Doug Hove, 360-0709

Advisory board member: Joe Solseng, 317-5009


District 1 – Counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams

Date: April 10 – 7 p.m.

Location: Library Meeting Room, 1302 Davidson St., Williston

Host: Upper Missouri United Sportsmen

Contact: Wayne Aberle, 770-6902

Advisory board member: Beau Wisness, Keene, 675-2067


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

Date: April 10 – 7 p.m.

Location: City Hall, 701 First St. N., Casselton

Host: Cass County Wildlife Club

Contact: Doug Madsen, 238-3087

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


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

Date: April 16 – 7 p.m.

Location: Farmers Union Insurance, 1415 12th Ave. SE, Jamestown

Host: Stutsman County Wildlife Federation

Contact: Matt Opsahl, 368-9907

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


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

Date: April 16 – 7 p.m.

Location: Research Extension Center, 102 Highway 12 W., Hettinger

Host: Hettinger Rod and Gun Club

Contact: Bill Ecker, 567-2149

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


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

Date: April 17 – 7 p.m.

Location: Verendrye Electric Cooperative, Highway 2 Bypass E., Minot

Host: Souris River Basin Long Beards

Contact: DJ Randolph, 720-2134

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


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

Date: April 17 – 7 p.m.

Location: Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck

Host: Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club

Contact: Dave Dewald, 471-1046

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



2017 Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Elk Harvests

Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2017 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 92 percent for moose and 58 percent for elk.

The department issued four bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All five hunters harvested a bighorn ram.

The department issued 245 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 240 hunters harvested 221 animals – 138 bulls and 83 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:






Success Rate































The department issued 400 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 362 hunters harvested 211 elk – 112 bulls and 99 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:






Success Rate
































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.



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.