Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Pays $644,000 in Property Taxes

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently paid more than $644,000 in taxes to counties in which the department owns or leases land. The 2016 in-lieu-of-tax payments are the same as property taxes paid by private landowners.

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The Game and Fish Department manages more than 200,000 acres for wildlife habitat and public hunting in 51 counties. The department does not own or manage any land in Traill or Renville counties.

National Campaign Focuses on Boating Under Influence

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will again participate in Operation Dry Water as part of a nationally coordinated effort to increase knowledge about the dangers of boating under the influence. The goal is to reduce the number of accidents and deaths associated with alcohol and drug use on our waterways.

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Operation Dry Water weekend, June 30-July 2, is the national weekend of heightened enforcement effort directed at boating under the influence laws and recreational boater outreach.

While informing and educating boaters about the hazards and negative outcomes associated with boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a year-round effort, on ODW weekend the Game and Fish Department’s game wardens will be focused on the water informing boaters about safe boating practices, and removing impaired operators from the water.

“Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as it does when driving a car, even more so because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, noise and the vibrations of the boat,” said Jackie Lundstrom, the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement division operations supervisor. “Everyone wants to have a great summer on the water, and to do that you’ve got to stay safe and stay sober while underway.”

Tips to staying safe on the water:

  • Boat sober. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Alcohol and drugs use impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
  • Wear your life jacket. 85 percent of drowning victims nationwide were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Take a boating safety education course. 71 percent of deaths nationwide occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.

 

Fireworks Prohibited on Wildlife Management Areas

 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

090313-WMA-sign-placingThe primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.

 

Excessive noise and commotion that come with fireworks disturbs wildlife, and their explosive nature is a potential source of wildfires. Chances of a wildfire developing are greatly enhanced when explosives, such as fireworks, come in contact with tall grasses in rural areas.

 

A complete list of the WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

photo by Harold Umber, ND Game and Fish

Women Invited to Hike Maah Daah Hey Trail

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has openings for Hike the Maah Daah Hey Trail, a Becoming an Outdoors-Woman event scheduled for July 15-16.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

This workshop is designed for women with previous hiking or backpacking skills, or who are in good physical condition. Participants will hike a 13-mile portion of the trail near the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Activity is strenuous due to rough terrain. The $30 fee includes group gear and transportation to and from the CCC Campground. Each participant must provide their own personal gear and meals.

Women interested in attending the workshop must enroll online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. More information is available by contacting Brian Schaffer at 701-328-6312, or email ndgf@nd.gov.

Traveling Boaters Should Check Border State and Provincial ANS Regulations

North Dakota boaters who are traveling to other states or Canadian provinces should check the aquatic nuisance species regulations of their destination to make sure they are in compliance.

While many of North Dakota’s ANS prevention regulations are similar to surrounding states and provinces, state Game and Fish Department ANS coordinator Jessica Howell says there are some subtle differences that could lead to travel interruption or citations depending on the circumstances.

“Removal of all water and vegetation, as well as pulled plugs while traveling, are generally the rule in neighboring states and provinces,” Howell said, “but there are some places where ‘dry’ is also a requirement, meaning no residual water anywhere in the boat.”

Mandatory boat inspections may be required based on destination or route taken. For example, Howell said anyone pulling a boat into Canada will likely have it inspected at a border crossing. Some states, including Montana, have inspection checkpoints along highways, and some lakes have inspectors at boat ramps. Any boats that are not in compliance will likely get delayed in their travels or be prevented from launching, Howell added.

In addition, Howell said boats on Canyon Ferry or Tiber reservoirs in Montana will need to be decontaminated when leaving. “There is a greater chance of being stopped for inspection in Montana because of zebra mussel findings,” she said.

Boaters should be aware of regulations for not only their destination, but for any states they are traveling through. More information on bordering state and provincial ANS regulations is available at the following web addresses.

North Dakota ANS regulations are as follows:

  • All aquatic vegetation must be removed from boats, personal watercraft, trailers and fishing equipment such as fishing poles, bait buckets, lures and waders before leaving a body of water. That means “vegetation free” when transporting watercraft and/or equipment away from a boat ramp, landing area or shoreline. Time out of the water needed to remove aquatic vegetation at the immediate water access area is allowed.
  • All water must be drained from boats and other watercraft, including bilges, livewells, baitwells and motors before leaving a water body.
  • All drain plugs that may hold back water must be removed, and water draining devices must be open, on all watercraft and recreational, commercial and construction equipment bilges and confined spaces, during any out-of-water transport of same.
  • Transportation of fish in or on ice is allowed.
  • Live aquatic bait or aquatic vegetation may not be transported into North Dakota.
  • All legal live aquatic organisms used by anglers, including legal baitfish (fathead minnows), amphibians (salamanders and frogs), invertebrates (crayfish and leeches) and insects must be purchased and/or trapped in North Dakota.
  • Anglers may not transport live bait in water away from the Red River (Class I ANS infested waters). All water must be drained from bait buckets as anglers leave the shore, or remove their boat from the water. Anglers must properly dispose of unused bait away from the river, as dumping bait in the water or on shore is illegal.
  • In all other waters not infested with Class I ANS species, anglers can transport live bait in water in containers of five gallons or less in volume.

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Test Set

The next guide and outfitter written examination is Aug. 12 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.

Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.

Spring Breeding Duck Numbers Tallied

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 70th annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 2.95 million birds, down 15 percent from last year.

Migratory game bird supervisor Mike Szymanski said even though the index is below 3 million for the first time since 1994, it still stands 23 percent above the long-term average (1948-2016) and is the 24th highest on record.

“Fortunately, we still have a lot of ducks,” Szymanski said.

Survey results indicate canvasbacks (up 23 percent), pintails (up 5 percent) and redheads (up 2 percent) increased from their 2016 estimates, while shovelers were unchanged. Mallards were fairly stable (down 5 percent), while ruddy ducks showed the largest decrease (down 36 percent). All other ducks were 16-28 percent below last year’s numbers. However, most species, with the exception of pintails, blue-winged teal and ruddy ducks, were well-above the 69-year average.

The number of temporary and seasonal wetlands was higher than last year, as figures show the spring water index is up 78 percent. However, Szymanski said that is misleading.

“Last year’s water index was very low during our survey, and was followed by a lot of rain in late spring,” he added. “When you combine that with winter snow melt, the temporary and seasonal wetlands had water during the survey, but were struggling to hang on. It’s been quite dry since we did the survey, and once again those wetlands are dry.”

Szymanski said because of habitat concerns, it looks like there might be a struggle to produce ducks, with the exception of the northeast portion of the state and to a lesser degree the northern tier.

“We’ve lost a lot of nesting cover since 2007, and now we are going into summer without much water,” he said. “I just don’t think the ducks will have very good production in a lot of areas.”

Szymanski said there were also areas struggling to attract pairs of ducks where he expected to see better numbers. “There was a fair bit of water in bigger basins, but those larger water areas aren’t attractive to ducks, as they look for smaller wetlands, and those were drying up.”

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

The water index is based on basins with water, and does not necessarily represent the amount of water contained in wetlands or the type of wetlands represented.

Szymanski said the July brood survey will provide a better idea of duck production and insight into expectations for this fall.

“And as we have seen in recent years, a lot depends on bird movements before and during hunting seasons, and weather patterns during the migration,” he said.

 

have you read? June Outdoors Magazine FREE!

 

 

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

 

North Dakota Outdoors Editor Ron Wilson writes  Fishing For Options  In a walleye-mad state, where this is the fish of choice for 80-plus percent of the anglers, maybe news of the best bluegill fishing in decades doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

 

Then again, perhaps it should.

 

 

Ron also wrote  Milkweeds and Monarchs

 

Greg Link, North Dakota Game and Fish Department conservation and communications chief, said the monarch butterfly population has fallen from an estimated high of almost 1 billion in 1996 to a low of 35 million in 2013. Wintering ground population estimates in Mexico in 2015-16 showed that the population rebounded some, but the concern remains.

 

 

Forgotten Fish of Western North Dakota’s Small Streams

 

Western North Dakota streams flow through either badlands or rolling prairies. Badland streams drain the Little Missouri River basin within the river’s historic floodplain. The hillslopes have eroded over time and have little vegetation protecting them from further erosion. Many badlands streams have wide, shallow channels and many become dry, except for pools during low flow periods of late summer.

 

 

 

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

North Dakota Outdoors Editor Ron Wilson writes  Fishing For Options  In a walleye-mad state, where this is the fish of choice for 80-plus percent of the anglers, maybe news of the best bluegill fishing in decades doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

Then again, perhaps it should.

Ron also wrote  Milkweeds and Monarchs

Greg Link, North Dakota Game and Fish Department conservation and communications chief, said the monarch butterfly population has fallen from an estimated high of almost 1 billion in 1996 to a low of 35 million in 2013. Wintering ground population estimates in Mexico in 2015-16 showed that the population rebounded some, but the concern remains.

Forgotten Fish of Western North Dakota’s Small Streams

Western North Dakota streams flow through either badlands or rolling prairies. Badland streams drain the Little Missouri River basin within the river’s historic floodplain. The hillslopes have eroded over time and have little vegetation protecting them from further erosion. Many badlands streams have wide, shallow channels and many become dry, except for pools during low flow periods of late summer.

 

une

Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest Open

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is now open, and the deadline for submissions is Oct. 2.

The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.

Contest entries are limited to digital files submitted on disk or via email. Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.

By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine, and on the Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

Photo disks should be sent to Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest, C/O Patrick T. Isakson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND58501-5095.

Send emailed digital photos to photocontest@nd.gov. Photographers will need to supply the original image if needed for publication.

Photo disks will not be returned. All entries must be accompanied by the photographer’s name, address, phone number and email address if available. Other information such as photo site location and month taken are also useful.photo by Ed Bry, ND Game and Fish