Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

2018 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 48,717 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 31,350 deer during the 2018 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish made available 55,150 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 64 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.

Hunter success for both antlered and antlerless white-tailed deer was 64 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 81 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 83 percent.

Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 69 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 65 percent.

Game and Fish issued 13,098 gratis licenses in 2018, and 10,785 hunters harvested 5,832 deer, for a success rate of 54 percent.

A total of 1,022 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2018, and 900 hunters harvested 349 white-tailed deer (176 antlered, 173 antlerless). Hunter success was 39 percent.

A record 28,824 archery licenses (26,318 resident, 2,506 nonresident) were issued in 2018. In total, 22,666 bow hunters harvested 8,914 deer (7,927 whitetails, 987 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2019. In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, Game and Fish staff monitor other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

2018 Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Elk Harvests

Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2018 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 92 percent for moose and 65 percent for elk.

 

The department issued two bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All three hunters harvested a bighorn ram.

 

The department issued 329 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 319 hunters harvested 294 animals – 138 bulls and 156 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:

 

Unit Hunters Bulls Cow/Calf Success Rate
M5 5 3 1 80
M6 14 9 3 86
M8 14 13 0 93
M9 93 34 49 89
M10

M11

107

86

50

29

52

51

95

93

 

The department issued 418 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 380 hunters harvested 248 elk – 135 bulls and 113 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:

 

Unit Hunters Bulls Cow/Calf Success Rate
E1E

E1W

57

37

17

10

16

17

58

73

E2 128 35 35 55
E3 125 52 40 74
E4

E6

22

11

17

4

0

5

77

82

Sampling Data Available

Anglers looking for a more in-depth look into many of North Dakota’s fisheries will have that chance soon on the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

 

Jerry Weigel, fisheries production/development section supervisor, said beginning in early December, anglers will be able to view the most recent fisheries sampling data on those waters surveyed, which is the same data biologists use to make management decisions.

 

The various sampling surveys, for example, provide some insight into the sizes of fish in a lake and general population trends.

 

This most recent data will be available online for those lakes surveyed. Weigel said Game and Fish doesn’t have the personnel to survey all of the nearly 450 active lakes every year, but the majority of the better fishing waters are monitored annually.

 

Weigel said sampling data complements the other information – driving directions, contour maps, fish species and boat ramp availability – already provided on the website for all active fisheries.

Late Season Hunting Opportunities End Soon

North Dakota waterfowl hunters are reminded the statewide duck and white-fronted goose seasons close Dec. 2. However, duck hunting in the high plains unit reopens Dec. 8 and continues through Dec. 30.

 

In addition, the season for Canada geese closes Dec. 16 in the eastern zone, Dec. 21 in the western zone and Dec. 28 in the Missouri River zone. Light goose hunting closes statewide Dec. 30.

 

Archery deer, fall turkey, sharp-tailed and ruffed grouse, partridge, pheasant and tree squirrel hunting seasons continue through Jan. 6, 2019.

Ice Awareness for Anglers, Hunters

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is urging winter anglers and late-season hunters to use extreme caution when venturing out on ice.

 

Ice thickness is never consistent, especially early in winter, and can vary significantly on the same body of water. Edges become firm before the center.

 

A few reminders include:

  • Snow insulates ice, which in turn inhibits solid ice formation, and hides cracks, weak and open water areas.
  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Ice thickness is not consistent and can vary significantly even in a small area. Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

 

These tips could help save a life:

  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.

Some Refuges Open to Late-Season Upland Game

Hunters are reminded that several national wildlife refuges in North Dakota are open to late-season upland game bird hunting the day after the deer gun season closes.

 

Arrowwood, Audubon, Des Lacs, J. Clark Salyer, Lake Alice, Lake Zahl, Long Lake, Lostwood, Tewaukon (pheasants only), and Upper Souris NWRs open Nov. 26.

 

However, portions of each refuge are closed to hunting. Hunters should contact refuge headquarters for information on closed areas and other restrictions: Arrowwood 701-285-3341; Audubon 701-442-5474; Des Lacs 701-385-4046; J. Clark Salyer 701-768-2548; Lake Alice 701-662-8611; Lake Zahl 701-965-6488; Long Lake 701-387-4397; Lostwood 701-848-2722; Tewaukon 701-724-3598; and Upper Souris 701-468-5467; or visit www.fws.gov and click on “National Wildlife Refuges” for details on each individual refuge.

 

National wildlife refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunters are reminded that use of nontoxic shot is required on all USFWS lands. State regulations found in the North Dakota 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Guide apply. Seasons for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse close statewide on Jan. 6, 2019.

have you read?

The 2018 November  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 Opinion inside the cover

The number of deer gun licenses made available to hunters this year (55,150) was more than 2017 (54,500). While that is not a big increase, we are heading in the right direction.

Here at Game and Fish, our deer management plan, which is reevaluated every five years, calls for making available 75,000 deer licenses to hunters.

Meeting this goal is no easy task because it depends greatly on how winter treats North Dakota’s animals and the amount of wildlife habitat on the landscape.

 

Ron Wilson wrote:  Ice Fishing Today, Looking at Tomorrow

In the past 25 years, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have stocked millions of walleyes into 55 prairie fisheries that cover more than 61,000 acres.

In a state where both open-water and ice anglers place the greatest value on walleye over other fish species, this is good news.

But it gets better.

Ron Wilson takes a look at Shooting Ranges In North Dakota
Properly sighted rifles and shot placement are, for example, important elements to safe, ethical and proficient hunting.

“People need places shoot, to hone their skills and become proficient marksmen and hunters,” said Marty Egeland, Department education supervisor. “It’s our interest at Game and Fish to do what we can to make sure people have somewhere to shoot.”

Advisory Board Meetings Announced

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department fall 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 6 – Counties: Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells

Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.

Location: Civic Center, 33 Center Ave. E., LaMoure

Host: James River Sportsman’s Club

Contact: Bob Flath, 320-0194

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

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

Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.

Location: Buffalo Gap Guest Ranch, 3100 Buffalo Gap Road, Sentinel Butte

Host: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Contact: Shawn Kelley, 402-705-2298

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

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

Date: November 27 – 7 p.m.

Location: Rural Fire District, 215 First St. E., Esmond

Host: Buffalo Lake Wildlife Club

Contact: Julie Groves, 214-0059

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

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

Date: November 27 – 7 p.m.

Location: American Legion, 208 Main St. N., Fordville

Host: Dakota Prairie Wildlife Club

Contact: Lynn Beyer, 331-1074

Advisory board member: Joe Solseng, 317-5009

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

Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.

Location: Mountrail County South Complex, 8103 61st St. NW, Stanley

Host: Mountrail County Fowlers

Contact: Nick Gustafson, 629-1622

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

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

Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.

Location: Chahinkapa Park Hughes Shelter, 820 RJ Hughes Drive, Wahpeton

Host: North Dakota Wildlife Federation

Contact: Wayne Beyer, 642-2811

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

District 1 – Counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams

Date: December 4 – 7 p.m.

Location: Community Center, 1002 Second St. SE, Crosby

Host: Pheasants Forever Northern Ringnecks

Contact: Austin Demmick, 339-3535

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

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

Date: December 4 – 7 p.m.

Location: Veterans Club, 114 First St. NW, Steele

Host: Kidder County Sportsman’s Association

Contact: Jim Simmers, 220-3251

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

Hunters Reminded of Big Game Transport Rules

Hunters harvesting a big game animal in deer gun unit 3F2 are reminded they cannot transport the whole carcass, including the head and spinal column, outside of the unit.

In addition, hunters are prohibited from transporting into or within North Dakota the whole carcass of deer, elk, moose or other members of the cervid family from states and provinces with documented occurrences of CWD in wild populations, or in captive cervids. As a reminder, Montana is now included in the 2018-19 CWD proclamation as a state that has had free-ranging deer, moose or elk diagnosed with CWD and therefore now has big game transport restriction.

Only the following portions of the carcass can be transported:

  • Meat that has been boned out.
  • Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.
  • Hides with no heads attached.
  • Meat that is cut and wrapped either commercially or privately.
  • Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.
  • Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.
  • Upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers or ivories.
  • Finished taxidermy heads.

Hunters should also note that hunting big game over bait, or placing bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, is prohibited in deer units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.