Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Youth Waterfowl is Sept. 15-16

North Dakota’s two-day youth waterfowl season is Sept. 15-16. Legally licensed resident and nonresident youth waterfowl hunters age 15 and younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers statewide.

The daily bag limit and species restrictions for the youth season are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons. Exception: the additional two blue-winged teal allowed during the first 16 days of the regular season are not allowed during the youth season.

Resident and qualifying nonresident youth waterfowl hunters must possess a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Nonresidents from states that do not provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents must purchase the entire nonresident waterfowl license package.

In addition, all youth hunters must be Harvest Information Program certified, and youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course. Hunters age 15 and younger do not need a federal duck stamp.

Hunters who do not HIP certify when they buy a North Dakota license, can add it by visiting the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or by calling 888-634-4798 and recording the HIP number on their printed license.

Shooting hours for the youth waterfowl season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. An adult of at least 18 years of age must accompany the resident youth hunter into the field, and a licensed adult is required to accompany a nonresident youth hunter. The two-day weekend hunt does not count against a nonresident adult hunter’s 14-day regular season waterfowl dates.

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.

2016 Early Canada Goose Harvest Again Tops 36,000

For the sixth consecutive year, North Dakota early Canada goose season hunters bagged more than 36,000 birds, according to a recent harvest estimate released by the state Game and Fish Department. This is the combined harvest from the August Canada goose management take, and the September Canada goose hunting season.

080112 column early goose hunt

While the 2016 harvest is somewhat lower than the peak early season bag in recent years, Game and Fish migratory game bird management supervisor Mike Szymanski says it’s still a highly successful season in the department’s effort to reign in the state’s resident Canada goose population.

 

Szymanski estimates that approximately 3,600 residents and 1,000 nonresidents who actually hunted averaged about 10 birds apiece for the combined effort in August and September, which started Aug. 15 with a “management take.”

 

The regular early hunting season started Sept. 1 and ran through Sept. 7 in the Missouri River zone, and through Sept. 15 in the rest of the state. In total, that’s about 18 percent fewer hunters than participated in 2015, a fact that Szymanski attributes to extensive late summer movement of Canada geese, which made finding huntable numbers of birds difficult in many areas.

 

“This late summer waterfowl movement is something that seems to be more pronounced in recent years,” Szymanski said. “Birds that were produced in North Dakota are showing up in Manitoba and Saskatchewan by early September. We don’t know if it’s related to avoiding hunting pressure or availability of food, as there’s very little harvested small grain fields for feeding in some areas. It could even relate to the birds trying to find cooler temperatures during years when we seem to be warmer than normal in the state.”

 

Barnes and Ramsey counties had the highest numbers of birds harvested by resident hunters, while McIntosh and LaMoure counties had the highest number of Canada geese harvested by nonresident hunters.

 

The top 10 counties for total harvest were Ramsey, McIntosh, Kidder, Benson, Stutsman, Barnes, LaMoure, McHenry, Nelson and Ward. Ramsey County had more than 3,000 birds harvested, while the estimate for Ward County in 10th place was 1,207.

 

“We’re seeing a good harvest in the eastern half of the state where there seems to be the most conflicts between crop producers and geese during the summer,” Szymanski said. “We need to keep the pressure on to keep our locally breeding Canada goose population from growing any larger.”

 

It’s really important for landowners experiencing depredation issues to allow goose hunters on their property not only during the early season, Szymanski said, but also in October and November as birds that may have made late-summer movements come back through the state.

 

The 2017 early Canada goose season is tentatively slated to start on Aug. 15 again, with a similar structure as in recent years.

 

Midwinter Waterfowl Survey

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 26,360 Canada geese in the state, down from a record 222,890 in 2016.

Andy Dinges, migratory game bird biologist, said above average snow fall and below average temperatures that began in late November continued up until the survey, which created poor wintering conditions for Canada geese and mallards.

winterfeese

“We saw a significant drop in the number of birds that wintered in the state, but that’s because wintering conditions were excellent last year, as little snow accumulation and moderate temperatures allowed birds to remain,” Dinges said.

An estimated 23,100 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 700 were scattered on Nelson Lake in Oliver County. Lake Sakakawea had nearly 500 on the lake itself. Dinges said after summarizing the numbers, an additional 3,160 mallards were tallied statewide.

The 10-year average (2008-17) for the midwinter survey in North Dakota is 95,410 Canada geese and 27,310 mallards.

Hunting from Duck Boats Requires Safety

 

Waterfowlers hunting from boats are encouraged to wear properly-fitted life jackets while on the water.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

Hunting jackets with life jackets already built in are light and comfortable to wear. In addition, wearing a life jacket will not only keep the overboard hunter afloat, but also slow the loss of critical body heat caused by exposure to cold water.

Capsizing and falling overboard from small boats are the most common types of fatal boating accidents for hunters.

Eight people have drowned in state waters since 1998 while hunting from a boat, and none were wearing life jackets.

Wetland Conditions Good for Duck Hunting

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual fall wetland survey indicates good but variable wetland conditions for duck hunting throughout the state.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

Migratory game bird biologist Andy Dinges said the northeast region has the highest number of wetlands holding water, while the south central and southeast have also seen improvement from last year’s fall wetland conditions. However, the northwest and north central regions of the state will have the fewest wetlands available for duck hunting opportunities since fall 2012.

“In general, wetland conditions are best in northeast, but other regions in the state have average to slightly below average fall wetland conditions,” Dinges said.

Dinges said this year’s moisture conditions began with fairly dry conditions in May, but were aided by steady precipitation throughout much of the state during mid-summer.

“Drying conditions in some regions should provide good loafing areas for waterfowl and cranes along wetlands, but can make hunting difficult in some cases if there is wide mud margin around wetlands,” Dinges added.

The quality of waterfowl hunting in North Dakota is largely determined by weather conditions and patterns. Dinges said strong reproduction for ducks in breeding areas both in and outside of North Dakota this year makes for good fall hunting potential.

“Hunters should always scout because of ever changing conditions and distribution of waterfowl,” Dinges said, “and should also be cautious driving off-trail to avoid soft spots, and while encountering areas of tall vegetation that could be a fire hazard.”

The fall wetland survey is conducted mid-September, just prior to the waterfowl hunting season, to provide an assessment of conditions duck hunters can expect.

Youth Waterfowl Weekend is Sept. 17-18

North Dakota’s two-day youth waterfowl season is Sept. 17-18. Legally licensed resident and nonresident youth waterfowl hunters age 15 and younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers statewide.

0810joe

The daily bag limit and species restrictions for the youth season are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons. Exception: the additional two blue-winged teal allowed during the first 16 days of the regular season are not allowed during the youth season.

Resident and qualifying nonresident youth waterfowl hunters must possess a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Nonresidents from states that do not provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents must purchase the entire nonresident waterfowl license package.

In addition, all youth hunters must be Harvest Information Program certified, and youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course. Hunters age 15 and younger do not need a federal duck stamp.

Hunters who do not HIP certify when they buy a North Dakota license, can add it by visiting the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or by calling 888-634-4798 and recording the HIP number on their printed license.

Shooting hours for the youth waterfowl season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. An adult of at least 18 years of age must accompany the resident youth hunter into the field, and a licensed adult is required to accompany a nonresident youth hunter. The two-day weekend hunt does not count against a nonresident adult hunter’s 14-day regular season waterfowl dates.

Have You Seen? Early Goose Season

Early Canada Goose Season

 

The early Canada goose season is almost upon us. This season is used to help control resident populations of Canada geese. Find out more about this season in this week’s webcast.

You can watch the video right here: or http://gf.nd.gov/publications/television/outdoors-online-webcast

More video’s are available right here or http://gf.nd.gov/video

For more information about this season also see https://gf.nd.gov/hunting/canada-geese.