Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Receives $12.8 Million for Conservation Programs

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has received $12.8 million in 2020 as its share of excise taxes paid by America’s recreational shooters, hunters, anglers and boaters. Altogether, 56 state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies shared more than $971 million.


The funding is used by Game and Fish to support conservation programs such as fish and wildlife monitoring, habitat improvement, research and education. The money also helps pay for hunter and aquatic education, and fish and wildlife-related recreation projects. Federal assistance funds pay for up to 75 percent of the cost of each project, while the state contributes at least 25 percent from nonfederal sources. Game and Fish is a special fund agency in North Dakota, as it receives no state general fund dollars.


The federal funds are apportioned by a formula under two assistance programs – Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fish Restoration. The total 2020 Wildlife Restoration apportionment for all state and territorial agencies is more than $601 million. Sport Fish Restoration support for 2020 totals nearly $370 million. The funds are allocated to the states by a formula based 50% on the amount of land area of the state relative to the rest of the states, and 50% based on the number of hunting license holders in a state relative to other states.


Wildlife Restoration is guided by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 and is funded by the collection of excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. States use Wildlife Restoration Program funds to manage wildlife populations and habitat; conduct research, surveys and inventories; administer hunter education programs; and construct or maintain firearm and archery ranges for public use.


Sport Fish Restoration is guided by the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950 and is funded by the collection of excise taxes on sport fishing equipment and electric motors, import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats, and a portion of gasoline tax attributable to motorboats and small engines. States use Sport Fish Restoration Program funds to stock fish; acquire and improve sport fish habitat; provide aquatic resource education opportunities; conduct fisheries research; and build boat ramps, fishing piers and other facilities necessary to provide recreational boating access.

CREP Enrollment Open

Landowners in southwestern North Dakota are again able to enroll in the state Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture opened a new signup period in early December.


In addition, USDA also announced an open signup for the general Conservation Reserve Program, which is open until Feb. 29.


The North Dakota Riparian Project CREP, first offered in spring 2017, allows states to identify resource concerns and design custom-built projects along riparian areas.

“Over a 10-year period, approximately $19 million in federal funds from the USDA Farm Service Agency can be used to provide annual rental, incentive and cost-share payments for filter strips, riparian buffers, or pollinator and honeybee habitat,” according to Kevin Kading, private land section supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.


The state will contribute more than $4.3 million, which is funded from the Game and Fish Private Land Open To Sportsmen program, and the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.


“We’ve worked a long time developing these projects with USDA, and working with other partners and stakeholders,” Kading said. “We feel these are good options for landowners to address a resource concern, and also open up some quality habitat for hunters.”


Landowners interested in CREP can enroll acres in portions of Adams, Billings, Bowman, Burleigh, Dunn, Emmons, Grant, Golden Valley, Hettinger, McKenzie, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sioux, Slope and Stark counties. The statewide enrollment cap for this program is 20,000 acres.


Expired, or expiring CRP is not eligible for the North Dakota Riparian Project CREP at this time, Kading said. Land offered must meet FSA cropping history requirements and be located within the project boundary.


There is no minimum acreage requirement for enrolling land into CREP, but any land enrolled in a CREP contract with USDA must also be enrolled in the Game and Fish PLOTS program. Kading said landowners don’t have to allow public access to their entire property, but the PLOTS tract must be at least 40 acres in size.

Landowners will receive payments for allowing walk-in hunting access, and are eligible for additional habitat enhancements, incentives and cost-share.


For information regarding the project, landowners should contact a local Game and Fish private land biologist or their local county USDA service center.

Workshops for Educators Scheduled

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is sponsoring workshops in Dickinson, Valley City and Bismarck for teachers, environmental educators and anyone else who works with youth.


Pollinators in the Classroom is June 12-13 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, and June 25-26 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Valley City State University in Valley City.


Participants will examine different animal species, receive the new Urban Pollinator curriculum with three distinct sections, and explore urban pollinator gardens and learn how to develop one in a local community or near a school.


The fast-paced workshop offers a hands-on approach educators can use in their classrooms and on field trips, and in discussing classroom and curriculum integration. All supplies are provided.


Curriculum materials are suitable for both elementary and secondary teachers.


Herpetology and Citizen Science in the Classroom is June 20 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck.


Participants will learn about reptiles and amphibians of North Dakota, including species identification, basic biology, life history and territories.


In addition, participants will learn how to incorporate Citizen Science in the Classroom, specifically the HerpMapper platform, and will spend time outdoors looking for species of interest.


More information on the workshops, including registration, fees and graduate credits, is available by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Game and Fish at State Fair



The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will host thousands of visitors to its free Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park July 21-29 at the State Fair in Minot.

Visitors will be treated to an array of activities, exhibits and useful information as the park is open from 1-7 p.m. daily. Pathways to Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Archery are major attractions where interested kids and adults participate in each outdoor activity.

In addition to hands-on outdoor learning opportunities, the area offers a live fish display, furbearer exhibit and native prairie plantings. Two information centers staffed by Game and Fish Department personnel bookend the Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park, which is located on the north end of the fairgrounds near the State Fair Center.



options for educators

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is announcing its summer schedule of conservation workshops for educators.

National Archery in the Schools – June 4-5, Nishu Bow Range in Bismarck. Workshop participants are provided the fundamentals to teach archery in grades 4-12, either indoors or outdoors, and will be able to implement an archery unit in the classroom and an afterschool activity. A preregistration fee of $10 payable to North Dakota Bow Hunters Association is required. Register by calling Jeff Long, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, at (701) 328-6322, or email jrlong@nd.gov.

Science Resources for Elementary Educators – June 19-20, North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck. This workshop provides participants with an overview of resources available to educators, including Wildlife of North Dakota, Elementary Aquatic Education, and Habitats of North Dakota. Sponsored by the Lake Region Teacher Center.

Birds of North Dakota – June 26-27, North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck. Teachers completing this workshop will have a basis for teaching bird studies relevant to North Dakota by integrating life science techniques with visual arts found in the Lewis and Clark journals. Links will be made between birds and their habits. Materials meet North Dakota curriculum standards. Registration fee of $40 is done through the Bismarck Art and Galleries Association website or by calling (701) 223-5986.

Information for each workshop is available by contacting Sherry Niesar at (701) 527-3714.