Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Pays $621,000 in Property Taxes

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently paid more than $621,000 in taxes to counties in which the department owns or leases land. The 2017 in-lieu-of-tax payments are the same as property taxes paid by private landowners.


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.


Following is a list of counties and the tax payments they received.


County Tax Due County Tax Due County Tax Due
Adams 182.33 Grand Forks 14,129.07 Pierce 2,815.44
Barnes 5,644.02 Grant 1,131.83 Ramsey 15,390.45
Benson 4,596.45 Griggs 82.08 Ransom 1,495.39
Billings 300.78 Hettinger 4,718.98 Richland 18,136.88
Bottineau 5,218.40 Kidder 10,315.27 Rolette 38,642.11
Bowman 2,097.65 LaMoure 9,812.72 Sargent 17,627.17
Burke 1,200.12 Logan 336.07 Sheridan 62,021.67
Burleigh 27,957.99 McHenry 1,609.79 Sioux 232.35
Cass 7,054.45 McIntosh 9,466.17 Slope 1,585.08
Cavalier 28,619.90 McKenzie 33,447.76 Stark 5,383.98
Dickey 12,964.84 McLean 94,341.96 Steele 8,245.29
Divide 1,873.65 Mercer 17,137.90 Stutsman 4,563.95
Dunn 5,892.05 Morton 19,720.35 Towner 2,267.82
Eddy 5,749.63 Mountrail 7,736.86 Walsh 10,871.86
Emmons 3,802.69 Nelson 5,560.39 Ward 115.79
Foster 978.75 Oliver 2,919.94 Wells 61,796.96
Golden Valley 146.55 Pembina 17,862.28 Williams 5,243.55

Educator Workshops in Bottineau, Bismarck

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is sponsoring “Wildlife of North Dakota Featuring Pollinators” workshops in Bottineau and Bismarck, for teachers, environmental educators and anyone else who works with youth.


The event in Bottineau is June 12-13 at Dakota College, and in Bismarck June 19-20 at the Game and Fish Department’s main office. Workshops run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Participants will learn about wildlife and their habitats, with the North Dakota Habitats curriculum used as textbooks. In addition, participants will receive the Urban Pollinator curriculum, and explore urban pollinator gardens and learn how to develop one in a local community.


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. Workshop instructor Sherry Niesar has a master’s degree in wildlife science and teaches many educator workshops in the region.


Preregistration is required. To register, contact Niesar at 701-527-3714, or sniesar@nd.gov. A $10 deposit fee, refundable upon completion of the course, is required.


To register for graduate credit, visit the University of North Dakota’s website at und.edu. The cost for graduate credit is $50.

Scholarships Available for Students

The North Dakota Game Wardens Association, Ray Goetz Memorial Fund and Kupper Chevrolet are providing scholarships to a graduating high school senior or current higher education student, majoring in fisheries, wildlife management or law enforcement.


Applicants must be North Dakota residents, and have maintained a 3.25 grade point average. Scholarships will be awarded this fall upon proof of enrollment.


Applications are available by contacting the North Dakota Game Warden’s Association, P.O. Box 3581, Minot, ND 58702; or by email at btupdike@nd.gov. Applications must be postmarked no later than May 31, 2018.

Pronghorn Hunting Season Statistics

Hunter success during last fall’s pronghorn hunting season was 75 percent, according to statistics provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish issued 410 licenses (255 lottery and 155 gratis), and 366 hunters took 275 pronghorn, consisting of 264 bucks, 10 does and one fawn. Each hunter spent an average of 2.4 days afield.

Three percent of the harvest occurred during the archery season.

The 2018 pronghorn hunting season will be determined in July.


Paddlefish Snagging Season Opens May 1

North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through May 21. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.


Legal snagging hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. One tag per snagger will be issued. Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and in the area of the Missouri River lying west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing (river mile 1,577) downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area (river mile 1,565).


If the season closes early because the harvest cap is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to four days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 21. Only snaggers with a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag are eligible to participate. Only a limited area at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers is open to this extended season snagging opportunity.


Mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be kept and tagged immediately. All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by 7 p.m. of each snagging day. Any fish left at the Confluence fish cleaning caviar operation after 8 p.m. the day they were snagged will be considered abandoned and the snagger is subject to a fine. The use or possession of a gaff hook within one-half mile in either direction of the U.S. Highway 200 bridge on the Yellowstone River is illegal at any time during the snagging season.


Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Participants during snag-and-release-only days need to have in their possession a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag. Use or possession of gaffs is prohibited on snag-and-release-only days, and, if it occurs, during the snag-and-release extension period.


All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.


Addresses and phone numbers of vendors selling tags:


Bismarck Game and Fish Office

100 N. Bismarck Expressway

Bismarck, ND 58501



Sportsman’s Warehouse

925 32nd Ave. W.

Williston, ND  58801



Scenic Sports

1201 E. Broadway

Williston, ND 58801



Wal-Mart, Inc.

4001 Second Ave. W.

Williston, ND 58801


Runnings Farm and Fleet

2003 Third Ave. W.

Dickinson, ND 58601



Rosie’s Food and Gas
204 S. Main
Dickinson, ND 58601


J Sports Sporting Goods

100 Fourth Ave. NE

Watford City, ND 58854


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.


Bighorn Sheep Population Declines

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 2017 bighorn sheep survey, completed by recounting lambs in March, revealed a minimum of 265 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota, down 11 percent from 2016 and 9 percent below the five-year average.

Altogether, biologists counted 91 rams, 149 ewes and 25 lambs. Not included are approximately 20 bighorns in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the survey count was the lowest since 2006.

“The decline in the 2017 count reflects the spread of bacterial pneumonia to three previously unaffected herds and consequently the adult and lamb mortalities that followed,” Wiedmann said.

The northern badlands population declined 10 percent from 2016, and the southern badlands population was down 21 percent.

“The total count of adult rams and ewes was much lower than the record high counts in 2016, but the lamb count and recruitment rate improved slightly in 2017, albeit still much below the long-term averages,” Wiedmann said.

Wiedmann noted that poor lamb survival is typical in populations exposed to Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae, the pathogen responsible for most die-offs of bighorn sheep, and those effects can last many years.

Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer, and then recount lambs the following March, as they approach one year of age, to determine recruitment.

“Fortunately, adult mortality was low in previously affected herds, and lamb survival improved as well, which could indicate those herds initially exposed to the deadly pathogens in 2014 are beginning to recover,” Wiedmann said. “The next few years will be important in determining if the state’s population shows signs of recovering from the disease outbreak, or if the pathogens are likely to persist and cause a long-term population decline.”

Dr. Dan Grove, Department veterinarian, said that 20 adult bighorn were tested for deadly pathogens last winter, but results are still pending. He said animals continue to succumb to pneumonia, albeit at a much slower rate.

A bighorn sheep hunting season is tentatively scheduled to open in 2018, unless there is a recurrence of significant adult mortality from bacterial pneumonia. The status of the bighorn sheep season will be determined Sept. 1, after the summer population survey is completed.

Game and Fish issued five licenses in 2017 and all hunters were successful harvesting a ram.


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?