Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Missouri River Safety Day

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and Townsquare Media are sponsoring the Missouri River SPLASH – a recreation and boating safety event for everyone who enjoys the Missouri River.

 

The event is Thursday, May 16 in Mandan from 2-5 p.m. at Moritz Sport and Marine. Displays, hands-on activities, demonstrations, regulations, registrations and prizes are included.

 

The event is free, and people of all ages are invited to attend.

 

State law requires youngsters ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor to first pass the state’s Boat North Dakota safety course. In addition, some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

 

The Boat North Dakota safety course is free and available at the Game and Fish Department.

 

 

Join us from 2-5 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at the Moritz Sport and Marine in Mandan for the 2019 Missouri River SPLASH recreation and boating safety event. There will be displays, hands-on activities, demonstrations, regulations, registrations and prizes. The event is free, and people of all ages are invited to attend.

Boat North Dakota Course

Boat owners are reminded that youngsters who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft alone this summer must first take the state’s boating basics course.

 

North Dakota Game and Fish Department education coordinator Brian Schaffer recommends all boaters take a boater education course, however state law requires only youngsters ages 12-15 must pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor by themselves. In addition, some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance.

 

The course is available for home-study from the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

 

While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.

 

Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 30 days a permanent card will be mailed.

 

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

 

For more information contact Schaffer by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 701-328-6300.

 

 

Did you know that the Department offers a boating safety course? The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid. If you are interested in taking the course, you can find more information at https://gf.nd.gov/education/boating. (Note: Children ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft alone this summer must first take the state’s boating basics course. )

Boaters Reminded to Report Accidents

Regardless of how safe and cautious boaters are on the water, sometimes an accident does happen. If a boating accident involves injury, death or disappearance of a person, or if property damage exceeds $2,000, an accident report must be filled out and sent to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

 

An accident report involving injury, death or disappearance of a person must be submitted to the department within 48 hours of the occurrence. A boat operator has five days to file a report in cases where damage to property exceeds $2,000.

 

A boat accident form is available by visiting the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, at any Game and Fish office or by contacting a local game warden.

 

Reminder: Regardless of how safe and cautious boaters are on the water, sometimes an accident does happen. If a boating accident involves injury, death or disappearance of a person, or if property damage exceeds $2,000, an accident report must be filled out and sent to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. An accident report involving injury, death or disappearance of a person must be submitted to the department within 48 hours of the occurrence. A boat operator has five days to file a report in cases where damage to property exceeds $2,000. Boating accident forms are available online at https://gf.nd.gov/gnf/boating/docs/boating-accident-report-form.pdf  or by contacting a local game warden.

Scholarships Available for Students

The North Dakota Game Wardens Association, Ray Goetz Memorial Fund and Kupper Chevrolet are together sponsoring scholarships for graduating high school seniors or current higher education students, majoring in law enforcement, wildlife management, fisheries or a related field.

Applicants must be North Dakota residents, be in good academic standing, and have an interest in wildlife law enforcement or a related field. Scholarships will be awarded this fall upon proof of enrollment.

Applications are available by contacting the North Dakota Game Warden’s Association, NDGAMEWARDENS@gmail.com. Applications must be received no later than May 31, 2019.

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.

Moose and Elk Lotteries Held, Bighorn Sheep in September

North Dakota’s moose and elk lotteries have been held, and individual results are available by visiting My Account at the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

A total of 15,516 applications were received for bighorn sheep, 19,290 for elk and 22,456 for moose.

While in My Account, successful applicants must pay for a moose and/or elk license. In addition, a 2019-20 general game and habitat license, or combination license, is required. The moose/elk license will be mailed after the required hunting licenses are purchased.

Hunters in moose unit M10 and elk unit E6 are reminded of restrictions that prohibit transporting the whole carcass, including the head and spinal column, outside of the unit. For more information, visit the chronic wasting disease page on the Game and Fish website.

The bighorn sheep lottery is scheduled in September, after summer population surveys are completed and total licenses are determined. Once the lottery is held, successful applicants will be contacted to select a hunting unit.

Paddlefish Snagging Season Opens May 1

North Dakota’s 2019 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.

 

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. Lost or destroyed tags will not be replaced.

 

Addresses and phone numbers of vendors selling tags:

 

Bismarck Game and Fish Office

100 N. Bismarck Expressway

Bismarck, ND 58501

701-328-6300

 

Sportsman’s Warehouse

925 32nd Ave. W.

Williston, ND  58801

701-572-2500

 

Scenic Sports

1201 E. Broadway

Williston, ND 58801

701-572-8696

 

Runnings Farm and Fleet

2003 Third Ave. W.

Dickinson, ND 58601

701-483-1226

 

Rosie’s Food and Gas
204 S. Main
Dickinson, ND 58601
701-483-7860

 

J Sports Sporting Goods

100 Fourth Ave. NE

Watford City, ND 58854

701-260-5228

 

Big Boy’s Toys

300 N. Main St.

Watford City, ND 58854

701-842-3301

Bighorn Sheep Population Up from Last Year

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s 2018 bighorn sheep survey, completed by recounting lambs in March, revealed a minimum of 283 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota, up 7 percent from 2017 and equal to the five-year average.

 

Altogether, biologists counted 84 rams, 161 ewes and 38 lambs. Not included are approximately 20 bighorns in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

 

Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann was pleased to see an increase in the survey, following a decline in 2017.

 

“The increase in the 2018 count reflects lessening effects of bacterial pneumonia that was detected in 2014,” Wiedmann said.

 

The northern badlands population increased 9 percent from 2017 and was the second highest count on record. The southern badlands population declined again to the lowest level since 1999.

 

“The total count of adult rams declined in 2018 but adult ewes increased,” Wiedmann said. “Most encouragingly was the significant increase in the lamb count and recruitment rate following record lows in 2016 and 2017.”

 

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, annual survival rates of adult bighorns are similar to those prior to the die-off and lamb survival is improving, which could indicate the population is becoming somewhat resilient to the deadly pathogens first observed in 2014,” 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.”

 

Game and Fish wildlife veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson said that four of the 15 adult bighorns tested for the deadly pathogens last winter were positive.

 

A bighorn sheep hunting season is tentatively scheduled to open in 2019, 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 three licenses in 2018 and all hunters were successful in harvesting a ram.

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 Damien Twinn of Fort Yates (6-9), Kalen Kinzell of Courtenay (10-13), and Daniel Schumacher of Linton (14-18). Schumacher’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.