Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

New Licenses Needed April 1

North Dakota anglers, trappers and hunters are reminded that new licenses for the 2019-20 season are required starting April 1.

 

Licenses can be purchased online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Once the license is processed, users will have the option to print a hard copy and/or download the license to a smart phone or mobile device, which is helpful when asked to show proof of license while hunting or fishing in rural areas that lack cellular service.

 

Licenses can also be purchased at more than 140 vendor locations throughout the state, or by calling 800-406-6409. The 2019-20 small game, fishing and furbearer licenses are effective April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

 

New this year, hunters and anglers will be given the opportunity to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor. By clicking the link after purchasing a license, users will be directed to the North Dakota Department of Transportation donor registry. For more information regarding donor registry visit DOT’s website at http://www.dot.nd.gov/divisions/driverslicense/donorregistry.htm, or contact LifeSource directly at 888-5-DONATE.

National Campaign Encourages Boat Safety

A national safe boating campaign kicking off March 17-23 encourages boat operators to take a certified boat safety course.

Spring Aboard – Take a Boating Education Course wants boaters to get educated prior to the start of the boating season.

State Game and Fish Department education coordinator Brian Schaffer recommends all boaters take the state’s boating basics course, however, North Dakota 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 on boating safety contact Schaffer by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 701-328-630

Hunting and Fishing Expenditure Report Finalized

The report, commissioned by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, tracked hunter and angler expenditures for the 2017-18 hunting and fishing seasons.

 

Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand said the last time the agency commissioned an economic impact study was about six years ago. “These studies help alert us to any major shifts in hunter and angler activities or participation,” Steinwand said.

 

Overall, hunters and anglers in North Dakota spent $974.4 million dollars on equipment, vehicles, boats, travel, lodging, food and many other items. In addition, these expenditures generated $1,1 billion in secondary economic benefits, gross business volume, secondary employment and state-level tax collections, according to the NDSU researchers.

 

According to the report, resident hunters and anglers accounted for $846.8 million of total expenditures, while nonresidents contributed $127.6 million. Anglers spent $787.8 million and hunters $186.6 million. Residents spent a total of $486.4 million in rural areas, while nonresidents spent $89.6 million, for a grand total of $576 million — or 59 percent of all spending — in rural areas.

 

These direct and indirect expenditures from hunters and anglers generated approximately $48.2 million in state-level tax collection.

 

“We know that hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation are an important quality of life factor for many North Dakotans,” Steinwand said. “This report reinforces the notion that economic activity associated with our outdoors is significant as well.”

 

Compared to spending in the 2011-12 season, total spending by resident hunters and anglers increased by $290.2 million, and by $41.4 million for nonresidents.

 

A complete copy of the report is available by visiting the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

March 15 Deadline to Remove Fish Houses

Anglers have until midnight, March 15 to remove permanent fish houses from North Dakota waters, and from any state wildlife management area or federal refuge land.

 

Anglers are advised to remove their house soon because access on many lakes could be restricted due to snow. The deadline of March 15 will not be extended.

 

Fish houses may be used after March 15 if they are removed daily.

have you read?

The January 2019 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 Opinioninside the cover

When we talk about wildlife habitat in North Dakota, I think most people envision grasses and other cover that benefit upland game, deer and nesting waterfowl. But water for fish, and many species of birds, is also a critical part of that conversation.

For the most part, we’ve been water-blessed for a number of years, which has been a good thing for the state’s fisheries. Today, we have roughly 450 recreational fishing lakes, many of which were dry 30 years ago.


You can also see the results of the 2018 Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest:

The overall winning photograph in the 2018 contest, chosen from three categories – game, nongame and plants and insects – is a Western grebe taken by Dale Rehder of West Fargo.

And, Ron Wilson spends time Talking Furbearers with Stephanie Tucker

North Dakota OUTDOORS staff sat down with Stephanie Tucker, Game and Fish Department game management section leader, to talk about North Dakota’s furbearers, the focus of many hunters and trappers this time of year. Tucker is a furbearer biologist who, when time allows, actively hunts and traps those animals she helps manage.

Keep Fish Caught in Deep Water

A push to encourage open-water anglers to keep fish caught from deep waters should carry over into the ice fishing season, according to the State Game and Fish Department.

 

Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 25 feet or more of water because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.

 

Fish caught in deep water won’t likely survive because of the extreme change in water pressure, which causes the swim bladder to expand. Fish can no longer control their balance in the water column when this happens. Other internal injuries, such as rupturing of organs and bleeding, are also likely for fish hauled from deep waters.

 

Devils Lake ice anglers commonly catch yellow perch in 30-45 feet of water during the winter months. This practice also translates to other deep water bodies around the state.

 

Game and Fish recommends that anglers targeting fish at 25 feet or more should make the commitment to keep what they catch. And once they reach their limit, anglers should stop fishing at that depth to avoid killing more than their limit of fish.

Winter Anglers Reminded to Clean Up Ice

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds winter anglers to clean up the ice after fishing. This not only applies to trash, but fish as well.

It is not only unsightly, but it is illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed, or reduce them to their daily possession.

It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, which is allowed, as long as fish entrails and other parts are removed from the ice and properly disposed of at home.

In addition, all trash, including aluminum cans, cigarette butts and Styrofoam containers, must be packed out and taken home.

North Dakota ANS Plan on Web

The North Dakota Aquatic Nuisance Species Management Plan, an update of the original version prepared in 2005, has been signed by Gov. Doug Burgum and is available for viewing on the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Completed and revised by the North Dakota Aquatic Invasive Species Committee, the goal of the 25-page plan “is to prevent the introduction and spread of ANS into and within North Dakota while mitigating ecological, economic and social impacts of existing populations where feasible.”

NDAISC is comprised of state, tribal, local and private stakeholders to guide ANS efforts across the state.

Hunting, Fishing Legislation

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will once again track hunting and fishing issues during the 2019 legislative session.

Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

A brief description of each bill will be included, along with the bill sponsor and hearing schedule. To view each bill in its entirety, click on the linked bill number.