Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

2018 Upland Game Seasons Summarized

North Dakota’s 2018 pheasant and sharp-tailed grouse harvests were similar to 2017, while the number of Hungarian partridge taken last year was down from the year before, according to statistics compiled by the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Upland game management supervisor Jesse Kolar said the decline in partridge during the summer 2018 brood survey was not as drastic, so he suspects the lower partridge harvest was related to fewer pheasant hunters and fewer trips per hunter.

 

“Partridge are most commonly harvested incidentally, while hunters are pursuing pheasant or grouse, so the rate of harvest does not always mirror numbers on the ground,” Kolar said.

 

More than 58,200 pheasant hunters harvested 327,000 roosters (up 6 percent) in 2018, compared to 58,300 hunters and 309,400 roosters in 2017.

 

Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken by resident hunters last year were Williams, 6.7; McLean, 6.5; Richland, 6; Morton, 5.6; and Divide, 5.2.

 

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Hettinger, 13.6 percent; Bowman, 10.4; Divide, 7.6; Dickey, 5.9; and Emmons, 4.8.

 

In 2018, nearly 13,100 grouse hunters (down 4 percent) harvested 45,600 sharp-tailed grouse (down 3 percent). In 2017, 13,600 hunters took 46,900 sharptails.

 

Counties with the highest percentage of sharptails taken by resident hunters in 2018 were Slope, 6.5; Walsh, 5.5; Mountrail, 5.4; Kidder, 5.3; and Benson, 4.6.

 

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Bowman, 11.3; Hettinger, 7.4; Divide, 7; Mountrail, 6.8; and Ward, 6.4.

 

Last year, 11,200 hunters (down 19 percent) harvested 23,000 Hungarian partridge (down 30 percent). In 2017, nearly 13,800 hunters harvested 32,800 Huns.

 

Counties with the highest percentage of Huns taken by resident hunters in 2018 were Williams, 15.1; Mountrail, 12.1; Logan, 7.3; Ward, 6.5; and Burke, 5.9.

 

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Divide, 10.3; McLean, 9.9; Mountrail, 9.3; Hettinger, 8.9; and Dunn, 8.2.

2018 Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Elk Harvests

Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2018 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 92 percent for moose and 65 percent for elk.

 

The department issued two bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All three hunters harvested a bighorn ram.

 

The department issued 329 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 319 hunters harvested 294 animals – 138 bulls and 156 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:

 

Unit Hunters Bulls Cow/Calf Success Rate
M5 5 3 1 80
M6 14 9 3 86
M8 14 13 0 93
M9 93 34 49 89
M10

M11

107

86

50

29

52

51

95

93

 

The department issued 418 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 380 hunters harvested 248 elk – 135 bulls and 113 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:

 

Unit Hunters Bulls Cow/Calf Success Rate
E1E

E1W

57

37

17

10

16

17

58

73

E2 128 35 35 55
E3 125 52 40 74
E4

E6

22

11

17

4

0

5

77

82

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.

Doug.Leier2017a

2017 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 49,407 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 30,100 deer during the 2017 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Game and Fish made available 54,500 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 61 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.

 

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 66 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 61 percent.

 

Mule deer buck success was 83 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 86 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 63 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 60 percent.

 

Game and Fish issued 13,402 gratis licenses in 2017, and 11,503 hunters harvested 6,059 deer, for a success rate of 53 percent.

 

A total of 1,022 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2017, and 933 hunters harvested 354 white-tailed deer (196 antlered, 158 antlerless). Hunter success was 38 percent.

 

A record 28,481 archery licenses (26,114 resident, 2,367 nonresident) were issued in 2017. In total, 23,003 bow hunters harvested 8,900 deer (7,854 whitetails, 1046 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.

 

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2018. The proclamation will be sent to the governor’s office for approval in late April.

 

In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, the department monitors a number of 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.

Doug.Leier2017a

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.

 

2016 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 44,140 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 29,300 deer during the 2016 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

whitetail buck in November

Game and Fish made available 49,000 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 66 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 72 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 60 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 89 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 78 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 71 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 66 percent.

Game and Fish issued 13,466 gratis licenses in 2016, and 11,369 hunters harvested 6,593 deer, for a success rate of 58 percent.

A record 26,755 archery licenses (24,532 resident, 2,223 nonresident) were issued in 2016. In total, 22,071 bow hunters harvested 9,492 deer (8,686 whitetails, 806 mule deer), for a success rate of 43 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2017 deer proclamation. The proclamation will be sent to the governor’s office for approval in late April.

In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, the department monitors a number of 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.

2015 Pheasant Season Summarized

The number of pheasants taken last year in North Dakota was similar to 2014, according to statistics compiled by the State Game and Fish Department.

DSC_0069

 

Last year, more than 85,000 hunters (up 9 percent) harvested nearly 590,000 roosters (up 0.4 percent). In 2014, 78,000 hunters took 587,000 roosters.

Counties with the highest percentage of pheasants taken by resident hunters in 2015 were Morton, 7.4 percent; Hettinger, 6.4; Grant, 5.8; Stark, 5.8; and McLean, 5.7.

Top counties for nonresident hunters were Hettinger, 20.3 percent; Bowman, 11.7; Divide, 6.8; Adams, 5.8; and Emmons, 5.1.

Annual pheasant season statistics are determined by a mail survey of resident and nonresident hunters.