Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

WMA Regulations Prohibit Fireworks, Camping Restrictions Lifted for Holiday

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

 

The primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses that are compatible with these objectives. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.

 

In addition, the Game and Fish Department will lift the Tuesday-Wednesday no-camping restriction for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week, which will allow overnight camping July 2-3 on those WMAs that otherwise have this two-day restriction in place.

 

A complete list of the WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Exam Scheduled

The next guide and outfitter written examination is Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.

 

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

 

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.

 

Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.

Deer Application Deadline is June 5

Hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting applications for the 2019 deer gun season is Wednesday, June 5.

 

Applicants for regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader can apply online through the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov, or call 800-406-6409. A service fee is charged for applications made through the 800 number.

 

Gratis applicants must apply online – the toll-free licensing telephone number is not set up to receive gratis applications.

 

Applicants who do not have access to a computer or smartphone can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.

 

Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline will qualify for an any-legal-deer license. As per state law, gratis applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery – and generally only antlerless licenses remain.

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.

Hunters, Anglers Take Note of New Legislation

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department tracked 40 outdoors-related bills during the 2019 legislative session, 21 of which were passed by both chambers and signed into law.

 

The following bills take effect Aug. 1, unless the bill includes an emergency clause which indicates it is already in effect.

 

HB 1021 – Included in the Information Technology Department’s appropriation, during the 2019-21 interim, a 14 member land access committee (with nine voting members) will study access to public and private lands for hunting, trapping, fishing and related issues, including trespass violations and penalties, and provide recommendations regarding a land access database with capabilities of electronic posting. The study committee may establish a trial electronic posting and hunter access information system in up to three counties prior to Aug. 1, 2020, and report findings and recommendations to the 67th legislative assembly.

 

HB 1066 – Returns the funding limit to the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund to $20 million per fiscal year.

 

HB 1209 – Allows the use of dogs in the recovery of big game animals.

 

HB 1246 – Defines the eligibility requirements relating to gratis licenses for hunting big game and to provide a legislative study.

 

HB 1286 – Amends the century code relating to law enforcement agencies reporting seizures and forfeitures.

 

HB 1366 – Allows the use of a telescopic sight on a crossbow with a maximum power of 8×32.

 

HB 1383 – Alters the North Dakota Public Service Commission’s century code relating to mitigating environmental impacts associated with energy development.

 

HB 1412 – Allows the use of night vision, thermal vision or infrared light with a power source of not more than six volts while hunting coyote, fox, raccoon or beaver during the open season, and on a predatory animal attacking and attempting to destroy poultry, livestock or other property.

 

HB 1462 – Changes the seven white-tailed deer licenses to four any-whitetail and three any-antlered deer licenses, that are provided to the outdoor adventure foundation to be used by youth with life-threatening illnesses.

 

HB 1503 – Requires an individual who enters private property and installs a device for observing, recording or photographing wildlife to either receive written permission from the landowner, or identifies the device with a permanently affixed metal or plastic tag with a registration number issued by the Game and Fish Department, or the individual’s name, address and telephone number.

 

SB 2017 – Appropriates $83,803,632 to the Game and Fish Department for the biennium beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2021.

 

SB 2034 – Defines the terms “firearm” or “weapon” and clarifies who can carry, including a minor under age 15 carrying a muzzleloader under direct supervision.

 

SB 2055 – Allows Game and Fish to get approval from either the legislative assembly or budget section for each land acquisition of at least 10 acres or $10,000.

 

SB 2058 – Amends the century code relating to the Outdoor Heritage Fund, whereas grant applications that are eligible to be forwarded to the North Dakota Industrial Commission must receive favorable recommendation from a majority of the outdoor heritage advisory board members.

 

SB 2138 – Allows advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants, in addition to a physician, to verify the physical condition necessary for individuals to qualify for a shoot from a stationary motor vehicle permit.

 

SB 2165 – Amends the tax department’s section of the century code relating to gross receipts, specifically that gross receipts does not include the amount of compensation received from an insurance company for the loss of a stolen or destroyed watercraft that had been previously taxed if that compensation is used as a trade-in credit on the purchase of a replacement watercraft.

 

SB 2239 – Defines open records laws/exemptions of animal tracking data bases for animal health purposes, including state and federal agencies would be able to collect information to assist in animal disease control or tracking an animal disease. Declared an emergency measure.

 

SB 2261 – Amends the energy and conversion and transmission facilities section of the century code, relating to conditions imposed on designation of sites, corridors and routes.

 

SB 2293 – Creates an aquatic nuisance species program fund in the state treasury. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, establishes an ANS fee of $15 for each motorboat licensed in North Dakota to run concurrent with motorboat licensure, and an ANS fee of $15 to be paid for the calendar year for every boat that is not licensed in North Dakota. Effective April 1, 2020, establishes a $2 surcharge on each resident fishing license and combination license, with the exception of a resident age 65 and older fishing license, permanently or totally disabled fishing license, or a disabled veteran fishing license. In addition, includes a $3 surcharge on each nonresident fishing license and each nonresident waterfowl license.

 

SB 2342 – Any boat operated between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. may not produce a noise in excess of 88 decibels for more than 10 minutes.

 

SB 2358 – Relates to Red River Valley water supply project contract terms, elimination of voter approval requirements and notice of proposed water management systems.

Deer Season Set, Apply Online

North Dakota’s 2019 deer season is set, with 65,500 licenses available to hunters this fall, 10,350 more than last year.

In total, antlered mule deer licenses increased by 450 from last year, antlerless mule deer by 700, antlered whitetail by 700, antlerless whitetail by 1,250, “any antlered” by 3,150 and “any antlerless” by 4,100.

In addition, muzzleloader licenses increased by 184 and restricted youth antlered mule deer licenses increased by 45.

Mule deer doe licenses are available in unit 4A for the first time since 2011.

As stated in the 2019-20 chronic wasting disease proclamation, hunters harvesting a deer in units 3A1, 3B1 and 3F2 cannot transport the whole carcass, including the head and spinal column, outside of the unit, with the exception that hunters can transport the whole deer carcass between units 3A1 and 3B1 during any open deer season.

Also in the CWD proclamation, it is unlawful for an individual to hunt big game over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, in deer hunting units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 3B1, 3A1, 3A2 and north of N.D. Highway 2 in unit 3A3.

North Dakota’s 2019 deer gun season opens Nov. 8 at noon and continues through Nov. 24.

Applicants for regular deer gun, youth and muzzleloader can apply online through the Game and Fish Department’s website at gf.nd.gov, or call 800-406-6409. A service fee is charged for applications made through the 800 number.

Gratis applicants must apply online – the toll-free licensing telephone number is not set up to receive gratis applications.

The deadline for applying is June 5.

Applicants should note that those who miss two consecutive years of applying in the lottery will lose accumulated bonus points.

Applicants who do not have access to a computer or smartphone can submit the application at a public service location such as a public library, stop at a Game and Fish office, or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.

Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline will qualify for an any-legal-deer license. As per state law, gratis applications received after the deadline will be processed based on licenses remaining after the lottery – and generally only antlerless licenses remain.

Total deer licenses are determined by harvest rates, aerial surveys, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

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.

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.

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Test Set

The next guide and outfitter written examination is May 18 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.

 

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

 

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.

 

Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.