Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

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The 2018 February North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

Leading off the issue is an important feature on the licensing transition: Applying online for lottery licenses for North Dakota game species, such as deer and wild turkeys, is nothing new to many people. Yet, as Game and Fish Department officials embrace a long-range plan to phase out paper applications, there will likely be some questions. What follows are a number of questions and answers to help people with possible uncertainties about the process.

 

Ty Stockton writes a feature on Productive Prairie Lakes

Fishing in North Dakota has never been better. The state boasts 22 species of game fish and 449 bodies of water where anglers can wet a line.

 

Ron Wilson North Dakota Outdoors editor captures the birthday of the magazine with this month’s Backcast

In late summer 1931, the first issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS was published and made available to the public. If you do the math, that means the magazine turned 87 this year. Not a milestone, certainly. Just a point of interest.

 

Youth Grant Program Application Deadline

Wildlife, shooting, fraternal and nonprofit civic organizations are urged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a North Dakota Game and Fish Department grant program developed to assist recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.

 

The maximum grant allowed is $3,000. The program currently helps fund approximately 40 club and organizational events and projects each year, with an average grant of $1,550.

 

Grant funds help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.

 

Past funding has enabled groups to conduct youth pheasant and waterfowl hunts, or sponsor trap and other shooting events, including archery and rifle shooting.

 

One change from previous years is that grants related to the high school clay target league will now come out of a separate fund, and these will be for newly formed teams in 2018 only. All other shooting events, including summer youth trapshooting leagues, are still eligible for Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters grants.

 

Any club or organization interested in conducting a youth hunting or shooting event can get more information, including a grant application, from the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by contacting outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at 701-328-6332.

 

The deadline to apply for a 2018 grant is April 10.

Two Deer Test Positive for CWD

A whitetail buck and a mule deer doe, taken during the 2017 deer gun season from unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota, have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Since 2009, the total now stands at 11 deer to test positive for CWD in North Dakota, and all were from within unit 3F2.

 

In 2010, the Game and Fish Department implemented special regulations in 3F2 and surrounding units to limit the natural spread of the disease, and to protect the rest of the deer, elk and moose herds in North Dakota.

 

In addition to the 350 samples tested for CWD from unit 3F2, another 1,050 were tested from deer harvested last fall by hunters in the central third of the state, and from any moose or elk taken during the hunting season. In all, more than 1,400 samples were tested.

 

Since the Game and Fish Department’s sampling efforts began in 2002, more than 31,000 deer, elk and moose have tested negative for CWD.

 

“The Department takes the risk of CWD to the state’s deer, elk and moose herds seriously,” Grove said. “CWD is considered a permanent disease on the landscape once an area becomes endemic.”

 

The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In 2018, deer will be tested from the western portion of the state.

 

The Game and Fish Department also has a targeted surveillance program that is an ongoing, year-round effort to test animals found dead or sick.

 

CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. For more information on CWD, refer to the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

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Game and Fish Violations Tallied for 2017

While game and fish violations were up in 2017, the number of citations has remained relatively consistent in North Dakota from year to year.

 

Robert Timian, chief of enforcement for the state Game and Fish Department, said there are three basic causes of violations – intentional disregard of the rules, lack of knowledge of the rules and just simply mistakes.

 

“Violations due to lack of knowledge can easily be addressed by taking the time to read through the regulations,” Timian said. “Mistakes can be reduced by taking a little more care and time.”

 

Wardens check thousands of hunters and anglers each year, and Timian said the majority are law-abiding citizens.

 

Game wardens issued more than 2,500 citations in 2017, compared to nearly 2,300 in 2016 and 2,400 in 2015.

 

“There are some factors why violations were up in 2017,” Timian said. “For one, we had a full warden staff for the entire year, in addition to one temporary position, and another reason was all of our wardens at one time or another during the 2016 fall hunting seasons and into 2017 were assisting with efforts at the pipeline protest.”

 

The same violations occur at or near the top of the list every year, Timian said, such as failure to have a license, and boating/fishing without the proper number of life jackets. But he emphasized there is one area of violation that has increased every year.

 

“Aquatic nuisance species violations are up,” he added. “We put a lot of effort into ANS enforcement, as we work toward a time when boaters and anglers make it a habit to check their equipment.”

 

Counties with the most violations in 2017 were Burleigh (251), Ramsey (234), McLean (206), McKenzie (175) and Morton (172).

 

The most common violations and number issued in 2017 were:

 

  • Boating (643): inadequate number of personal flotation devices (255); use of unlicensed/unnumbered boat (138); and failure to display boat registration (121).
  • Fishing (348): aquatic nuisance species violations (130); exceeding limit (87); and excessive lines (53).
  • Small game (262): using shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (56); failure to leave identification of sex on game (51); exceeding limit (19); and hunting in unharvested field (19).
  • Big game (95): tagging violations (31); failure to wear orange (17); and hunting in closed season (10).
  • Furbearer (35): shining/using artificial light (13); and harassment with motor vehicle (10).
  • Licensing (622): failure to carry license (334); hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license (235); and misrepresentation on license or application (21).
  • General (296): loaded firearm in vehicle (64); hunting on posted land without permission (59); and littering (52).
  • Miscellaneous (126): open container (28); criminal trespass (28); and minor in possession (17).
  • Wildlife management areas/refuge (94): failure to obey posted regulations (29); camping (21); and possession of glass beverage containers (14).

 

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Game and Fish Recognizes Employee Efforts

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand recently honored a number of employees with performance-based awards. Steinwand presented the following employees with special recognition awards at the department’s annual staff meeting Dec. 7.

Todd Buckley, private land biologist, Williston, was recognized for his efforts working with landowners, deer depredation and many special projects that fall outside the normal private land duties.

Aaron Slominski, fisheries biologist, Williston, was recognized for his quick and timely efforts in setting up a cleaning site during the paddlefish snagging season.

Randy Meissner, Gail Mosset, Amanda Anstrom, Tracy Price, Tana Bentz and Tanya Mikkelson, licensing section, Bismarck, were recognized for meeting the challenges of implementing a new online services program for electronic licensing, while managing to handle hundreds of customer phone calls, including walk-in traffic, on a daily basis.

In addition to special recognition recipients, Zane Manhart, district game warden, Beach, was named North Dakota’s Boating Officer of the Year. Chief warden Robert Timian said Manhart’s work ethic and professional drive have created a safer boating environment on waters in southwestern North Dakota.

Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates

Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2018, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.

Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2018 include:

Spring Turkey April 14
Deer and Pronghorn Bow, Mountain Lion August 31
Dove September 1
Sharptail, Hun, Ruffed Grouse, Squirrel September 8
Youth Deer September 14
Youth Waterfowl September 15
Early Resident Waterfowl September 22
Regular Waterfowl, Youth Pheasant September 29
Pronghorn Gun October 5
Pheasant October 6
Fall Turkey October 13
Mink, Muskrat, Weasel Trapping October 27
Deer Gun November 9
Deer Muzzleloader November 30

 

Coyote Catalog Available for Hunters, Landowners

The Coyote Catalog, a statewide effort designed to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who are dealing with coyotes in their areas, is open for the winter.

coyotephoto by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

A partnership between the North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the Coyote Catalog can be a good way for hunters and trappers to locate new places to go, according to Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring encourages landowners, especially farmers and ranchers who have problems with coyotes, to sign up for the Coyote Catalog. “Hunting and trapping are some of the many tools available to mitigate predator risk,” Goehring said.

Last winter, nearly 30 landowners participated in the Coyote Catalog, along with more than 500 hunters and trappers.

Landowners can sign up on the Department of Agriculture website at https://www.nd.gov/ndda/livestock-development-division/coyote-catalog. County and contact information is required.

Hunters and trappers can sign up at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov/hunting/hunter-landowner-contact.

Anyone who registered for the Coyote Catalog in the past must register again to activate their names on the database.

Throughout the winter, hunters or trappers may receive information on participating landowners, and they should contact landowners to make arrangements.

Goehring and Steinwand said landowners experiencing coyote depredation of livestock should first contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

The Coyote Catalog will remain active through March 31, 2018.

For more information, contact Stephanie Tucker at Game and Fish, 701-220-1871 or satucker@nd.gov; or Jamie Good, at the Department of Agriculture, 701-328-2659 or jgood@nd.gov.

 

Hunter Education Classes

Individuals or parents with children who will need to take a course in 2018 should monitor the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, as classes that begin in January will be added as times and locations are finalized.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

After accessing the “Buy and Apply” link, click on the hunter education link and “list of hunter education courses.” Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

Individuals interested in receiving a notice by email when each hunter education class is added can click on the “subscribe to news and alerts” link found below the news section on the Game and Fish home page. Check the box labeled “hunter education” under the education program updates.

In addition, SMS text notifications of new classes can be sent directly to a cell phone. Simply text “NDGF HunterClass” to 468311 to subscribe to this feature.

State law requires anyone born after December 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old, and children can take the class at age 11.