Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Spring Turkey Season Set, Online Apps Available

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is offering 6,025 wild turkey licenses for the 2019 spring hunting season, 370 more than last year.

Eleven of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than in 2018, seven have fewer and three remain the same. Unit 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2019 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.

Spring turkey applicants can apply online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling 800-406-6409. Paper applications are not available.

The deadline for applying is Feb. 13.

Successful spring turkey applicants must purchase a 2019-20 hunting license, as last year’s 2018-19 licenses expire March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license. These required licenses must be purchased in advance of the successful applicant receiving the turkey license.

First-time spring turkey hunters ages 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for any open unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season, and have never received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.

Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. Per legislation, an additional four spring wild turkey licenses are available to the Outdoor Adventure Foundation and three to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The spring turkey season opens April 13 and continues through May 19.

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.

Nonresident Any-Deer Bow Applications

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 607 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2019.

 

Applicants must apply online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications are not available. The deadline for applying is March 1.

 

Up to five hunters can apply together as a party. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation. The Game and Fish Department issued 4,050 mule deer licenses in the 2018 deer gun license lottery.

 

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.

Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in New Area of North Dakota

Three deer taken during the 2018 North Dakota deer gun season have been confirmed positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Charlie Bahnson, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. While two of the positive deer were taken in unit 3F2, an area of North Dakota known to have CWD, the third was taken from Divide County in deer unit 3A1, previously considered free of CWD.

“Unfortunately, the positive deer in Divide County doesn’t come as a big surprise, since CWD was found in Saskatchewan just a few miles north of Portal, N.D. last spring,” Bahnson said. “Our focus needs to now shift to taking measures to limit the spread of CWD within Divide County and to reduce the chances of it being introduced to new parts of the state.”

CWD is a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked. Since 2009, 14 CWD-positive deer have been found in North Dakota, and all previous cases were from within hunting unit 3F2, which includes parts of Sioux, Grant, Morton, Hettinger and Adams counties in southwestern North Dakota.

“Our experience with CWD in 3F2 over the past 10 years has shown that you can still have good hunting opportunities after CWD is discovered in an area, but you have to be proactive in managing it,” Bahnson said. “Over the last several years, we have found it in less than 1 percent of the deer tested from 3F2. That’s a number that we can live with, but if that number starts to climb, there will be real impacts to our deer herd.”

Special regulations previously put in place in 3F2 have included prohibiting hunting deer over bait. “There is no treatment or vaccine for CWD and once it’s in an area, it’s there indefinitely,” said Bahnson. “The very few options that we have available are aimed at reducing the number, duration, and intensity of unnatural congregations of deer – that is a major risk factor for spreading any contagious disease.”

Additional regulations in 3F2 include transportation restrictions to reduce the likelihood of infected carcass parts being moved to new areas of the state and serving as a source of CWD.

The Department will consider implementing similar regulations in response to the CWD detection in Divide County in the coming months. “CWD is the most serious disease threat to the future of big-game hunting in North Dakota,” Bahnson said. “We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to do everything we can to combat it.”

More information about CWD and regulations regarding CWD are available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.

Sandra Johnson Named Game and Fish Employee of the Year

Sandra Johnson, conservation biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the Department’s annual meeting Dec. 6 in Bismarck.

 

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Johnson was instrumental in the development and implementation of North Dakota’s state wildlife action plan; in determining and providing technical advice on the status of the state’s nongame species, including the rare and declining species of conservation priority and federally listed threatened and endangered species; and in coordinating select projects that have been awarded state wildlife grants funding.

 

“Sandra accomplishes these roles in an effective, efficient, comprehensive and professional manner,” Steinwand said. “She continually looks for new and innovative ways and opportunities to fulfill her duties.”

Tentative 2019 Season Opening Dates

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2019, 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 2019 include:

 

Spring Turkey April 13
Deer and Pronghorn Bow, Mountain Lion August 30
Dove September 1
Youth Deer September 13
Sharptail, Hun, Ruffed Grouse, Squirrel September 14
Youth Waterfowl September 14
Early Resident Waterfowl September 21
Regular Waterfowl September 28
Pronghorn Gun October 4
Youth Pheasant October 5
Pheasant, Fall Turkey October 12
Mink, Muskrat, Weasel Trapping October 26
Deer Gun November 8
Deer Muzzleloader November 29

Coyote Catalog Available for Hunters, Landowners

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Department of Agriculture are once again opening the Coyote Catalog, a statewide effort designed to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who are dealing with coyotes in their areas.

 

Last winter, nearly 30 landowners participated in the Coyote Catalog, along with 445 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.

Landowners who are 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, 2019.

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.