Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Pays $700,000 in Property Taxes

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently paid more than $700,000 in taxes to counties in which the department owns or leases land. The 2019 in-lieu-of-tax payments are the same as property taxes paid by private landowners.

 

The Game and Fish Department manages more than 200,000 acres for wildlife habitat and public hunting in 51 counties. The department does not own or manage any land in Traill or Renville counties.

 

Following is a list of counties and the tax payments they received.

Deer Gratis Application Online

Landowners who are interested in a 2020 deer gratis license can start the online-only application process now by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. The deadline for applying is June 3.

The general deer and muzzleloader lottery applications will be available online in early May, also with a deadline of June 3.

Since 2018 the Game and Fish Department has opened deer gratis applications a month earlier than prior years to allow additional time for online applications for landowners who are busy with spring farm and ranch activities.

Gratis applicants who have previously applied online will automatically have their land description carried forward to this year’s application. However, any changes with land descriptions from last year’s application must be made prior to submitting the 2020 application.

Applications must be submitted online using a computer or smartphone.  License vendors are unable to process deer gratis applications.

Youth Grant Program Applications Due in April

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. Game and Fish has a separate grant program that supports new high school trapshooting teams.
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 R3 coordinator Brian Schaffer at 701-328-6312.

 

The deadline to apply for a 2020 grant is April 10.

2019 Deer Season Summarized

A total of 57,949 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 37,250 deer during the 2019 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.

Game and Fish made available 65,500 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 64 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.3 days in the field.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 64 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 58 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 78 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 79 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 68 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 65 percent.

Game and Fish issued 11,981 gratis licenses in 2019, and 9,767 hunters harvested 5,416 deer, for a success rate of 56 percent.

A total of 1,206 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2019, and 1,040 hunters harvested 426 white-tailed deer (222 antlered, 204 antlerless). Hunter success was 41 percent.

A total of 27,582 archery licenses (24,902 resident, 2,680 nonresident) were issued in 2019. In total, 21,960 bow hunters harvested 8,978 deer (7,988 whitetails, 990 mule deer), for a success rate of 41 percent.

The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2020. 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.

Game and Fish Reminds Anglers to Keep Social Distance

With a pleasant weekend in the forecast and a lot of North Dakotans anxious to do something outside, the State Game and Fish Department reminds anglers to practice social distancing, whether it’s on shore, from a boat or on the ice.

“We encourage people to get outside and fish and enjoy the outdoors,” said Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand, “but we also need to practice the recommendations for minimizing the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

Especially for anglers at popular shore-fishing locations, Steinwand said a good rule of thumb is that if you can reach out with a fishing rod and touch the person fishing next to you, you’re too close. “In other situations, we urge people to follow the 6-foot separation guideline as well,” Steinwand added.

Over the next several weeks, Game and Fish will keep an eye on popular shore-fishing areas to assess the level of activity. “We depend on the public’s awareness and willingness to cooperate,” Steinwand said, “but we’ll be monitoring, and if it appears that the recommendations are not being followed, we might have to consider closing access to those high traffic areas because of the risk involved.”

To this point, Game and Fish has not restricted access to its public outdoor facilities such as wildlife management areas and fishing waters, but its office buildings are currently closed to public traffic. “We are continuing to handle phone calls and online traffic,” Steinwand said, “so anyone who needs help or has questions can call or email us.”

Hunters Cautioned of Ground Conditions

The spring snow goose migration is in full swing, and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is asking hunters to be wary of muddy roads and saturated ground conditions when traveling to and from hunting locations.

Game and Fish Department wildlife chief Jeb Williams said goose hunters are encouraged to maintain positive landowner/hunter relations and not drive on soft, muddy roads and trails, and to seek landowner permission before attempting any off-road travel on private land.

The spring light goose conservation order runs through May 10.

Game and Fish Offers Up the Outdoors

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department encourages hunters and anglers to make mindful decisions on outdoor activities by following guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Customer, volunteer and employee well-being is of top priority. Earlier this week, Game and Fish canceled upcoming public gatherings such as the National Archery in the Schools state tournament. In addition, late-season ice fishing tournaments have canceled events to minimize crowding, and several hunter education classes scheduled to begin in the next few weeks were canceled or postponed.

Students enrolled in any classes scheduled to start in March or April can find information on class status on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.

With social distancing in mind, the Game and Fish Department encourages hunters and anglers to purchase licenses online, rather than making an in-person visit. The same philosophy applies to watercraft registrations. Contact a local Game and Fish office for assistance with a purchase or registration.

During this time of uncertainty, Game and Fish is offering several suggestions for students and parents to consider while K-12 schools and some businesses are closed due to public health concerns:

  • Use free time to take the state’s boating safety course. State law requires youth ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft by themselves with at least a 10 horsepower motor, must pass the boating course. And parents, it’s not just for kids. Some insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a discount on boat insurance. The course is available for home study, and there is also an online version.
  • New fishing licenses are needed starting April 1. Take care of that important detail online now so you’re not scrambling to get that license just prior to your first fishing trip of the open water season.

Since it’s important to avoid crowds, North Dakota’s outdoors is a great place for recreation. You can put a boat on the Missouri River right now, or still get in some ice fishing on lakes where ice is still safe for travel. If you’re just looking for some exercise, take a hike on one of the department’s 229 wildlife management areas.

Stay connected with Game and Fish by following us on FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

2020-21 Licenses Needed April 1

North Dakota anglers, trappers and hunters are reminded that new licenses for the 2020-21 season are required starting April 1.

 

Licenses can be purchased online by visiting 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 2020-21 small game, fishing and furbearer licenses are effective April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021.

 

In addition, Senate Bill 2293, passed by the 2019 state legislature, created an aquatic nuisance species program fund in the state treasury. Along with an ANS fee on motorized watercraft that went into effect Jan. 1, this state law also establishes a $2 surcharge on each resident fishing license and combination license, except for the resident 65years of age or older license, permanently or totally disabled license, or a disabled veteran license; and establishes a $3 surcharge on each nonresident fishing and each nonresident waterfowl license. The ANS surcharge on licenses is in effect with the 2020-21 license.

Pronghorn Hunting Season Statistics

Hunter success during last fall’s pronghorn hunting season was 74 percent, according to statistics provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

 

Game and Fish issued 1,324 licenses (877 lottery and 447 gratis), and 1,167 hunters took 859 pronghorn, consisting of 786 bucks, 59 does and 14 fawns. Each hunter spent an average of 2.7 days afield.

 

The 2020 pronghorn hunting season will be determined in July.