Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

have you read?

The 2018 November  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 Opinion inside the cover

The number of deer gun licenses made available to hunters this year (55,150) was more than 2017 (54,500). While that is not a big increase, we are heading in the right direction.

Here at Game and Fish, our deer management plan, which is reevaluated every five years, calls for making available 75,000 deer licenses to hunters.

Meeting this goal is no easy task because it depends greatly on how winter treats North Dakota’s animals and the amount of wildlife habitat on the landscape.

 

Ron Wilson wrote:  Ice Fishing Today, Looking at Tomorrow

In the past 25 years, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have stocked millions of walleyes into 55 prairie fisheries that cover more than 61,000 acres.

In a state where both open-water and ice anglers place the greatest value on walleye over other fish species, this is good news.

But it gets better.

Ron Wilson takes a look at Shooting Ranges In North Dakota
Properly sighted rifles and shot placement are, for example, important elements to safe, ethical and proficient hunting.

“People need places shoot, to hone their skills and become proficient marksmen and hunters,” said Marty Egeland, Department education supervisor. “It’s our interest at Game and Fish to do what we can to make sure people have somewhere to shoot.”

have you read? The 2018 October  North Dakota Outdoors

have you read?

The 2018 October  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 Opinion inside the cover

You’ve heard us here at the Game and Fish Department talk time and again about the importance of having quality wildlife habitat on the landscape.
Without adequate habitat on the landscape, for example, animals struggle to battle the harsh winter conditions that are often familiar in North Dakota. Without good habitat, animals take much longer to rebound after months of snow and cold.

 

Ron Wilson wrote:  Program Improves Deer Habitat

In 2015, following back-to-back deer gun seasons when fewer than 50,000 licenses were made available to hunters – something not seen in North Dakota in about 35 years – lawmakers made it possible for hunters to help improve wildlife habitat that would favor the state’s deer population.

In a bill that unanimously passed in both the House and Senate during the 2015 legislative season, unsuccessful applicants in North Dakota’s deer gun lottery could for the first time in 2016 donate their refunds to the Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program.

Ron Wilson, Scott Gangl, Dave Fryda and Russ Kinzler collaborate to answer  Questions about Sakakawea’s Salmon Program  Chinook salmon were stocked in Lake Sakakawea in 1976, less than a decade after the reservoir filled, to inhabit the deep coldwater environment not used by other fish species. This nonnative species, like other fish in the Missouri River System, has ridden the ups and downs of low- and high-water years, times of abundant forage and times when prey was tougher to come by.

It hardly seems that back-to-back years are nearly the same. The same goes for fishing for salmon in the state’s biggest reservoir.

have you read?

The 2018 August/September  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 Opinion inside the cover. Last year at this time there were a number of unknowns heading into the fall hunting season.

The unknowns centered around the fallout for North Dakota’s wildlife, pheasants and other upland game birds in particular, following difficult, snowy conditions in early winter and drought in spring and summer.

 

2018 Hunting Season Outlook

A year ago, and for good reason, talk centered mostly on the return of drought conditions to North Dakota.

While the spigot seemed to turn on a bit in August, it was too late for much of the state’s small grains and pastures. The lack of precipitation early in spring and summer left its mark. It was pretty clear what the dry conditions meant for agriculture producers, yet the uncertainty was the influence drought would have on North Dakota’s most popular upland game bird, the ring-necked pheasant.

Ron Wilson PLOTS Program Update  Private Land Open To Sportsmen, the Game and Fish Department’s well-known walk-in access program turned 20 in 2017. With that considerable milestone in the rearview mirror, Kevin Kading, Game and Fish private land section leader, addresses the status of the program today, and possible changes to make the program more attractive to landowners and hunters in the future.

 

Have you read? July ND Outdoors magazine

The 2018 July  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 Opinion inside the cover.

In summer 1993, things changed. And as many of us in North Dakota remember, we were certainly ready for change.In July of that year, a month that still remains the wettest month in our state’s recorded history, the heavens opened up and kicked off what would be the end of a 5-year drought.

 

Communications Supervisor Craig Bihrle continues on with  Diary of a Wet Cycle

Priority Lakes came about after an honest assessment of what 5 years of drought had done to the state’s fishing resources. Of about 180 fishing waters in the state at the time, Game and Fish was going to focus its efforts on 60 of them, “…until water levels return to normal.”

Ron Wilson Back Cast gives his personal perspective on the change in North Dakota landscape from 25 years ago.

It’s been said that bashing the weather is a waste of words, considering many of us couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change now and again.

 

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

 

Ron Wilson explains how the extended winter resulted in a Northern Pike Spawn Delayed

When North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists set trap nets in Lake Oahe in spring for the northern pike spawn, they were as late to the game as they’d been in years.

 

Ron also authored the story on Deer Gun Applications go Electronic  A law passed by the North Dakota Legislature requiring the Department to develop an all-electronic licensing system, and phase out the old paper license books, actually went into effect April 1, 2016.

 

The North Dakota State Water Commission explains the history and transition of lowhead dams and how State Agencies Work Together To Eliminate “Drowning Machines”

 

One of the unintentional consequences that materialized is that these lowhead dams created dangerous conditions that recreational river users may not be aware of or may underestimate.

 

Have You Read? March-April Outdoors magazine

have you read?

The 2018 March-April North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE onlineright now here.

Leading off the issue is Director Terry Steinwand’s Matters of Opinion While an inconvenience for anyone traveling or clearing sidewalks and driveways, the heavy, wet snows that fell on much of the state in March were welcome.

North Dakota’s fishing opportunities today are many. With a record number of lakes across the state that hold, in some instances, robust fish populations, the precipitation was needed.

Greg Power, fisheries division chief explains, The Value Of Fishing

Have you ever wondered why the diamond on a ring may cost $10,000 or more, yet it has no material utility other than to shine? Or why a teaspoon of salty fish eggs may run $100, even if the majority of people would prefer nothing more than just the cracker on which the eggs are served?

Ron Wilson, North Dakota Outdoors editor, this months examines the history of the “Whopper Club” with his Look Back column.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department officials unveiled the Whopper Club program to anglers nearly 60 years ago.

Is it fair to say that Department heads in 1960 didn’t envision this program to still be swimming upstream with purpose in 2018?

have you read?

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.

 

have you read? November Outdoors Magazine

The 2017 November North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

North Dakota Game  and Fish Director Terry Steinwand  writes Matters of Opinion  

Over the last 10 years I’ve been involved in an event called Hunting Dakota with Roosevelt. The event was created by some very civic-minded individuals who loved to hunt and also had a goal in mind to honor those who served, or do serve, in the military, while at the same time raising funds for the much-deserving Bismarck Cancer Center.

Ron Wilson North Dakota Outdoors editor with a feature on the Partnership to Benefit Ruffed Grouse, Other Wildlife

Hunting ruffed grouse in North Dakota’s Turtle Mountains is as much about the gorgeous forested country that shoulders up against Canada as it is about the native birds.

The plan is to manipulate 15 acres of state forest land over the next two years.

In fall, when the grouse are in season and have long since moved on from an entertaining spring courtship initiated by drumming males, the woodlands transform from greens to head-turning reds and yellows. A hike in the woods, with or without a grouse in the game bag, is a treat as temperatures cool and the days shorten.

North Dakota Outdoors editor Ron Wilson highlights the coming winter fishing with  Prairie Walleye Lakes, Pike Highlighting Winter Fishing Forecast

There are no guarantees when it comes to ice fishing in North Dakota.

Considering the uncertainties of the weather, and how it influences freeze-up and access, anglers really never know how things are going to play out.

Last year, following a mild November, December bared its teeth in parts of the state with record snowfall and cold temperatures. Access to many waters was difficult or worse.