Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

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.

have you read?

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

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

It’s a busy time of year in North Dakota’s outdoors.

By the time this magazine is printed and mailed to subscribers, the echoes of the first shotgun blasts, signaling the state’s pheasant opener, will have faded.

I’m hoping that hunters went in to the pheasant season with reasonable expectations, considering bird numbers are down in many areas following a difficult winter, drought and an altered landscape.

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

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has partnered with Pheasants Forever and four county soil conservation districts to help producers farm more efficiently and profitably by offering conservation practices on less gainful crop acres.According to a Pheasants Forever news release, the foundation of the precision agriculture planning partnership is built on the technology of AgSolver’s Profit Zone Manager software platform, which focuses on the producer’s return-on-investment.

North Dakota Outdoors editor Ron Wilson examines the biology of Managing Sakakawea’s Salmon Populaton

 

There are 1.5 million reasons fisheries biologists will slowly navigate Lake Sakakawea’s shallow waters this month.

That’s roughly the number of chinook salmon eggs North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel aim to collect to produce hundreds of thousands of smolts that, months later, will be released back into the big lake.

Last fall, for example, biologists spawned 683 mature females and collected nearly 1.8 million eggs. After sharing some with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, fisheries biologists here stocked about 430,000 salmon smolts into Sakakawea in 2017.

Have You Read? Aug-Sept Outdoors Magazine

The 2017 August-September  North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

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

Where has summer gone? That’s probably the most frequently asked question I’ve fielded of late.

Considering that there are still 24 hours in a day, seven days in a week, and so on, this summer isn’t any shorter than those in the past.

I have a theoretical, and somewhat psychological answer to the question, though. Based on last winter’s weather, specifically a six-week stretch from late November to early January, we thought we’d have flooding and wet conditions once again. While there was flooding in some areas of the state, like Belcourt, overall flooding did not occur as anticipated.

 

Jeb Williams Chief of Wildlife and his staff have an overview of the 2017 Hunting Season Outlook

Most North Dakotans will remember 2017 as a time when drought returned to the state.

North Dakota is well known for wild weather swings, but the end of 2016, and so far into 2017, is about as weird as weather can get.

As a beautiful November ended last fall, December arrived with a mission, a seemingly singular focus to make things miserable for critters and citizens of the state.

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North Dakota Outdoors editor Ron Wilson and Private Lands Coordinator Kevin Kading offer insight on the 2017 PLOTS Program Evolves, Adapts

The many upturned yellow signs anchored into rural North Dakota lands are unmistakably familiar. For those who hunt, the signs that trumpet the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program, should be easily recognizable, as the walk-in access program is a long-time staple.

have you read? June Outdoors Magazine FREE!

 

 

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

 

North Dakota Outdoors Editor Ron Wilson writes  Fishing For Options  In a walleye-mad state, where this is the fish of choice for 80-plus percent of the anglers, maybe news of the best bluegill fishing in decades doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

 

Then again, perhaps it should.

 

 

Ron also wrote  Milkweeds and Monarchs

 

Greg Link, North Dakota Game and Fish Department conservation and communications chief, said the monarch butterfly population has fallen from an estimated high of almost 1 billion in 1996 to a low of 35 million in 2013. Wintering ground population estimates in Mexico in 2015-16 showed that the population rebounded some, but the concern remains.

 

 

Forgotten Fish of Western North Dakota’s Small Streams

 

Western North Dakota streams flow through either badlands or rolling prairies. Badland streams drain the Little Missouri River basin within the river’s historic floodplain. The hillslopes have eroded over time and have little vegetation protecting them from further erosion. Many badlands streams have wide, shallow channels and many become dry, except for pools during low flow periods of late summer.

 

 

 

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

North Dakota Outdoors Editor Ron Wilson writes  Fishing For Options  In a walleye-mad state, where this is the fish of choice for 80-plus percent of the anglers, maybe news of the best bluegill fishing in decades doesn’t raise many eyebrows.

Then again, perhaps it should.

Ron also wrote  Milkweeds and Monarchs

Greg Link, North Dakota Game and Fish Department conservation and communications chief, said the monarch butterfly population has fallen from an estimated high of almost 1 billion in 1996 to a low of 35 million in 2013. Wintering ground population estimates in Mexico in 2015-16 showed that the population rebounded some, but the concern remains.

Forgotten Fish of Western North Dakota’s Small Streams

Western North Dakota streams flow through either badlands or rolling prairies. Badland streams drain the Little Missouri River basin within the river’s historic floodplain. The hillslopes have eroded over time and have little vegetation protecting them from further erosion. Many badlands streams have wide, shallow channels and many become dry, except for pools during low flow periods of late summer.

 

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Have You Read? May ND Outdoors Magazine!

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

Outdoors editor Ron Wilson and Game and Fish communications supervisor Craig Bihrle have a great  read Sage Grouse Recovery Effort Underway with some great photographs.

In April, North Dakota Game and Fish personnel moved 60 sage grouse – 40 females and 20 males – from southern Wyoming to Bowman County. To keep tabs on the birds, all were marked with either GPS or VHF radio devices.The big upland birds have a fundamental link to the aromatic plant, big sage. Sagebrush is critical to sage grouse, as they rely on the plant for food for much of the year, cover from weather and predators, and nesting and brood habitat.

The reality, however, is about half of the big sage habitat in North Dakota has vanished from the landscape in the last half-century, but has remained stable for the last decade or more.

North Dakota Outdoors editor Ron Wilson wrote North Dakota’s Shorebird Connection

Of the 50 or so shorebird species that migrate through North America in spring, roughly 36 have ties to North Dakota. The link to this neck of the Northern Plains for the majority is brief, yet vital, as birds touch down to rest and refuel, before pointing their bills north and continuing on.

Have You Read? March-April ND Outdoors magazine

have you read?

The 2017 March-April   North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand leads off the issue with some insight on our fisheries division, The Game and Fish Department’s fisheries crew is top notch. While their numbers don’t stack up to other larger agencies around the country, they make up for it with passion and work ethic, much like other North Dakotans.

I’ve been asked a few times what Department fisheries people do during winter when they aren’t surveying lakes, or stocking fish. If they’re not compiling and analyzing data collected during the open water season, they’re out in what can be some nasty weather, collecting winter oxygen levels to inform anglers of potential winterkills and to develop plans to improve fisheries in coming years.

 

The full story is here: Matters of Opinion.

 

You’ll also want to be sure to check out a feature by fisheries division chief Greg Power called Changes and Innovations in the Fish Underworld  

Fish and wildlife talk 50 years ago centered on such matters as winter impacts on wildlife, winterkill in state lakes, poaching, land use and the need for more fish hatcheries. Today, these themes haven’t changed much and are still part of the fundamentals that dictate fish and wildlife populations on the prairie.

 

The 2017 Fishing Waters Report

North Dakota now has more than 420 fishing waters that have public access and some degree of management by state Game and Fish Department biologists.

What follows are driving directions and infrastructure information for these managed waters, plus additional fish population remarks for many of them.mar

have you read? February ND Outdoors Magazine FREE

The 2017 February “North Dakota Outdoors” magazine is available FREE online right now here.

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The 2016 Enforcement Year in Review is featured, written by chief game warden Robert Timian.

 

Violations handled by North Dakota Game and Fish Department wardens were down in 2016 (2,286 violations) compared to 2015 (2,428 violations).

The full story is here: 2016 Enforcement Year in Review.

 

You’ll also want to be sure to check out a feature compiled by fisheries division chief Greg Power and biologists Paul Bailey, Randy Hiltner and Todd Caspers on management of Big Water Walleyes.

 

You may have questions or heard discussions on the 2016 Deer Drawing.  Editor Ron Wilson has information, statistics and facts to help deer hunters understand the difficulties in drawing a preferred license in many units.

Have You Seen? November North Dakota Outdoors magazine FREE!

 

 

 

The 2016 November  issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

 

 

One of my favorite stories takes you into some of my Game and Fish coworkers lives with first person accounts of “First Deer, Trophy Memories” The state’s first modern deer season was 1931. That was the first year a specific deer license was required to hunt.

 

If we start there, that means we’ve been hunting deer in North Dakota for 85 years. That’s a long time.

 

Deer hunting, from the Red River Valley to the badlands, is a big deal here. For so many, no matter their ages, the November season is long anticipated and its arrival applauded.

 

The full story is here: “First Deer, Trophy Memories”.

 

 

 

You’ll also want to be sure to check out a feature by Greg Freeman on the Game and Fish Considering River Otter Season  Stephanie Tucker, Department game management section leader and furbearer biologist, said the subject is up for discussion in late November and early December as a topic at fall district advisory board meetings, and again next spring when Department officials hold another round of advisory board meetings across the state.

 

 

 

With ice fishing season on the way fisheries biologist Paul Bailey has a great primer on Targeting Big Pike in Winter

 

 

If there is such a thing as an embarrassment of riches, North Dakota’s anglers have experienced it in recent years.

 

Our “big three” walleye fisheries – Lake Sakakawea, Devils Lake and the Missouri River/Lake Oahe – continue to validate their nationally renowned reputations as destination fisheries. Other new lakes created from the abundant snowfall during the winters of 2008-09 to 2010-11 have now developed into outstanding fisheries.

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Have You Seen? August-September Outdoors Magazine

The 2016 August/September issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

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Wildlife chief Jeb Williams provides his perspective in the 2016 North Dakota Hunting season outlook. His thoughts include highlighting unique partnerships which are working for hunters, landowners and wildlife as he relates:  My job takes me to all parts of the state and I’m fortunate to meet and visit with many people about today’s outdoor issues. Often, after mentioning my western North Dakota upbringing, people would tell stories about hunting on the Short ranch. I laughed during one of these conversations and sarcastically asked a gentleman if there is a hunter in the state who hasn’t hunted on the ranch?

 

You’ll also want to be sure to check out a feature on the 2016 North Dakota PLOTS program with a Q&A from Kevin Kading, Game and Fish Department private land section leader, regarding the program’s status.

Q: In 2015 there were about 730,000 PLOTS acres. What is the acreage forecast for 2016?

A: It looks like we’ll be very similar to last year. We didn’t make any huge acreage gains this year, but we were able to maintain stable acreage in the program. This is the first time in several years this has happened. There is more interest in conservation programs right now so hopefully we’ll see an increase in acres if the trend continues.

 

You’ll be sure to enjoy a feature by waterfowl biologist and hunter Mike Szymanski with his insight on A Changing Waterfowl Landscape As a waterfowl biologist, I often get asked about the prospects for upcoming hunting seasons for ducks or geese.

The answer really depends on the perspective and expectations of the person asking it. Even more complicating is that waterfowl hunting is never really the same on a year-to-year, area-to-area basis.