Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

NDGF News: Advisory Board Meetings Announced

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department fall advisory board meeting in their area.

These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.

The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.

Any person who requires an auxiliary aid or service must notify the contact person at least five days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

 

District 3 – Counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner

Date: November 25 – 7 p.m.

Location: Fire Hall, 501 Main St., Munich

Host: The Ville Cafe

Contact: Heather Barker, 317-4390

Advisory board member: Tom Rost, Devils Lake

 

District 8 – Counties: Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark

Date: November 25 – 7 p.m.

Location: Choice Financial Bank, 201 Main St. N., Belfield

Host: Belfield Sportsman Club

Contact: Roger Decker, 575-8876

Advisory board member: Dwight Hecker, Dickinson

 

District 2 – Counties: Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward

Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.

Location: Wildlife Club, 1901 U.S. Highway 52, Velva

Host: North Dakota Fur Trappers and Harvesters Association

Contact: Rick Tischaefer, 460-1055

Advisory board member: Travis Leier, Velva

 

District 6 – Counties: Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells

Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.

Location: Southeast Region Vo-Tech Center, 924 Seventh St. S., Oakes

Host: Ludden Sportsmen’s Club

Contact: Eric Larson, 210-0410

Advisory board member: Cody Sand, Ashley

 

District 1 – Counties: Divide, McKenzie and Williams

Date: December 2 – 7 p.m.

Location: Missouri Fairgrounds, 519 53rd St. E., Williston

Host: Missouri Basin Bowmen

Contact: Steve Rehak, 770-3643

Advisory board member: Beau Wisness, Keene

 

District 5 – Counties: Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill

Date: December 2 – 7 p.m.

Location: Community Center, 299 Fourth Ave., Cogswell

Host: Cogswell Gun Club

Contact: Mike Marquette, 680-0860

Advisory board member: Duane Hanson, West Fargo

 

District 4 – Counties: Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh

Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.

Location: Cavalier Cinema, 104 Main St. W., Cavalier

Host: Shane Feltman

Contact and advisory board member: Bruce Ellertson, Lakota, 247-2915

 

District 7 – Counties: Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux

Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.

Location: Game and Fish Main Office, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck

Host: Capital City Ladybirds Pheasants Forever Chapter

Contact: Lora Isakson, 426-9045

Advisory board member: Dave Nehring, Bismarck

Darkhouse Spearfishing Opens at Ice-Up

North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters whenever ice-up occurs. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.

 

All individuals who participate in darkhouse spearfishing must first register online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, anglers age 16 and older must possess a valid fishing license.

 

Spearers and anglers are reminded that materials used to mark holes must be in possession as soon as a hole greater than 10 inches in diameter is made in the ice.

North Dakota residents who do not have a fishing license may spear during the winter free fishing weekend Dec. 28-29, but they still need to register to spear.

All waters open to hook and line fishing are open to darkhouse spearing except:

  •      East Park Lake, West Park Lake, Lake Audubon – McLean County
  •      Heckers Lake – Sheridan County
  •      Larimore Dam – Grand Forks County
  •      McClusky Canal
  •      New Johns Lake – Burleigh County
  •      Red Willow Lake – Griggs County
  •      Wood Lake – Benson County

Anglers and spearers should refer to the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide for more information.

Early Ice Awareness for Hunters, Anglers

Hunters and anglers are reminded to be cognizant of early ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota waters.

Game and Fish Department education coordinator Brian Schaffer said there haven’t been enough days when the high temperature has remained below freezing to produce stable ice. “There are already small and mid-sized waters that show the appearance of safe ice, but looks can be deceiving,” Schaffer said.

And with deer season opening Friday, Nov. 8 at noon, an estimated 60,000 hunters will be in the field the next two weeks. Schaffer said even though deer might be able to make it across smaller waters, it doesn’t mean hunters can.

“Hunters walking the edges will not find the same ice thickness in the middle, as the edges firm up faster than farther out from shore,” Schaffer added, while urging hunters to be cautious of walking on frozen stock ponds, sloughs, creeks and rivers.

A few reminders include:

  • Snow insulates ice, which in turn inhibits solid ice formation, and hides cracks, weak and open water areas.
  • Ice can form overnight, causing unstable conditions. Ice thickness is not consistent, as it can vary significantly within a few inches.
  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

While heading onto North Dakota lakes this winter, Schaffer offers these life-saving safety tips:

  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.

Fall Mule Deer Survey Completed

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated another year of good fawn production.

 

Biologists counted 2,218 mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The ratios of 41 bucks per 100 does, and 84 fawns per 100 does, were similar to last year.

 

“Overall, there was good fawn production and stable buck-to-doe ratios at or near their long-term averages,” said Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor, Dickinson.

 

The fall aerial survey, conducted specifically to study demographics, covers 24 study areas and 306.3 square miles in western North Dakota. Biologists also survey the same study areas in the spring of each year to determine deer abundance.

Deer Season Questions and Answers

Every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department receives questions from deer hunters who want to clarify rules and regulations. Some common questions are listed below. Hunters with further questions are encouraged to visit big game, white-tailed and mule deer, under the hunting link at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov., or call 701-328-6300, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays.

 

What licenses do I need for deer gun season? A general game and habitat stamp or a combination license, and the deer license. Gratis license holders need only the gratis license. The deer license is mailed after the general game and habitat license is purchased.

 

I have a concurrent season license. When can I use it? The license can be used during the archery season with a bow; the deer gun season with a bow, rifle or muzzleloader; or the muzzleloader season with a muzzleloader. You are restricted to the type of antlerless deer printed on the license and must stay in the unit to which the license is assigned.

 

I can’t find my deer license. What should I do? You must obtain an application for a duplicate license from the Game and Fish Department. Fill out the form, have it notarized and return it to the Department along with a fee. You may not hunt without the deer license in your possession. If you find the original license after receiving a replacement, you must return the original to a local game warden or Game and Fish office.

 

Can hunters age 13, 14 or 15 (in 2019) with a youth season license who did not harvest a deer during the youth season, hunt the regular deer gun season with this license? Yes, but you are subject to the restrictions listed on the license.

 

I was unsuccessful in filling my mule deer buck license in a restricted unit during the youth season. Can I hunt the remainder of the state during the regular gun season? No. You are restricted to the same unit as during the youth season.

 

I shot a deer, but it is rotten. What can I do? You must take possession of the animal by tagging it. A license only allows you the opportunity to hunt. It is not a guarantee to harvest a deer, or to the quality of the animal.

 

What should I do if I find a wounded deer? Contact a game warden. Do not shoot the deer unless you want to tag it or are instructed by the warden to do so.

 

Is camouflage blaze orange acceptable for the deer gun season? No. You must wear both a hat and outer garment above the waistline totaling at least 400 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange.

 

I hunt with a bow. When do I have to wear orange? Only during the regular deer gun season.

 

Can I hunt road rights-of-way? Do not hunt on road rights-of-way unless you are certain they are open to public use. Most road rights-of-way are easements under control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed to hunting.

 

Can I hunt on a section line if it is posted on both sides? No. If the land is posted on both sides, the section line is closed to hunting, but is still open for travel.

 

Can I hunt over bait on private land? It is unlawful to hunt over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, in deer hunting units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 north of U.S. Highway 2, 3B1, 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

 

What if I want to have a mount made by a taxidermist and take the meat to a butcher shop? How do I keep the tag with it all? The tag should remain with the antlers and the carcass tag should remain with the meat.

 

I shot a deer in a unit that has carcass transportation restrictions (3A1, 3B1, 3F2). What field dressing restrictions must I follow? Hunters cannot transport the whole carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit. Exceptions: meat that has been boned out; quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; meat that is cut and wrapped either commercially or privately; hides with no heads attached; skull plates with antlers attached having no hide or brain tissue present; intact skulls with the hide, eyes, lower jaw and associated soft tissue removed, and no visible brain or spinal cord tissue present; antlers with no meat or tissue attached; upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers or ivories; and finished taxidermy heads. However, hunters can transport the whole deer carcass between units 3A1 and 3B1 during any open deer season.

 

Can I retrieve a wounded deer from posted land? If the deer was shot on land where you had a legal right to be and it ran onto posted land, you may retrieve it. However, you may not take a firearm or bow with you. The department suggests contacting the landowner as a courtesy prior to entering.

 

What if the landowner says I cannot retrieve a deer from posted land that was shot on land where I had a right to be? Contact a game warden.

 

Can I drive off a trail on private land to retrieve a deer? Unless prohibited by a landowner or operator, you may drive off-trail on private land once a deer has been killed and properly tagged. You must proceed to the carcass by the shortest accessible route and return to the road or trail by the same route.

 

Can I transport someone else’s deer? Yes, but you will need a transportation permit from a game warden. The license holder, person transporting the animal, and the carcass must be presented to the game warden before the permit is issued.

 

May I carry a pistol when I am hunting with a deer rifle? Yes, but the handgun must meet minimum requirements listed in the deer hunting regulations to be legal for taking deer.

 

Can I carry both bow and gun afield during deer gun season if I have both licenses? Yes, but only if you are going to fill your gun license. No firearms, except handguns, may be in the hunter’s possession while hunting with a deer bow license. However, handguns may not be used in any manner to assist in the harvest of a deer with an archery license.

Hunters Use Caution on Roadways

With wet conditions abating enough to allow many North Dakota producers to start or continue row crop harvest, the State Game and Fish Department reminds hunters to avoid parking along roadways or field approaches where vehicles could block travel by farm machinery.

“We’ve received numerous calls from farmers who are unable to get machinery around vehicles parked along rural roadways,” said Jeb Williams, wildlife division chief for Game and Fish. “As fields continue to dry out, we’ll see more and more harvest activity, and we urge hunters to keep that in mind as they are choosing where to park when accessing hunting areas.”

Williams said traveling hunters should also watch for approaching farm machinery and pull well to the side of the road or find an approach when meeting combines, grain trucks or tractors pulling equipment. “The window for harvest is tight this year,” Williams added. “We urge hunters to keep that in mind until harvest activity winds down.”

CWD Surveillance Continues

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2019 hunting season by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease from units in more than half of the state.

 

Samples from hunter-harvested deer taken in the eastern portion of the state will be tested from units 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F1, 2F2, 2G, 2G1, 2G2 and 2L. In addition, deer will be tested in the northwest from units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 (that portion of the unit north of U.S. Highway 2) and 3B1, in the west from units 4B and 4C, and in the southwest from units 3C (the portion of the unit west of the Missouri River), 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

 

Game and Fish wildlife veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson said surveillance is conducted to estimate where CWD is located, and to determine the infection rate in the area. He said the department uses the information to guide its efforts in managing the impacts of the disease.

 

“CWD has not been found in the eastern third of the state and our surveillance goal in that area is to confidently say that it is still not present in the area,” Bahnson said. “We need to test a lot of deer to reach that conclusion, so it is important for hunters to consider dropping off their deer for testing.”

 

Bahnson mentioned it’s likely that additional positive deer will be found this fall in units 3A1, 3B1, 3F2 and 4B where CWD has been previously detected. “Infection rates are relatively low in those areas, but only a small portion of hunters have submitted heads for testing,” he added. “Most infected deer will look perfectly healthy and the only way to tell is by having them tested.”

 

Hunters are encouraged to drop off the head of an adult or yearling deer at one of nearly 100 collection sites across the state. Hunters wishing to keep the deer head can bring it to a Game and Fish district office during business hours to have it sampled. Fawns and head-shot deer cannot be tested. Testing results will be provided to hunters within 2-3 weeks by email or text message, based on their preferred communication method listed on their Game and Fish account. To add or update contact information, visit My Account at the department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

 

Hunters should note a carcass or head of a white-tailed deer or mule deer taken from deer hunting units 3A1, 3B1 or 3F2; a moose from moose hunting unit M10; or an elk from elk hunting unit E6; may not be transported to a collection site outside of the unit. Exceptions: deer heads taken in units 3A1 or 3B1 may be transported between those units, and moose heads taken in unit M10 may be delivered to the collection sites at the Williston Game and Fish office and at the North Dakota State Fair grounds in Minot.

 

More information on CWD, including transportation restrictions, is available at the Game and Fish website.

 

Hunters are encouraged to drop off deer heads at the following locations:

 

  • Alexander – Sather Lake Recreation Area
  • Beach – Gooseneck Implement
  • Belfield – Badlands Taxidermy, Superpumper
  • Bismarck – 3Be Meats, Game and Fish Department, West Dakota Meats
  • Blaisdell – BJ Taxidermy
  • Bottineau – Mattern Family Meats
  • Bowbells – The Joint
  • Cando – K&E Meats
  • Carrington – Barton Meats
  • Casselton – Casselton Tesoro
  • Cooperstown – Miller’s Fresh Foods, OCD Taxidermy
  • Crosby – Cenex/New Century Ag
  • Devils Lake – Lake Region Sportsmen’s Club/City Sanitation Department, Game and Fish Department
  • Dickinson – Game and Fish Department, Wildlife Creations
  • Dunseith – Wayne’s Food Pride
  • Edgeley – Cenex
  • Elgin – Gunny’s Bait and Tackle, Melvin’s Taxidermy
  • Ellendale – True Value
  • Enderlin – Maple Valley Lockers
  • Fargo – NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, Prime Cut Meats
  • Flasher – 8 miles east on N.D. Highway 21
  • Fordville – Jelinek Brother Taxidermy
  • Fort Yates – Prairie Knights Quik Mart
  • Glen Ullin – Kuntz’s Butcher Shop
  • Grafton – Tractor Supply
  • Grand Forks – Grand Forks Gun Club
  • Grassy Butte – Sweet Crude Travel Center
  • Great Bend – Manock Meats
  • Grenora – Farmer’s Union
  • Gwinner – Stoppleworth Taxidermy
  • Hettinger – Dakota Packing
  • Horace – J&K Taxidermy
  • Jamestown – Game and Fish Department, Windish’s Deer Processing
  • Kenmare – Farmer’s Union, Jessica Ware’s Taxidermy
  • Lakota – Zimprich Taxidermy
  • LaMoure – LaMoure Lockers
  • Langdon – Farmer’s Union Cenex, Hursman Taxidermy
  • Larimore – E-Z Stop Convenience Store
  • Linton – BP Taxidermy, Bosch’s Meat Market, Scherr’s Meats
  • Lisbon – Sheyenne National Grasslands Office
  • Mandan – Butcher Block Meats
  • Mapleton – Jason’s Taxidermy
  • Mayville – Cenex
  • Milnor – Milnor Locker
  • Minot – AAA Taxidermy, Blom’s Locker and Processing, Frenchy’s Taxidermy, State Fairgrounds, Wallen’s Taxidermy
  • Mohall – Engebretson Processing, Farmer’s Union
  • Mott – 4 Corners Car Wash
  • New Leipzig – Hertz Hardware, and 12 miles south on N.D. Highway 49
  • New Town – Three Affiliated Tribes Fish and Wildlife Office
  • New Rockford – Risovi Taxidermy Studio
  • Oakes – Butcher Block
  • Park River – Jim’s Super Valu
  • Powers Lake – Farmer’s Union
  • Ray – Horizon-Cenex
  • Reynolds – Weber’s Meats
  • Rolette – The Meat Shack
  • Rugby – Cenex
  • Scranton – Wolf’s Meat Processing
  • Selfridge – Cenex
  • Sheyenne – Wild Things Taxidermy
  • Solen – Hettich Salvage
  • Stanley – Ace Hardware
  • Tioga – Recycling Center
  • Valley City – Valley Meat Supply
  • Wahpeton – Aber Taxidermy, David’s Taxidermy, J&R Taxidermy
  • Walcott – Brantley’s Antlers
  • Walhalla – North Dakota Forest Service
  • Watford City – Farmer’s Union Cenex
  • West Fargo – West Fargo City Sanitation
  • Williston – Bickler Taxidermy, Dave’s Heads or Tails Taxidermy, Mounts By Mert, Game and Fish Department, Zerr’s Taxidermy

CWD Detected in McKenzie County

Two mule deer taken in September have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, including one taken during the archery season from deer gun unit 4B in McKenzie County, where CWD had not previously been found. The other deer was harvested during the youth season in unit 3A1 in Divide County where CWD was first detected last fall.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife veterinarian Dr. Charlie Bahnson said the finding in 4B marks the first detection of CWD in the badlands.

“This is an iconic place to hunt big game where people travel to from across the state,” Bahnson said. “By no means does this first detection spell doom for hunting in this area, as long as we are proactive in trying to keep infection rates from climbing. We also need to reduce the chance of CWD spreading to new areas.”

Game and Fish will review its CWD management strategy after the deer rifle season and will consider making revisions for next season. While unit 4B does not have carcass transportation restrictions in place for 2019, Bahnson does recommend that hunters in 4B submit their deer for testing, and avoid transporting high-risk carcass parts, such as the brain and spinal column, outside of the hunting unit.

More information on CWD, including transportation regulations, can be found by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov/cwd.