The November edition of North Dakota Outdoors is now available online at https://gf.nd.gov/magazine/2019/nov!
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
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.
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.”
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
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.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have completed fall reproduction surveys and the future looks promising, especially compared to a year ago when many waters were struggling.
Scott Gangl, fisheries management section leader, said many lakes already had low water levels going into last winter, and then a heavy snowpack resulted in significant winterkill.
“Good moisture throughout the summer rejuvenated the habitat in many of the smaller lakes around the state, primarily in the central and southeast,” Gangl said.
The cooler, wet summer produced ideal receiving conditions for stocked pike and walleye. “We saw really good survival and growth on most stocked species,” Gangl said.
Similar to last year, Devils Lake saw fair to good numbers of walleye, with the catch close to average. “However, we saw very low numbers of yellow perch, which means there wasn’t a good reproductive year for perch,” Gangl said.
In Lake Sakakawea, Gangl said there was a good catch of young walleye. “This was a result of a combination of stocking efforts and natural reproduction,” he added. “We also saw a lot of rainbow smelt, so the forage base is still pretty solid.”
Lake Oahe has had several years of good reproduction of walleye, Gangl said, including this year. “The walleye population continues to be dominated by smaller fish,” he added. “Lake Oahe is lacking forage which causes fish to grow slower than they should.”
Reproduction surveys evaluate natural reproduction, stocking success and forage abundance.
Deer hunters are reminded of a state law that requires hunters to purchase a general game and habitat license before receiving a deer license.
North Dakota Century Code 20.1-03-02 reads “a person may not acquire any resident or nonresident license to hunt, catch, take or kill any small game or big game animal unless that person first obtains an annual general game license.”
Just like last year, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is not mailing deer licenses until the recipient has purchased the general game and habitat license. Game and Fish recommends that deer hunters who do not yet have a general game license should get theirs well in advance of the planned hunt to allow for adequate delivery time to receive the deer license through the mail.
The general game and habitat license can be purchased online by visiting My Account at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.
Also, it’s important to locate your deer license and check it for accuracy, making sure the unit and species is what is intended.
Deer hunters who can’t find their deer license and who have already purchased their general game and habitat license, can get a replacement license by printing out a duplicate (replacement) license application from the Game and Fish website, or can request an application by calling 701-328-6300.
The form must be completed and notarized, and sent back into the department with the appropriate fee.
The October edition of North Dakota Outdoors is now available online at https://gf.nd.gov/magazine/2019/oct.
Features this month include:
- Investigating Wildlife in the Badlands (https://gf.nd.gov/magazine/2019/oct/badlands-studies)
- Outdoors On-Air Milestone (https://gf.nd.gov/magazine/2019/oct/outdoors-milestone)
- Curbing Vandalism to Signs (https://gf.nd.gov/magazine/2019/oct/signs)