Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Fall Turkey Season Set

North Dakota’s fall turkey season is set, with 3,660 licenses available to hunters, 50 fewer than last year.

Fall turkey hunters, including gratis applicants, who are interested in applying for a 2019 license can submit an online application through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

Applications are also accepted at the department’s toll-free licensing line, 800-406-6409. A service fee is added for license applications made over the phone.

The deadline for applying is Sept. 4.

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply in the first lottery. Nonresidents can apply for fall turkey licenses that are still available following the first lottery.

As per state law, a resident who does not want to receive a fall turkey hunting license but would like to accrue a bonus point, can purchase a point on the application for the same fee as the turkey license. The bonus point fee is allocated to the department’s Private Lands Open to Sportsmen Program.

Hunting units 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) and 47 (Sheridan, Wells, Eddy, Foster, Kidder and Stutsman counties) will be closed to fall turkey hunting again this year because of low turkey numbers.

The fall wild turkey season runs from Oct. 12 through Jan. 5, 2020.

Deer Archery Season Opens Aug. 30

North Dakota’s deer archery season opens Friday, Aug. 30 at noon, and continues through Jan. 5, 2020.

 

Bowhunters can buy a license online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov; by calling 800-406-6409; or at vendors linked to the Game and Fish Department’s online licensing system. Hunters who purchase bow licenses at a vendor location will receive a tag at time of purchase; otherwise, hunters who purchase their license over the phone or personal computer should allow for several days to receive their tag in the mail. A general game and habitat license is also required for archery hunters, and must be purchased prior to receiving the archery tag.

 

Bowhunters must follow all regulations of the managing agency when using tree stands, ground blinds and game cameras on public hunting areas, including displaying an equipment registration number, or the owner’s name, address and telephone number, on all equipment left unattended on Game and Fish wildlife management areas.

 

In addition, hunting big game over bait is prohibited on both public and private land 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.

 

Hunters should refer to the 2019 deer hunting guide for season information and regulations.

PLOTS Guide Available Online

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen Guide for 2019 is now available online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, the free printed PLOTS guides will be available in mid-August at most license vendors and other locations throughout the state.

 

The guide will feature about 791,000 PLOTS acres. Because the guide is printed in mid-August, some PLOTS tracts highlighted in the guide may have been removed from the program since the time of printing. There will also be some PLOTS tracts where the habitat and condition of the tract will have changed significantly. Conversely, Game and Fish may have added new tracts to the program after the guide went to press.

 

To minimize possible confusion, Game and Fish will update PLOTS map sheets weekly on its website.

 

The PLOTS guide features maps highlighting these walk-in areas, identified in the field by inverted triangular yellow signs, as well as other public lands.

 

The guides are not available to mail, so hunters will have to pick one up at a local vendor or Game and Fish office or print individual maps from the website.

This weeks Game and Fish news

  • First-Come, First-Served Deer Gun Licenses Available Aug. 8
  • Pronghorn Applications due Aug. 7
  • Hunters Reminded of Baiting Restrictions
  • Equipment on Wildlife Management Areas
  • Game Warden Exam Set for Sept. 6

First-Come, First-Served Deer Gun Licenses Available Aug. 8

More than 3,000 antlerless deer gun licenses are still available in 12 units after the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently completed its second lottery drawing.

Antlerless licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. Central Time on Aug. 8. Residents and nonresidents who have not already received a lottery or landowner license are eligible to apply, by visiting the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

These licenses are valid only during the regular deer gun season, Nov. 8-24.

Remaining deer gun licenses

(B = Any Antlerless   D = Antlerless Whitetail   F = Antlerless Mule Deer)

Unit     Type     Available
3A1       B     48
3B2      D     50
3B2      F    152
3B3      D     11
3C      D     92
3D1      B     28
3D1      D    184
3D2      D     41
3E1      D     45
3E2      D     82
3F1      B    106
3F1      D    442
3F2      B    739
3F2      D    740
4E      D     87
4F      D    341
4F      F    126

 


Pronghorn Applications due Aug. 7

Hunters are reminded the deadline to apply for the 2019 pronghorn hunting season is Aug. 7.

Applicants can apply online by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by calling 800-406-6409.

A total of 1,330 licenses are available in 12 open units – 1A, 1D, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4A, 4C, 5A, 6A, 7A and 10A. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn, except in 4A where doe/fawn licenses are also available.

The bow-only portion of the season is from Aug. 30 (noon) – Sept. 22. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow in the unit printed on the license.

From Oct. 4 (noon) – Oct. 20, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or archery equipment, and again must stay in the assigned unit.

The pronghorn license fee is $30 for ages 16 and older, and $10 for under age 16.

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2019 pronghorn license. Hunters who have accumulated bonus points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points, but will not accrue one for next year. However, hunters who do not want a license in 2019 have the option to purchase a bonus point on the application.

Successful applicants should note that Game and Fish will not mail pronghorn licenses until a valid 2019-20 hunting license is purchased. All pronghorn hunters, regardless of age, are required to have a general game and habitat license in addition to their pronghorn license. Hunters who have already purchased this 2019-20 license do not have to purchase another one.


Hunters Reminded of Baiting Restrictions

Hunters are reminded it is unlawful to hunt big game over bait, or place bait to attract big game for the purpose of hunting, on both public and private land in deer units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3 north of N.D. Highway 2, 3B1, 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.

The restriction is in place to help slow the spread of chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease of deer, moose and elk that can cause long-term population declines if left unchecked. Hunting units in the northwest have been added to the restriction zone, following the detection of CWD in those areas this past year.

Hunting over bait is defined as the placement and/or use of baits for attracting big game and other wildlife to a specific location for the purpose of hunting. Baits include but are not limited to grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay, or any other natural or manufactured foods.

In addition, placing of bait for any purpose is prohibited on all North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas. Hunting big game over bait is also prohibited on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, U.S. Forest Service national grasslands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed lands, and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.

More information on CWD can be found at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.


Equipment on Wildlife Management Areas

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds hunters that tree stands, ground blinds and game cameras cannot be placed on state wildlife management areas prior to Aug. 20.

Equipment set out prior to Aug. 20, or left on a WMA after Jan. 31, is considered abandoned property and is subject to removal.

In addition, an equipment registration number, or the owner’s name, address and telephone number, must be displayed on all equipment requiring identification.

Owners can generate an equipment registration number by visiting My Account at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. One registration number will be issued for all equipment that requires identification.


Game Warden Exam Set for Sept. 6

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination to select candidates for the position of district game warden. The test is at 10 a.m., Sept. 6, at the department’s main office in Bismarck.

Applicants must register to take the exam no later than Sept. 2 by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree at time of hire, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations as determined by the department. Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions, at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.

Salary through training for a district game warden is $3,900 per month. For more information, see the district game warden job announcement on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Early Canada Goose Dates Announced

North Dakota’s early Canada goose season dates are set, with bag limits and licensing requirements the same as last year.

Opening day for early Canada goose is Aug. 15 in all three zones. Closing dates are Sept. 7 in the Missouri River zone, Sept. 15 in the western zone and Sept. 20 in the eastern zone.

Early Canada goose limits are 15 daily and 45 in possession.

Limits and shooting hours are different from the regular season, while the zone boundaries remain the same. Shooting hours for early Canada goose are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

Residents need a $5 early Canada goose license and a general game and habitat license. Also, residents age 16 and older need a small game license. Nonresidents need only a $50 early Canada goose license, and the license is valid statewide without counting against the 14-day regular season license.

Harvest Information Program certification is required, and beginning Sept. 1 a federal duck stamp for hunters age 16 and older is also needed. Those who HIP registered to hunt the spring light goose conservation order in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required in each state only once per year.

Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, are open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to access them.

Hunting of Canada geese in August and early September is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers, which remain high. Game and Fish is attempting to provide additional hunting opportunities that can increase pressure on locally breeding Canada geese.

For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Some Hunter Education Classes Available

Adults and children looking to take a hunter education class in 2019 are reminded to enroll at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

 

Although the majority of classes are completed for this year, some classes will still be added as they become finalized.

 

Interested students must click on the education link on the Game and Fish website. Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

 

Individuals interested in receiving a notice by email when each hunter education class is added can click on the “subscribe to news and alerts” link found below the news section on the Game and Fish home page. Check the box labeled “hunter education” under the education program updates.

 

In addition, SMS text notifications of new classes can be sent directly to a cell phone. Simply text “NDGF HunterClass” to 468311 to subscribe to this feature.

 

State law requires anyone born after December 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old. Children who turn age 11 during the calendar year can take the class.

Spring Grouse Counts Reported

North Dakota Game and Fish Department upland game biologists have summarized the spring survey results for sharp-tailed grouse, ruffed grouse and sage grouse.

 

Statistics from the spring sharp-tailed grouse census indicate a 9 percent increase in the number of male grouse counted compared to last year.

 

Statewide, 2,267 sharptails were observed on spring dancing grounds this year compared to 2,088 in 2018. Male grouse recorded per square mile increased from 2 to 2.2. Nearly 800 square miles were covered.

 

“Sharptails are beginning to rebound after the 2017 drought,” said Jesse Kolar, upland game management supervisor. “Historically, grouse populations have rebounded within three to five years after reaching low points in the population cycle.”

 

Survey results indicate a 25 percent decrease in the number of ruffed grouse drums heard compared to 2018. The number of drums heard per stop was 0.53, down from 0.71.

 

“The majority of the trend was due to declines in the Turtle Mountains, which was down 41 percent,” Kolar said. “The number of drums heard per stop in the Pembina Hills this year was nearly four times higher than in 2018.”

 

A total of 29 male sage grouse were counted on eight leks this spring, a 7 percent increase over the 27 males counted on five leks in 2018. North Dakota does not offer a hunting season on sage grouse due to a low population.

 

“The count was a little higher than last year, but the population and number of active leks remain far below the population objective of 250 males,” Kolar said.

 

Game and Fish plans to continue translocating sage grouse to North Dakota through next year, Kolar said, and will determine a path forward after observing the outcomes from the two remaining translocation seasons.

 

“It is unlikely we will reopen the sage grouse hunting season in the foreseeable future,” he said.

 

The spring grouse census serves as relative indices of breeding populations and are largely representative of production and recruitment from the previous year. For sharptails, they can be used in combination with reproduction data – brood surveys are completed in late summer – to predict fall populations.

Fur Harvester Class Scheduled in Bismarck

The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring a fur harvester education class in Bismarck for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers.

 

The class is scheduled for Aug. 6 and 8 from 5-9 p.m., and Aug. 10 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. The course is free and takes 16 hours to complete.

 

Students will learn the history of the fur trade in the Dakotas, furbearer identification, tools and techniques for harvesting furbearers in North Dakota, as well as proper handling (skinning, fleshing and boarding) of furbearers.

 

Upon completion, graduates are issued a certification card that is recognized by any state requiring trapper education prior to purchasing a license.

 

Anyone interested in signing up for the class should visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov, click on the education link and fur harvester education

have you read? FREE July ND Outdoors Magazine

The July 2019 North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find a great piece by editor Ron Wilson  The Value of Helping Hands You can hardly swing a gillnet at a North Dakota Game and Fish Department gathering without hitting a full-time staffer who was employed as a seasonal worker earlier in their career. By most counts, more than half of the 163 full-time Game and Fish Department employees hired on as seasonal staff during their college years.

 

Alicia Underlee Nelson takes a look at One of the longest trails in the nation which starts in North Dakota. The North Country National Scenic Trail will span more than 4,600 miles (more than twice the length of the Appalachian Trail) between Lake Sakakawea State Park and Crown Point, New York on the western shore of Lake Champlain.
Fisheries biologist Randy Hiltner shares his insight Managing Fish and Angling Opportunities in the Northeast The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s northeast fisheries management district encompasses all or parts of 16 counties. Included are several large natural lakes, such as Devils Lake, Stump Lake and the Lake Irvine complex.