Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Hunters Asked to Submit Wing Envelopes

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is once again asking upland game hunters for help with future bird management, by simply collecting some feathers from harvested birds and sending in wing envelopes this fall.

Wing data allows biologists to assess production, determine the timing of hatches, and get a better understanding of the harvest ratio of males to females, and juveniles to adults.

Instructions for submitting wing data are printed on the envelope.

Hunters interested in receiving wing envelopes should visit the Game and Fish website (gf.nd.gov) to order a supply of wing envelopes, or contact the department’s main office in Bismarck by phone (701-328-6300) or email (ndgf@nd.gov).

In addition, Game and Fish district offices have a supply of wing envelopes for distribution. District offices are located at Devils Lake, Jamestown, Riverdale, Dickinson, Williston and Lonetree Wildlife Management Area near Harvey.

Grouse and Partridge Seasons Open Sept. 8

North Dakota’s popular hunting seasons for grouse and partridge will open Saturday, Sept. 8.

State Game and Fish Department upland game supervisor Jesse Kolar said last year’s drought is still having an impact on bird numbers.

“Numbers were already low going into 2017, and then we didn’t have good production largely due to the drought, so this spring our numbers were down once again,” Kolar said. “Therefore, assuming typical production this summer, but from fewer birds, hunters should be able to expect similar conditions to last year.”

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Sharptails, ruffed grouse and Huns each have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.

In addition, hunters are urged to keep up with the daily rural fire danger index, issued by the National Weather Service, to alert the public to conditions that may be conducive to accidental starting or spread of fires.

County governments also have the authority to adopt penalties for violations of county restrictions related to burning bans. These restrictions apply regardless of the daily fire danger index, and remain in place until each county’s commission rescinds the ban.

Information on current fire danger indexes is available through ndresponse.gov, or from a county sheriff’s office.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Grouse and Partridge Seasons Open Sept. 9

North Dakota’s popular hunting seasons for grouse and partridge will open Saturday, Sept. 9.

State Game and Fish Department upland game biologist R.J. Gross says hunters will likely see fewer sharptails and Huns compared to last year, while ruffed grouse numbers are up from 2016.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

Gross said that hot, dry early summer weather likely reduced grouse production in many areas due to poor habitat conditions and low insect production.

“Numbers in the northeast show up a little better than other areas,” Gross said. “But yet, there will be localized areas with good chick survival in most parts of the state.”

Huns respond better to drought conditions, Gross said, and do better in dry years compared to sharptails. “Huns have generally been a bonus bird the past handful of years,” he added. “Hunters will still find pockets of decent hunting, but it may require more time in the field.”

Ruffed grouse spring drumming counts were up in the Turtle Mountains, and good numbers of broods were reported in the Pembina Hills.

Shooting hours for the upcoming season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Sharptails, ruffed grouse and Huns each have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2017-18 Small Game Hunting Guide

 

2016 grouse and partridge season opens Saturday!

North Dakota’s grouse and partridge hunting seasons open Sept. 10, and hunters can expect somewhat lower bird numbers compared to 2015.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

Aaron Robinson, upland game management supervisor for the State Game and Fish Department, said last year’s harvest results suggest a good population heading into the 2015 fall hunting season.

“Hunters were able to find birds last year, and we are hopeful that with a little hard work this trend will continue for the 2016 fall hunting season,” Robinson said.

Harvest results for the 2015 season show more than 23,000 sharp-tailed grouse hunters (up 10 percent from 2014) harvested 83,000 birds (up 15 percent), while more than 18,000 Hungarian partridge hunters (up 13 percent) bagged 59,000 Huns (up 60 percent).

Ruffed grouse are primarily found in the native aspen woodlands of Rolette, Bottineau, Pembina, Walsh, Cavalier and portions of McHenry counties. While the ruffed grouse population remains low, Robinson said the birds are in an upward cycle and with good production an improved population is expected.

Shooting hours for the upcoming season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Sharptails, ruffed grouse and Huns each have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2016-17 Small Game Hunting Guide.

Grouse and Partridge Seasons Open Sept. 10

North Dakota’s grouse and partridge hunting seasons open Sept. 10, and hunters can expect somewhat lower bird numbers compared to 2015.

photo by Ed Bry, ND Game and Fish

Aaron Robinson, upland game management supervisor for the State Game and Fish Department, said last year’s harvest results suggest a good population heading into the 2015 fall hunting season.

“Hunters were able to find birds last year, and we are hopeful that with a little hard work this trend will continue for the 2016 fall hunting season,” Robinson said.

Harvest results for the 2015 season show more than 23,000 sharp-tailed grouse hunters (up 10 percent from 2014) harvested 83,000 birds (up 15 percent), while more than 18,000 Hungarian partridge hunters (up 13 percent) bagged 59,000 Huns (up 60 percent).

Ruffed grouse are primarily found in the native aspen woodlands of Rolette, Bottineau, Pembina, Walsh, Cavalier and portions of McHenry counties. While the ruffed grouse population remains low, Robinson said the birds are in an upward cycle and with good production an improved population is expected.

Shooting hours for the upcoming season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Sharptails, ruffed grouse and Huns each have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2016-17 Small Game Hunting Guide.

grouse and partridge numbers down

Data recently tallied from July and August roadside counts indicate sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge populations are down significantly from last year.

As of Aug. 28, brood results suggest sharp-tailed grouse numbers are down 51 percent statewide from last year, with the number of broods observed down 50 percent. The average brood size is about the same as in 2012, and the age ratio is up 19 percent.

The statewide Hungarian partridge population is down 34 percent from last year, and the number of broods observed is down 31 percent.

Aaron Robinson, upland game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Dickinson, said even though spring survey numbers indicated a population comparable to last year, the telling factor is always late-summer counts.

“Fall hunting season success is directly correlated to the current year’s reproductive success – if there is a good hatch than logically there will be more birds on the landscape come fall hunting season,” Robinson said. “Spring census allows us to monitor the breeding population, which is used to track the base population trend over time.”

The season for sharp-tailed grouse, ruffed grouse and Hungarian partridge opensSept. 14. Hunters should refer to the North Dakota 2013-14 Small Game Hunting Guidefor further season information and regulations.