Dakota Trails - North Dakota Outdoor Sports

Game and Fish Offers Wildlife Food Plot Seed

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is offering free seed for the 2020 growing season to landowners who are interested in planting wildlife food plots for pheasants.

Private land section leader Kevin Kading said rather than a traditional corn or sunflower food plot, Game and Fish is offering a seed mix that provides increased plant diversity, including flowering plants from spring through fall, which will attract insects, the major diet component of pheasant chicks. Additionally, he said the mix will provide needed cover during spring and summer, as well as a winter food source. Other wildlife species will also benefit from this mix.

“Most Game and Fish food plots are part of the department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program,” Kading said. “This food plot campaign does not require a PLOTS contract, but we are asking participating landowners to allow reasonable public access, which could mean simply providing access permission to hunters from time to time, putting up ‘Ask Before You Enter’ signs around the area, or not posting the surrounding land.”

Kading added that landowners participating in this promotion cannot charge a fee for hunting.

The department will provide enough seed to cover up to a maximum 5-acre planting at no cost to the landowner.

Landowners who are interested in receiving the food plot seed must sign up online by March 31. Seed will be available in April at Game and Fish offices in Bismarck, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Harvey, Dickinson, Williston and Riverdale.

Game and Fish private land biologists can provide technical assistance on food plot location and site preparation.

Landowners who are interested in additional financial incentives may be considered for the PLOTS program as well. More information is available by contacting a private land biologist at any Game and Fish office in the state, or email ndgf@nd.gov.

Remove Gear from WMAs

Hunters are reminded that tree stands, blinds, steps and other personal items such as cameras, must be removed from all wildlife management areas by Jan. 31.

Items not removed by Jan. 31 are considered abandoned property and are subject to removal and confiscation by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Leave Baby Animals Alone, Watch for Deer

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department offers a simple message to well-intentioned humans who want to pick up and rescue what appear to be orphaned baby animals this time of year – don’t touch them. Whether it is a young fawn, duckling, cottontail rabbit or a songbird, it is better to just leave them alone.

 

More often than not, young animals are not abandoned or deserted, and the mother is probably nearby. Young wildlife are purposely placed into seclusion by their mothers to protect them from predators.

 

Anytime a young wild animal has human contact its chance for survival decreases significantly. It’s illegal to take wild animals home, and captive animals later returned to the wild will struggle to survive because they do not possess learned survival skills.

 

The only time a baby animal should be picked up is if it is in an unnatural situation, such as a young songbird found on a doorstep. In that case, the young bird could be moved to the closest suitable habitat.

 

Citizens should also steer clear of adult wildlife, such as deer or moose that might wander into urban areas. Crowding stresses animals, and this could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

 

In addition, motorists are reminded to watch for deer along roadways. During the next several weeks young animals are dispersing from their home ranges, and with deer more active during this time, the potential for car‑deer collisions increases.

Watchable Wildlife Tax Checkoff on State Tax Form

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.

 

The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.

 

The checkoff – whether you are receiving a refund or having to pay in – is an easy way to voluntarily contribute to sustain this long‑standing program. In addition, direct donations to the program are accepted any time of year.

 

To learn more about Watchable Wildlife program activities, visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest

The deadline for submitting entries in the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Oct. 1.

The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.

Contest entries are limited to digital files submitted via email only. Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.

By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine, on the Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, and on agency social media accounts.

Photographers can send emailed digital photos to photocontest@nd.gov, with individual photo file sizes limited to 5 MB or less. Game and Fish may contact photographers for original full resolution images if needed for publication.

All entries must be accompanied by the photographer’s name, address, phone number and email address. Other information such as photo site location and month taken are also useful.

For more information contact contest coordinator Pat Isaakson at 701-328-6300, or email ndgf@nd.gov.

Have you read? June ND Outdoors magazine

The 2018 June North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now here.

You’ll find ND Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand’s column Matters Of Opinion inside the cover. In past column’s I’ve written for this space, I’ve often encouraged people to simply get outdoors and enjoy what North Dakota offers. The plants, animals and scenic overlooks that are featured in these pages are the reasons why I’ve long cheered for readers to venture outside, no matter the time of year.

The special  North Dakota Outdoors-June 2018 Photo Edition leads off a great visual experience with a look at the evolution to digital imagery. Fifteen years ago this summer, this photo of a juvenile rooster pheasant, taken at Audubon National Wildlife Refuge, was the first native digital image to earn a space on the cover of North Dakota OUTDOORS. We say “native” because at the time slides and black-and-white prints were scanned into digital files for use in the magazine, but this photo was taken with a digital camera.

Ron Wilson Back Cast explains this edition’s special meaning to him

To say that I anticipated decades ago that I’d be in a position to help serve readers with these images of North Dakota’s outdoors 10 times a year would be a lie. To come completely clean, I didn’t anticipate a place so once unfamiliar, so alien from where my roots were initially planted, to completely become what it has.

Watchable Wildlife Checkoff on State Tax Form

 

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.

07_July final 2011

The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.

The checkoff – whether you are receiving a refund or having to pay in – is an easy way to voluntarily contribute to sustain this long‑standing program. In addition, direct donations to the program are accepted any time of year.

To learn more about Watchable Wildlife program activities, visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

Wildlife Stressed, Snowmobile Riders Stay Clear

With significant snow storms dropping record to near-record snowfall on much of the state the past several weeks, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds snowmobile enthusiasts to stay clear of wildlife and its habitat so animals do not suffer additional stress.

photo by Craig Bihrle, ND     Game and Fish

Wildlife chief Jeb Williams said North Dakota’s wildlife population has already suffered significantly this winter.

“Any undue stress makes it worse,” Williams said.

Snowmobiles cannot be used to flush, chase or pursue wildlife. Running snowmobiles near, through or around winter habitat such as thickets, cattails and wooded areas may inadvertently scare wintering wildlife, causing them additional stress or injury.

Snowmobiles can be used off an established trail while fox or coyote hunting, but chasing a coyote through cover or across an open field on a snowmobile is illegal.

Williams said Game and Fish is concerned about the state’s wildlife, especially since it is still early in winter.

“Pheasants seem to be doing okay in some areas, but no doubt suffered losses in other areas,” Williams said. “What this winter will mean in terms of pheasant hunting opportunities next fall is hard to tell. The rest of the winter will be very telling, and good nesting conditions in spring will be critical.”

Reports of dying or dead deer are not uncommon in tough winters, and this holds true this winter as well. Mostly fawns and older deer are affected by the cold and wind. In addition, heavy snow cover prevents deer from accessing their usual food sources, which can result in deer dying because of grain overload – a result of deer switching their natural diet to a diet comprised mostly of corn and/or other grains.

Observers witnessing harassment or chasing of wildlife are encouraged to call the Report All Poachers hotline at 800-472-2121.

Riders are encouraged to use snowmobile trails and avoid situations that could disturb wildlife. Information on the North Dakota trail system is available at the Snowmobile North Dakota website at snowmobilend.org.