active bald eagle nests

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While there are likely 125 more active bald eagle nests in the state than 15 years ago, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department continues to monitor this bird that once flirted with extinction.

Sandra Johnson, Game and Fish conservation biologist, said the department is looking for locations of nests with eagles present, not individual eagle sightings.

Johnson said eagles are actively incubating eggs in March and April, and it’s easy to distinguish an eagle nest because of its enormous size.

“While bald eagles were removed from the Endangered Species List in 2007, it’s still important to keep an ongoing list of nesting birds to make sure they are not heading back the way they came,” Johnson said.

Historically, Johnson said eagle nests were found along the Missouri River. Now, they have been observed in more than half of the counties in the state, mostly near streams and mid- to large-sized lakes. However, they are also found in unique areas such as shelterbelts surrounded by cropland or pasture.

Johnson estimates the state has around 140-150 active bald eagle nests.

Nest observations should be reported to Johnson at ndgf.

Observers are asked to not disturb the nest, and to stay away at a safe distance. “It is important not to approach the nest as foot traffic may disturb the bird, likely causing the eagle to leave her eggs unattended,” Johnson said.

whooping crane migration

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As snow geese continue to make their way through the state, hunters are advised to properly identify their target as whooping cranes could potentially be in the same areas.

Whooping cranes are also in the midst of their spring migration and sightings will increase as they make their way through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.

Whoopers stand about five feet tall and have a wingspan of about seven feet from tip to tip. They are bright white with black wing tips, which are visible only when the wings are outspread. In flight they extend their long necks straight forward, while their long, slender legs extend out behind the tail. Whooping cranes typically migrate singly, or in groups of 2-3 birds, and may be associated with sandhill cranes.

Other white birds such as snow geese, swans and egrets are often mistaken for whooping cranes. The most common misidentification is pelicans, because their wingspan is similar and they tuck their pouch in flight, leaving a silhouette similar to a crane when viewed from below.

Anyone sighting whoopers should not disturb them, but record the date, time, location, and the birds’ activity. Observers should also look closely for and report colored bands which may occur on one or both legs. Whooping cranes have been marked with colored leg bands to help determine their identity.

Whooping crane sightings should be reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office at Lostwood, 701-848-2466, or Long Lake, 701-387-4397, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, 701-328-6300, or to local game wardens across the state. Reports help biologists locate important whooping crane habitat areas, monitor marked birds, determine survival and population numbers, and identify times and migration route

have you seen?

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This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov. This is the third of our annual fishing reports. District fisheries supervisors Fred Ryckman and Todd Caspers give overviews of the fishing prospects in the northwest fishing district and the Red River. Click here to Watch! For complete access to North Dakota fishing information visit the Game and Fish website’s fishing portal right here!

anglers asked to report winterkill

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North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists are asking anglers for help in documenting lakes that may have experienced winter fish mortality.

Fisheries management section leader Scott Gangl said some winterkill is expected every year, with the severity depending on winter weather. With this year’s conditions, he doesn’t anticipate major widespread fish kills.

“Statewide, water quality was good due to the relatively mild winter and lack of snow cover,” Gangl said. “However, some local lakes may have had poor conditions which could lead to winterkill. Anglers can help by notifying us of any lakes where they encounter dead fish.”

Biologists will begin sampling suspected winterkill lakes later this spring once fish spawning operations are completed to document the severity of any die-offs.

Anglers should report fish mortality in any North Dakota water by contacting the Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck, or the local Game and Fish district office.

youth grant deadline

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Wildlife, shooting, fraternal and nonprofit civil organizations are urged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a State Game and Fish Department grant program developed to assist recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.

The maximum grant allowed is $3,000. The program currently helps fund approximately 40 club and organizational events and projects, with an average grant of $1,550.

Grant funds help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.

Past funding has enabled several groups to conduct youth pheasant and waterfowl hunts, while others have sponsored trap and other shooting events, including archery and rifle shooting.

Any club or organization interested in conducting a youth hunting or shooting event can get more information, including a grant application, from the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or by contacting outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at 701-328-6332.

The deadline to apply for a 2015 grant is April 19.

2015 paddlefish snagging season

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North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1, and the season is scheduled to continue through the end of May. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.

Paddlefish tags are available over-the-counter-only in Bismarck at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s main office; in Williston at the Williams County auditor’s office, Scenic Sports and Wal-Mart; and in Dickinson at Runnings Farm and Fleet.

Snaggers should be aware that mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be tagged immediately.

All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by9 p.m. of each snagging day. The use or possession of a gaff hook within one-half mile in either direction of the Highway 200 bridge on the Yellowstone River is illegal at any time during the snagging season.

Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Those planning to participate during snag-and-release-only days need to have in their possession a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag. Use or possession of gaffs is prohibited on snag-and-release-only days, and, if it occurs, during the snag-and-release extension period.

Legal snagging hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. One tag per snagger will be issued. Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and in the area of the Missouri River lying west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing (river mile 1,577) downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area (river mile 1,565).

If the season closes early because the harvest quota is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to four days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 31. Only snaggers with a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag are eligible to participate. Only a limited area at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers is open to this extended season snagging opportunity.

All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license and certificate that may be required. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.

Addresses and phone numbers of vendors selling tags:

Bismarck Game and Fish Office

100 N. Bismarck Expressway

Bismarck, ND 58501

701-328-6300

Williams County

Williams County Auditor

PO Box 2047

Williston, ND 58802

701-577-4500

Scenic Sports

1201 East Broadway

Williston, ND 58801

701-572-8696

Wal-Mart, Inc.

4001 2nd Avenue West

Williston, ND 58801

701-572-8550

Runnings Farm and Fleet

2003 3rd Avenue West

Dickinson, ND 58601

701-483-1226

2015 North Dakota spring turkey season

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The 2015 spring turkey season in North Dakota is open from Saturday April 11 and continues through May 17. Full details on the season are right here!

2015 North Dakota turkey season

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The 2015 spring turkey season in North Dakota is open from Saturday April 11 and continues through May 17. Full details on the season are right here!
or here http://gf.nd.gov/hunting/smallupland/turkey

have you seen?

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This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov. This is the second of our annual fishing reports. District fisheries supervisors Jeff Hendrickson and Jason Lee give overviews of the fishing prospects in the north central and southwest fishing districts. For complete access to Game and Fish fishing information visit the website here and then

Click here to Watch!

have you read?

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The March-April issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is the special fishing issue. It’s highlighted by a statewide overview by Fisheries Division Chief Greg Power. A detailed look at last years stocking and this years fishing and boating access are also featured. Check these stories and more for free in the full March-April issue available right here: or here

http://gf.nd.gov/publications