Monthly Archives: June 2009

eating a record

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"It tasted just as good as a little bass"

The catch-and-release purists might want to take a seat for this one…

On May 14, a Douglas angler caught a largemouth bass from a 50-acre Jeff Davis County farm pond that pulled a set of hand-held digital scales to 18-lbs., 8-ozs. If certified scales had taken that weight, there would be a new No. 2 bass for the Georgia record books. Sadly, we’ll never know.

full story here from Georgia Outdoor News


walleye tagging

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The final year of a three-year project is underway at Devils Lake as North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel recently tagged 1,000 walleye.

A total of 3,000 walleye were tagged for the project, which allows biologists to gather information on walleye movements, total fish mortality between years, angling mortality rates and differences in mortality rates between sexes.

This year’s tags are blue – while last year’s were yellow and in 2007 orange – and are attached by wire to the top of the fish. The tag does not need to be sent in, just the information: tag number, kept or released, date caught, length, location and angler’s name and address.

Anglers catching a tagged fish are encouraged to report it online at the Game and Fish Department website, Also, tag return cards can be filled out at bait shops around the lake, or anglers can bring in the information or call the Devils Lake Game and Fish office at 662-3617.

A follow-up letter will be sent to the angler with information such as when and where the fish was tagged, and fish length at the time it was tagged.


gobble gobble

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fall turkey season is set

Fall Turkey Season Set, Online Applications Available by June 12

North Dakota’s fall turkey season is set with 6,805 licenses available to hunters, according to Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department.

This year’s figure is down 17 percent from last year. However, an additional 1,300 licenses may be used in specific hunting units if turkey reproduction is exceptionally good this spring.

Harvest and population data in 2008 from hunting units in the southwest indicate turkey numbers have decreased due to last year’s poor production and chick recruitment. In addition, Kohn said aggressive hunting seasons since 2003 have started to stabilize turkey numbers in many units.

“These lower turkey numbers are actually what we have been trying to achieve, allowing for more landowner tolerance of turkeys yet providing hunting licenses for most applicants,” Kohn said.

Last winter’s above average snowfall combined with this spring’s rain is a benefit because of the improved habitat conditions in much of the state, Kohn said. “And if weather conditions remain warm and dry during the nesting and early brooding period, better production and increased brood survival can be expected this summer in many parts of the state,” he added.

Another change from last year is the number of hunting units. Since 2003, the state has been divided into 29 turkey units. This year, several smaller units in the eastern part of the state are combined into larger units, reducing the total number of units to 22 for this fall.

“This will allow hunters more area within a unit to pursue birds, and provides the department with a larger area to collect additional population data for better management options,” Kohn said.

An experimental hunting season will be reinstated for the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan. A maximum of 30 licenses will be available. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department once a person first obtains a permit from USDA-ARS.

An experimental turkey bow hunting season will continue within the city of Bismarck to help control a growing population of birds in residential areas. A maximum of 25 licenses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals who are licensed to bow hunt deer within the city. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department in Bismarck once a person has a valid city archery permit.

Hunting units 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) and 53 (Divide and Williams counties) will remain closed to fall turkey hunting in 2009 because of low turkey numbers.

The fall wild turkey season extends from Oct. 10 through Jan. 10, 2010.

Prospective hunters, including gratis applicants, can apply online, or print out an application to mail, by June 12 at the state Game and Fish Department’s website, Lottery applications will be available in mid-June from Game and Fish Department offices, county auditors and license vendors.

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.

Applications for the fall season must be postmarked no later than July 1. 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.


North Dakota State record Buffalo

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Caught or shot…it’s a new record either way. Joshua Bartz’s catch on May 30 is the first entry on North Dakota’s list of state record fish since 2007. The Bismarck angler arrowed a 51-pound, 4-ounce buffalo from the Missouri River near Fox Island in Bismarck.

The 44-inch fish shattered the old record of 40 pounds, 6 ounces taken by Trey Opp of Mandan in 2007 at Heart Butte Reservoir (Lake Tschida).


weekend Outdoors Live

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This weekend on Outdoors Live we’ll bring you Annette Schilling from Medora with in depth look at all there is to do outdoors in the Medora area this summer. It’s not just the musical and golfing, there is birding and hiking and more. Craig Bjur from Fargo Park District sets the calendar with ATV safety training, hunter education and the upcoming trout fest. Bob All that and a Central Dakota Outdoors report from Pat Stockdill on Saturday at 9PM and Sunday morning at 7-8:30AM
Listen live on AM 790
podcast at
facebook: doug leier


podcast from Joel Heitkamp show

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Here’s a link this past Friday podcast from the Joel Heitkamp show. You can click this link to listen at Outdoors Live
But don’t forget to listen each Friday at 10:35
550 KFYR,AM 790 KFGO,and AM 910 KCJB.
subscribe on itunes


Dorgan calls for common sense in elk issue

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(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) called on the U.S. Interior Secretary for help finding a common-sense solution to the issue of elk management at Theodore Roosevelt National Park – and secured support for a common-sense solution not only from the Interior Secretary, but also from the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Interior Department.

Dorgan brought up the issue of the elk herd, which is growing too large and threatening to damage its habitat, at a Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee hearing today. He told Secretary Ken Salazar that the National Park Service originally considered using professional sharpshooters and helicopters to kill the elk and remove the carcasses.

Dorgan told Secretary Salazar that the National Park Service has mishandled the decision-making process for an issue that would “take you and me about 10 minutes to come to a conclusion on.”

“Can you help us get to a conclusion that just allows the federal government to get the elk herd thinned without spending federal money, and allows qualified hunters to come in and take the meat home?” Dorgan said.

Secretary Salazar replied that he would work with Dorgan to find a “common sense” solution to the issue. Dorgan said he would continue to push for a solution that allows qualified hunters to volunteer to thin the herd and take the meat home.

After the discussion between Dorgan and Secretary Salazar, Interior Appropriations Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also signaled support for a common-sense solution that would save taxpayer money by making use of volunteer hunters and allowing them to keep the meat.

“Why shouldn’t hunters be able to do some hunting on a regulated basis and take home the meat?” Feinstein said.


why buy bait?

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I’m a big fan of getting your own bait and there’s several different urban, in-town methods of providing your own fishing bait. There are all types of worms, but the following tips will help you get a bunch of them for fishing:

– Know where to look. Earthworms and larger "nightcrawlers" are found in rich soft soil. Smaller ringed manure worms are found in farm manure, around stables and barnyards. Worms are seldom found in hard or sandy soils.

– Look for worms after a rain. Worms come to the surface then. You can also easily pick them up early in the morning. Check on driveways, sidewalks and under rocks.

– Try at night in the spring or fall, and use a red plastic covering over your flashlight. Worms won’t see the red light. You can easily pick them up as they move on the surface.

– If it hasn’t rained for a while, try looking under old boards, bricks, logs or debris where the soil is still moist. Grab the worm as soon as you pick up the board, since they immediately try to go down a hole.

– Piles of compost, farm manure, leaves or mulch are also good spots to search for manure worms. Use a garden rake to sort through these piles to find worms.

– Once you have worms, keep them in a large container filled with soft earth or compost. An ideal way to keep a dozen or more worms is in a large coffee can. Use a can opener to remove both ends, and then use the snap-on plastic lids (you will need two) to hold the worms. Since worms tend to go deep, simply turn over the can and open the top lid to get worms when fishing.

– You can keep worms for weeks or longer in a large container of soft soil, mulch, compost or similar natural debris. Feed them with coffee grounds and vegetable scraps. Maintain a "worm bed" with a wood box from which they can’t escape, sunk in the ground and covered with a tight lid. Keep worms cool, covered and slightly moist and you will have worms any time you want to fish.

Crickets and Grasshoppers

Try the following methods to get these active insects and good bait.

– Look for grasshoppers early in the morning on summer days, where they can be picked off of weed stems before the sun warms them.

– You can find grasshoppers in fields and gardens from mid-spring through late-fall. Crickets are found around sheds, homes, fences, garages, sidewalks, under stones, or anyplace that has nooks and crannies where a cricket can hide. To keep them from escaping, be careful to surprise them with a cupped hand as soon as you see them.

– You can trap crickets by placing a slice of stale bread in a hidden location and checking it daily to catch and trap crickets. Try also putting bread in a jar placed on its side. Keep the lid next to the jar to trap crickets when you check it.

– Hold an old sheet as you and your kids run through a field to trap fleeing and flying insects, including grasshoppers.

– Store crickets or grasshoppers in a lidded coffee can. Be careful – they can and will try to jump out. To keep them alive, punch holes in the lid so that they can breath.

– To keep crickets and grasshoppers for weeks, feed them a few vegetable scraps, moistened to provide water.


no more paintball

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As a hunter and user of wildlife management area’s I’m glad to see some of these practices like paintball removed from accepted use. 

North Dakota Game and Fish Department regulations governing public use of the state’s wildlife management areas have been amended effective immediately. The change involves tree stands, paintballing and geocaching.

Scott Peterson, wildlife resource section supervisor, said the Game and Fish Department periodically reviews public use regulations and modifies as needed. “We present the proposed changes to the public to gather input, and the state legislature’s administrative rules committee grants final approval,” Peterson said.

The deadline to remove tree stands from WMAs has been extended three weeks to Jan. 31. Peterson said extending the archery season has allowed archers to hunt WMAs later into January than in previous years. “This left very little time for archers to remove tree stands,” Peterson said. “We thought it was prudent to give hunters more time to remove tree stands.”

In addition, tree stands left unattended on WMAs require an identification tag displaying the owner’s name, address and telephone number. “The reason for this is two-fold,” Peterson said. “First, it allows us to contact the owner of a tree stand if a conflict should arise, and second, we believe this will deter theft of tree stands on public land.”

Paintball and geocaching activities on WMAs are now prohibited. “While these types of activities may not always create a significant impact to an individual WMA, they do create a considerable amount of unnecessary disturbance to both wildlife and wildlife habitat,” Peterson said. “They also have the potential to create competition with hunters and anglers who help pay for managing WMAs.”

A complete list of the WMA regulations is available by contacting the Game and Fish Department at (701) 328-6300, or email WMA use regulations are also available on the Game and Fish website at

some good news on the disease front

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from swing flu, bird flu, West Nile, there seems to be disease issues making waves on a regular cycle, but here’s some good news:

Samples taken from North Dakota deer, elk and moose during the 2008 hunting season have tested negative for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Last fall, samples for CWD testing were taken from nearly 2,300 deer (with 1,600 taken from the targeted area of the central third of the state), 53 elk and 24 moose.

“In addition to our CWD surveillance, we started routine bovine TB surveillance in the northeast, and random sampling throughout the state,” Grove said. “Altogether, 850 deer, moose and elk tested negative for bovine TB.”

Since January approximately 160 moose and deer that died or were showing clinical signs of disease were sampled for CWD and TB as part of the Game and Fish Department’s year-around targeted surveillance. To date, all animals have tested negative for CWD, and bovine TB test results are still pending.

“As always, the success of our surveillance program could not be accomplished without the cooperative efforts of hunters, meat processors, taxidermists and local establishments,” Grove said.

The Game and Fish Department’s three-year cycle of sampling the entire state for CWD will conclude this fall by testing deer from the western third of the state. Grove said a new cycle will begin in 2010 in the eastern third of the state. “We will also continue to test animals in northeastern North Dakota for TB until it has been eradicated from the adjacent Minnesota herd,” Grove added, “and will continue to sample suspect or high risk cases of CWD and TB throughout the year.”

Since 2002, more than 12,300 North Dakota deer, nearly 360 elk and 60 moose have tested negative for CWD. To date, CWD and TB have not been diagnosed in wild or farmed cervids in North Dakota, although these diseases have been found in surrounding states and provinces.


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