Monthly Archives: January 2012

a little more caution…yes..on the ice

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Seems like everyday there’s a new concern in/on/around the ice. Today is no different.

Early ice fishing reports from many areas of the state have been promising.  However, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department advises winter anglers to be cautious when moving or removing permanent fish houses and travelling on state lakes.

Robert Timian, chief game warden, said an unseasonably mild winter has caused some ice houses to already break through the ice. “Record breaking high temperatures and strong winds this winter have resulted in inconsistent ice conditions in much of the state,” Timian said. “Anglers should assess the need to move their respective ice houses. If ice conditions on a lake deteriorate, they should check the weather forecast and consider removing their house.”

While snow and colder temperatures are yet to come, those conditions might come too late to help form solid ice for any length of time. “When we get into late February, warm weather and longer daylight will deteriorate ice conditions, causing shorelines that are already thin to weaken,” Timian said. “Therefore, we suggest anglers be aware of these unique winter conditions and be prepared to move, or even remove their ice houses.”

Whether the ice house is removed now or in two months, Timian advises anglers to do so before the ice begins to thaw. “Fish houses can become frozen into the ice under these conditions, causing some anglers to only take parts of the house that are easily retrievable,” he added. “This is unacceptable. The owner has a legal responsibility to remove the entire house and its contents.”

Permanent fish houses must be off the ice by midnight, March 15. Portable fish houses may be used after March 15 if they are removed daily

Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Amendment to help conserve North Dakota’s natural resources

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BISMARCK– A coalition has filed a constitutional initiated measure petition with the North Dakota Secretary of State that would establish dedicated funding for water, land and wildlife conservation in North Dakota.


“North Dakota is at a pivotal moment.  With the state’s rapid development, we have the opportunity now to invest in maintaining our clean water, our unique natural lands and our outdoors heritage,” said, Steve Adair, sponsoring committee chairperson.  “This fund will conserve these resources while they are still intact and help improve natural flood control through the restoration and protection of natural areas along rivers, lakes and streams.”

The constitutional amendment will establish a Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage Fund that will receive five percent of the total revenues generated from taxes collected from the production and extraction of oil and gas.  Supporters estimate the fund could generate $50 million annually, based on current state oil production and price projections.

“This measure will provide meaningful conservation tools and programs that will protect and restore habitat throughout North Dakota,” said coalition member Peggy Ladner.

Coalition partners stressed the Clean Water, Lands and Outdoor Heritage fund will not adversely affect other programs currently funded through oil tax revenue.  The measure will establish a nine-member citizen board to oversee the distribution of the fund.  Any state agency, local government entity, tribal government or non-profit corporation is eligible to submit a grant application for funding. The measure also calls for all project funds to be only spent in North Dakota to benefit North Dakota’s natural resources. The purposes for the fund include protecting water quality, improving flood control, and conserving habitat for wildlife and people.

“We see the fund creating incentives for farmers, ranchers and other landowners to conserve grass and wetlands, which will help keep water clean and natural areas intact,” Ladner said.

“We North Dakotans tend to take our quality of life for granted – our clean water, open spaces, and abundant wildlife,” said Keith Trego, sponsoring committee member.  “The things that we grew up with are not going to be here unless we take action.”

Trego pointed to the loss of Conservation Reserve Program and native prairie acres across the state. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 145,000 acres of North Dakota native prairie were converted to cropland between 2002 and 2007. North Dakota has lost about 1 million acres of CRP, and another 1.2 million acres are scheduled to expire by the end of 2012.

Once the Secretary of State approves the ballot measure wording, the coalition must gather 26,904 qualified signatures before August 8, 2012, in order for the measure to be placed on the November 6, 2012, general election ballot.

Ducks Unlimited report

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Growers take advantage of prevent plant and dry fall

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota farmers responded to some unique opportunities this past fall to increase their winter wheat acres. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service this morning reported acreage in North Dakota was up by 75 percent to 700,000 acres.

“Growers were likely most influenced by the record number of prevent plant acres they experienced this year and several other factors that were favorable for planting winter wheat,” said Blake Vander Vorst, Ducks Unlimited senior agronomist. “When the weather finally turned dry in late summer, some of the fields dried out and the timing was right for planting winter wheat.”

Producers were also encouraged to plant more acres because of the crop’s benefits of workload spreading, higher yields and profitability. Winter wheat also helps growers to build their overall crop insurance proven yield for wheat. Federal crop insurance considers hard red spring wheat and winter wheat as one crop for crop insurance purposes in North Dakota and in some South Dakota counties.

The response of winter wheat variety trials to Stratego and Prosaro fungicide reflects the above average seasonal moisture in 2011 and the season-long disease pressure. Yields increased by an average of 25 percent for the fungicide-treated winter wheat in variety trials conducted at twelve locations in the Dakotas. South Dakota farmers decreased winter wheat seeded acreage by 18 percent, Montana’s acres decreased by 2 percent and Minnesota’s increased by 67 percent.

NASS yield data for North Dakota for the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011 reports winter wheat had a 19 percent yield advantage over spring wheat and a 1 percent to 30 percent yield advantage on any given year. Growers who work with DU commonly indicate a 20 percent to 30 percent increase over spring wheat and up to a 50 percent increase in years that are drier and warmer than normal.

About Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action
With a shared vision of sustaining cereals agriculture, Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action is a unique collaboration between Ducks Unlimited, Bayer CropScience, regional universities and Winfield Solutions. It embraces ongoing improvement of agriculture productivity through research and development in the Prairie Pothole Region, while improving the habitat important to North America’s waterfowl and other wildlife.
For more information on WCSIA, visit

hunter safety classes

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Now, not in June or September is the time to find and take a class for the 2012 season.

Individuals interested in taking a hunter education class in 2012 should know that most courses are offered early in the calendar year.

To register for a hunter education course, students need to sign up online at the Game and Fish Department’s website, Many classes will be added over the next several weeks, and the rest will be added throughout the year as they are finalized.

To register, click on the online services tab, and “online course enrollment” under the hunter education heading. 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.

If circumstances dictate the registrant cannot attend the course, it is important to access the website to delete the enrollment. This will allow others to enroll because space is limited. In addition, an individual cannot register for another course until the initial registration is deleted.

In addition to enrolling for classes, the website also provides a free hunter education study guide and a tree stand safety course. Students are encouraged to use these resources to study course material.

Those who do not have access to the Internet and want to sign up for a class can call the hunter education program in Bismarck at (701) 328-6615.

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, and children can take the class at age 11.

snow shoeing, skiing & sled dogging for the ladies

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has openings for one-day winter workshops Jan. 26-27 at Cross Ranch State Park, Center, and Feb. 24, 25 and 26 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are offered at Cross Ranch.

Snowshoeing and tracking, winter survival and cross-country skiing are available at Lake Metigoshe. The dog sledding class is full.

Women interested in the workshops are encouraged to register online at the Game and Fish website, Those interested should sign up immediately, as each class is limited to 12 participants. The cost is $50. Sign up for a class on two days and receive a $15 discount. Preregistration with payment is required. Equipment and snacks will be provided.

An information and registration form is available for download by accessing the Department’s education/outreach link, or by contacting Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095; (701) 328-6312; or email

here’s to 2012

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I’d venture to say with the floods, blizzards, flizzards of 2011 few people are sad to see 2011 fade. So far for wildlife we’re setting up for a better 2012 in terms of winter’s impact on deer, pheasants, antelope and people as well. But there’s no guarantee. I think we all are a bit hesitant to sigh even while looking at the next 5-10 outlook (it’s good..if you don’t like cold or snow). Personally winter for me ends March 1, so I’m on the countdown towards 59 day’s until spring 2012 arrives. By this time last year most critters were already stressed with many utilizing fat reserves needed for the March and April final sprint t spring. Even humble North Dakotan’s shouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge that winter of 2011-2012…is…so far so good.

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