Author Archives: dougleier

this is not an official ND Game & Fish blog. This is from Doug Leier not the NDGF

2014 whooping crane migration

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Whooping cranes are in the midst of their fall 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 routes.

2014 pheasant brood numbers up 30% in North Dakota

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North Dakota’s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August indicates total birds and number of broods are up statewide from 2013.

 

Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants are up 30 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were up 37 percent, while the average brood size was down 4 percent. The final summary is based on 253 survey runs made along 106 brood routes across North Dakota.

 

“With the good spring weather for most of the nesting and early brooding period, I suspected a better production year and it looks like it did occur,” Kohn said.

 

Even though average brood size is down slightly in all districts, Kohn said the number of broods observed will in most cases offset the small decline.

 

“Late-summer roadside counts indicate pheasant hunters are going to find more pheasants in most parts of the state, with more young roosters showing up in the fall population,” Kohn said.

 

Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate total pheasants were up 22 percent and broods observed up 23 percent from 2013. Observers counted 19 broods and 154 birds per 100 survey miles. The average brood size was 5.7.

 

Results from the southeast show birds are up 2 percent from last year, and the number of broods up 16 percent. Observers counted six broods and 50 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 5.4.

 

Statistics from the northwest indicated pheasants are up 21 percent from last year, with broods up 26 percent. Observers recorded seven broods and 57 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 5.1.

 

The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat, with much of it lacking good winter cover, showed two broods and 16 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 4.2. Number of birds observed was up 126 percent, and the number of broods recorded was up 166 percent.

 

The 2014 regular pheasant season opens Oct. 11 and continues through Jan. 4, 2015. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 4-5.

 

remaining fall turkey tags

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The 2014 fall wild turkey lottery has been held and more than 1,000 licenses remain in eight units. Unsuccessful applicants who applied online will have a refund issued directly to their credit card.

Beginning Sept. 30, all remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters are allowed a maximum of 15 licenses for the fall season.

Resident and nonresident hunters will be able to apply online, or print out an application to mail, at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will also be available at license vendors.

The fall turkey season runs from Oct. 11 – Jan. 4, 2015.

Licenses remain for the following units: Unit 03, Benson and Ramsey counties and a portion of Pierce County, 34 licenses; Unit 13, Dunn County, 211; Unit 19, Grant County, Sioux County, and parts of Morton County, 24; Unit 25, McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward counties, 356; Unit 30, a portion of Morton County, 109; Unit 31, Mountrail County, 41; Unit 45, Stark County, 103; and Unit 51, Burke County and portions of Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties, 132.

remaining deer tags

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More than 700 licenses for antlerless deer are still available after the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently completed its second lottery drawing. Individual results are available online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

These remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Oct. 1. These licenses are only available to individuals who have not already received a lottery or landowner license, and are valid only during the regular deer gun season, Nov. 7-23.

Hunters can apply online starting Oct. 1, and paper applications received prior to that will also be processed Oct. 1. Residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply.

Paper applications will be available approximately Sept. 24 by visiting the department’s website, and later in the week at Game and Fish offices and county auditors. Paper applications will not be available at retail license vendor locations.

Applications hand-delivered to the department’s Bismarck office will not be processed while the applicant waits.

(B = Any Antlerless D = Antlerless Whitetail)

 

Unit Type Available
3F1 D 204
3F2 B 18
3F2 D 445
4F D 61

 

it is a state record

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A goldeye taken from Lake Audubon in July still remains a state record, even though the official weight is about a half pound less than originally reported.

Initially, the weight for the big goldeye, caught by Velva angler Brayden Selzler, was determined as 4 pounds, 12 ounces. After a follow-up investigation, North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists concluded that the fish officially weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces.

Selzler’s goldeye still broke the previous state record by 6 ounces.

2014 youth deer season

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Friday, Sept. 19 at noon signals the start of a nine-and-a-half-day deer hunting season for youth ages 12-15.

Licensed residents ages 12 and 13, and 11-year-olds who turn age 12 in 2014, are allowed to hunt statewide, but only for antlerless white-tailed deer. Resident deer gun hunters age 14 or 15, and 13-year-olds who turn age 14 in 2014, with a “youth season” license, can hunt statewide for any deer, except antlerless mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. In addition, a special license is required to hunt antlered mule deer in those same units.

After opening day, hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Solid daylight fluorescent orange vests or coats, and hats are required for all young hunters and their adult mentors.

Each youth deer hunter must be under direct supervision of an adult while in the field.

In addition to the deer license, hunters must possess a general game and habitat license and hunting certificate.

The youth deer season closes Sunday, Sept. 28.

have you seen?

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North Dakota’s hunting seasons continue rolling out and many hunters may not being taking the proper care of their guns. Jerry Gulke has some valuable advice and share his insight on this week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov.

NDGF survey coordinator Jerry Gulke talks about Gun Care.   Click here to Watch!

2014 North Dakota sandhill crane season

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North Dakota’s sandhill crane season opens Sept. 20 and continues through Nov. 16.

Limits are three daily and nine in possession in unit 1 (west of U.S. Highway 281), and two daily and six in possession in unit 2 (east of U.S. Highway 281). Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Nov. 1. Beginning Nov. 2, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.

Hunters are urged to use caution and identify birds to prevent shooting at whooping cranes as they begin their fall migration.

In addition to other licenses required, resident hunters need a $10 crane permit, while nonresidents need a $30 permit. Hunters can apply online, or print out a resident or nonresident application for mailing, at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Harvest Information Program certification is required. To get HIP certified, access the department’s website, or call 888-634-4798.

have you seen?

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The August-September issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is out and has a comprehensive fall hunting outlook. Author and and now retired Game and Fish wildlife chief Randy Kreil shares with his last official fall preview. It’s an excellent read and you’ll learn more about the prognosis and status of North Dakota’s hunting populations, plus an update on the PLOTS program, and a call for more grouse hunters to participate in the annual wing survey. Check these stories and more for free in the full August-September issue  available right here: or here

http://gf.nd.gov/gnf/publications/magazine/aug-sep-2014.pdf

2014 North Dakota youth waterfowl season

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North Dakota’s two-day youth waterfowl season is Sept. 20-21. Legally licensed resident and nonresident youth waterfowl hunters age 15 and younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers statewide.

The daily bag limit and species restrictions for the youth season are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons. Exception: the additional two blue-winged teal allowed during the first 16 days of the regular season are not allowed during the youth season.

Resident and qualifying nonresident youth waterfowl hunters must possess a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Nonresidents from states that do not provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents must purchase the entire nonresident waterfowl license package.

In addition, all youth hunters must be Harvest Information Program certified, and youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course. Hunters age 15 and younger do not need a federal duck stamp.

Hunters who purchase a license through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department can easily get HIP certified. Otherwise, hunters must call 888-634-4798, or log on to the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate.

Shooting hours for the youth waterfowl season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. An adult of at least 18 years of age must accompany the resident youth hunter into the field, and a licensed adult is required to accompany a nonresident youth hunter. The two-day weekend hunt does not count against a nonresident adult hunter’s 14-day regular season waterfowl dates.