waterfowl deaths caused by avian cholera

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More than 600 waterfowl carcasses discovered at Nelson Lake in Oliver County in March are a result of avian cholera, a bacteria that is readily spread in areas where waterfowl congregate in large numbers.

Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the initial inspection on March 10 revealed the presence of primarily mallards and Canada geese, already in varying states of decay. “Based on carcass decomposition, it looked like the onset was likely weeks earlier,” Grove said.

Whole carcasses were shipped March 11 to the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., for necropsy and disease testing. The lake was surveyed a second and third time on March 11-12, when carcasses were again collected and shipped.

“Birds were tested for multiple diseases, including avian influenza, which came back negative,” Grove said. “Typically we do not see die-offs in wild birds from AI.”

A midwinter survey in early January had indicated 23,000 mallards and 30,675 geese on Nelson Lake, which serves as the outflow for the Minnkota Power Plant and has open water year-around.

Dead birds on the lake have been reported at some degree over the last several years, Grove said, with several local anglers indicating it is a frequent occurrence.

“This is one of two areas in the state with open water in winter, so waterfowl will congregate in this area,” Grove added. “Whenever large numbers are in a confined area, the chances of a disease outbreak increase.”

Grove encourages anyone seeing dead wildlife in large quantities to report it to the Game and Fish Department. “We are concerned when more than a few deaths are observed in one area within a short period of time,” he said.

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Doug Leier

guide and outfitter exam

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The next guide and outfitter written examination is May 16 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.

Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.

fish winter kill

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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.

fish winter kill

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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.

2015 North Dakota National Archery In Schools State Tournament

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Nearly 550 archers registered to compete in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament March 21-22 in Minot.

Winning back-to-back titles in the high school (grades 9-12) and middle school (grades 7-8) divisions were Hankinson and Wahpeton. Taking top honors in the elementary school (grades 4-6) division was Hankinson.

Overall male and female winners were Spencer Brockman of North Sargent and defending champion Lisa Buckhaus of Hankinson.

Winning teams and the top 10 individuals qualify for the national tournament, scheduled for May in Louisville, Ky. The Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Bowhunters Association contribute a total of $3,000 in travel assistance to the first place team in each division, and $1,000 to the overall male and female individual winners.

Qualifying for nationals in each division are:

High school boys – 1) Brockman; 2) James Nadeau, Dunseith; 3) Race Kath, Hankinson; 4) Kyle Andres, Medina; 5) Michael McKenna, North Sargent; 6) Mark McFarland, North Sargent; 7) Dalton Dockter, Medina; 8) Jonathan Goroski, Wahpeton; 9) Steve Dudas, North Sargent; 10) Brody Graff, Medina.

High school girls – 1) Buckhaus; 2) Deena Monson, Griggs County; 3) Theresia Thompson, Hankinson; 4) Kate Loewen, Hankinson; 5) Olivia Waswick, North Sargent; 6) Jada Stone, Hankinson; 7) Bridget Henderson, Edgeley; 8) Kailee Klein, Wahpeton; 9) Cassie Boelke, Wahpeton; 10) Danielle Schuler, Wilton.

Middle school boys – 1) Dawson McKeever, North Sargent; 2) Brady McKenna, North Sargent; 3) Jaden Payne, Glenburn; 4) Brayden Wehseler, North Sargent; 5) Will Peckham, Montpelier; 6) Tavon Stadler, Griggs County Central; 7) Brodie Crandall, North Sargent; 8) Ryan Kath, Hankinson; 9) Ty Wixo, Wahpeton; 10) Cole Homes, Pingree-Buchanan.

Middle school girls – 1) Jaidyn Sander, Hankinson; 2) Mary Goroski, Wahpeton; 3) Desi Parsons, Griggs County Central; 4) Kayley Ceroll, Wahpeton; 5) Alicia Biewer, Hankinson; 6) Melonie Lee, Barnes County North; 7) Kayla Hiam, Hope-Page; 8) Olivia Prochnow, Hankinson; 9) Maddie Weigum, Twin Buttes; 10) Avery Trittin, Wahpeton.

Elementary boys – 1) Casey Everson, Barnes County North; 2) Braxtyn Hamann, North Sargent; 3) Aubrey Prochnow, Hankinson; 4) Bronson Haugen, Barnes County North; 5) Adam Nitschke, Edgeley; 6) Ruston Kath, Hankinson; 7) Avery McFarland, North Sargent; 8) Howie Neustel, North Sargent; 9) Dalton Madcke, Edgeley; 10) Ethan Millner, Hankinson.

Elementary girls – 1) Maddie Foertsch, Hankinson; 2) Sheridan McKeever, North Sargent; 3) Sadie Keller, Hankinson; 4) Lorelei McIver, Glenburn; 5) Jenna Larson, Griggs County Central; 6) Jaicee Birch, St. John’s Academy; 7) Kirstan Loewen, Hankinson; 8) Tenley Evans, Hankinson; 9) Morgan Grabinger, Medina; 10) Trinity Brandenburg, Edgeley.

In addition, archers had the option of participating in a NASP 3-D Challenge, run simultaneously with the bulls-eye tournament. Nearly half the registrants participated in the event.

Top performers in the high school 3-D Challenge were Seth Jansen, Montpelier, and Buckhaus (top overall score); middle school winners were Brady Walth, North Sargent, Kath, and Ella Leidy, Wilton; and taking top honors in the elementary division were Jace Jochim, Wahpeton, and Allie Bopp, North Sargent.

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Doug Leier

2015 North Dakota National Archery In Schools State Tournament

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Nearly 550 archers registered to compete in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament March 21-22 in Minot.

Winning back-to-back titles in the high school (grades 9-12) and middle school (grades 7-8) divisions were Hankinson and Wahpeton. Taking top honors in the elementary school (grades 4-6) division was Hankinson.

Overall male and female winners were Spencer Brockman of North Sargent and defending champion Lisa Buckhaus of Hankinson.

Winning teams and the top 10 individuals qualify for the national tournament, scheduled for May in Louisville, Ky. The Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Bowhunters Association contribute a total of $3,000 in travel assistance to the first place team in each division, and $1,000 to the overall male and female individual winners.

Qualifying for nationals in each division are:

High school boys – 1) Brockman; 2) James Nadeau, Dunseith; 3) Race Kath, Hankinson; 4) Kyle Andres, Medina; 5) Michael McKenna, North Sargent; 6) Mark McFarland, North Sargent; 7) Dalton Dockter, Medina; 8) Jonathan Goroski, Wahpeton; 9) Steve Dudas, North Sargent; 10) Brody Graff, Medina.

High school girls – 1) Buckhaus; 2) Deena Monson, Griggs County; 3) Theresia Thompson, Hankinson; 4) Kate Loewen, Hankinson; 5) Olivia Waswick, North Sargent; 6) Jada Stone, Hankinson; 7) Bridget Henderson, Edgeley; 8) Kailee Klein, Wahpeton; 9) Cassie Boelke, Wahpeton; 10) Danielle Schuler, Wilton.

Middle school boys – 1) Dawson McKeever, North Sargent; 2) Brady McKenna, North Sargent; 3) Jaden Payne, Glenburn; 4) Brayden Wehseler, North Sargent; 5) Will Peckham, Montpelier; 6) Tavon Stadler, Griggs County Central; 7) Brodie Crandall, North Sargent; 8) Ryan Kath, Hankinson; 9) Ty Wixo, Wahpeton; 10) Cole Homes, Pingree-Buchanan.

Middle school girls – 1) Jaidyn Sander, Hankinson; 2) Mary Goroski, Wahpeton; 3) Desi Parsons, Griggs County Central; 4) Kayley Ceroll, Wahpeton; 5) Alicia Biewer, Hankinson; 6) Melonie Lee, Barnes County North; 7) Kayla Hiam, Hope-Page; 8) Olivia Prochnow, Hankinson; 9) Maddie Weigum, Twin Buttes; 10) Avery Trittin, Wahpeton.

Elementary boys – 1) Casey Everson, Barnes County North; 2) Braxtyn Hamann, North Sargent; 3) Aubrey Prochnow, Hankinson; 4) Bronson Haugen, Barnes County North; 5) Adam Nitschke, Edgeley; 6) Ruston Kath, Hankinson; 7) Avery McFarland, North Sargent; 8) Howie Neustel, North Sargent; 9) Dalton Madcke, Edgeley; 10) Ethan Millner, Hankinson.

Elementary girls – 1) Maddie Foertsch, Hankinson; 2) Sheridan McKeever, North Sargent; 3) Sadie Keller, Hankinson; 4) Lorelei McIver, Glenburn; 5) Jenna Larson, Griggs County Central; 6) Jaicee Birch, St. John’s Academy; 7) Kirstan Loewen, Hankinson; 8) Tenley Evans, Hankinson; 9) Morgan Grabinger, Medina; 10) Trinity Brandenburg, Edgeley.

In addition, archers had the option of participating in a NASP 3-D Challenge, run simultaneously with the bulls-eye tournament. Nearly half the registrants participated in the event.

Top performers in the high school 3-D Challenge were Seth Jansen, Montpelier, and Buckhaus (top overall score); middle school winners were Brady Walth, North Sargent, Kath, and Ella Leidy, Wilton; and taking top honors in the elementary division were Jace Jochim, Wahpeton, and Allie Bopp, North Sargent.

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Doug Leier

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. North Dakota Game and Fish fisheries development supervisor Bob Frohlich talks about boat ramp access. Click here to Watch! and click here to see full details on North Dakota boating access and information http://gf.nd.gov/boating

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Doug Leier

moose & elk deadline

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Applications for this fall’s moose and elk hunting seasons must be in the mail and postmarked before midnight March 25.

To apply online, or to print out an application to mail, access the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Applications are also available at Game and Fish offices, county auditors and license vendors.

Residents age 18 or older are reminded to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driver’s license number or a North Dakota nondriver photo identification number.

Individuals mailing applications to the department are advised to mail early because some post offices use the following day’s postmark for mail received after regular hours. The department’s online application feature will be deactivated March 25 at midnight.

Hunters who have received a license through the lottery in the past are not eligible to apply for that species again.

moose & elk deadline

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Applications for this fall’s moose and elk hunting seasons must be in the mail and postmarked before midnight March 25.

To apply online, or to print out an application to mail, access the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Applications are also available at Game and Fish offices, county auditors and license vendors.

Residents age 18 or older are reminded to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driver’s license number or a North Dakota nondriver photo identification number.

Individuals mailing applications to the department are advised to mail early because some post offices use the following day’s postmark for mail received after regular hours. The department’s online application feature will be deactivated March 25 at midnight.

Hunters who have received a license through the lottery in the past are not eligible to apply for that species again.

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 routes.