Tag Archives: bighorn sheep

big three lottery has been held

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North Dakota’s moose, elk and bighorn sheep lottery results are available online at the State Game and Fish Department’s website,gf.nd.gov.

 

Applicants can find individual results by clicking “find lottery results/preference points” under the online services link.

 

Successful applicants will receive a letter the week of May 19, stating the license will be mailed after the successful applicant submits the correct license fee.

 

good news on bighorn sheep

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual bighorn sheep survey revealed a minimum of 293 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota, virtually unchanged from the previous count of 297.

In total, biologists counted 85 rams, 159 ewes and 49 lambs. Not included are 24 bighorn sheep introduced from Alberta in February, and approximately 30 bighorns in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the count in the northern badlands was the highest on record, beating the previous record set in 2012, but the southern badlands population declined 15 percent.

“Rams and lambs showed a slight decline, but adult ewes increased,” Wiedmann said. “About 75 percent of lambs counted during last summer’s survey survived the winter, which is about average, but the recruitment rate of 37 percent was above average.”

Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer, and then recount lambs the following March, as they approach one year of age, to determine recruitment.

Wiedmann is encouraged by another year of healthy numbers of lambs because it is indicative of a healthy population. “Adult mortality was also low last winter, so we expect another good crop of lambs to begin hitting the ground within a few weeks,” he said.

Game and Fish allocated five bighorn sheep hunting licenses for 2014, one more than 2013.

2013 North Dakota big three success rates

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2013 Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Elk Harvests

Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2013 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 91 percent for moose and 50 percent for elk.

The department issued three bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All four hunters harvested a bighorn ram.

The department issued 111 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 111 hunters harvested 101 animals – 85 bulls and 16 cows/calves. One additional license was raffled by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the hunter was successful in harvesting a moose. Harvest for each unit follows:

Unit

Hunters

Bulls

Cow/Calf

Success Rate

M5

5

1

4

100

M6

15

4

6

67

M8

15

14

1

100

M9

25

22

2

96

M10

51

44

3

92

 

The department issued 271 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 255 hunters harvested 127 elk – 77 bulls and 50 cows/calves. One additional license was raffled by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the hunter was successful in harvesting an elk. Harvest for each unit follows:

Unit

Hunters

Bulls

Cow/Calf

Success Rate

E1

68

11

19

44

E2

116

29

27

48

E3

47

25

3

60

E4

24

12

1

54

 

2013 bighorn sheep survey

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Even though results from this summer’s survey indicated the bighorn sheep population in western North Dakota remains steady, State Game and Fish Department biologists are concerned about a significant decline in the number of adult rams.

 

Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist in Dickinson, said the July-August survey showed a minimum of 299 bighorn sheep, unchanged from last year and only 17 percent below 2008’s record summer survey.

 

“Although the female segment of the population remained stable, we are concerned about another substantial decline in the number of rams, which was 11 percent below last year and 21 percent below the record observed in 2009,” Wiedmann said. “Annual survival of adult rams is typically very high, so we need to figure out why our ram population is continuing to decline despite reductions in hunting licenses.”

 

Survey results revealed 79 rams, 155 ewes and 65 lambs – a record 258 in the northern badlands (an increase of seven from last year’s record) and 41 in the southern badlands (down seven). “Bighorn sheep numbers increased again in the northern badlands but continue to struggle south of the Interstate,” Wiedmann said, while noting that a record 64 lambs were observed in the north, but only one in the south. “However, despite poor results in the southern badlands, the total number of lambs observed this summer surpassed the previous record of 60 in 2008.”

 

The department’s survey does not include approximately 30 bighorn sheep that inhabit the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

 

Annual bighorn sheep survey statistics are not recorded using a calendar year, but instead are done over a 12-month period beginning each April and ending the following March. Each summer, Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep, a process that takes nearly six weeks to complete as biologists locate each bighorn herd in the badlands by tracking radio-marked animals from an airplane, and then hike into each group to record demographic data using a spotting scope and binoculars. Biologists then complete the annual survey by recounting lambs in March to determine lamb recruitment, or lambs that survive the first winter.

 

North Dakota’s bighorn sheep hunting season opens Oct. 25 and continues through Nov. 7. Game and Fish issued four licenses this year, the same as in 2012.

2013 bighorn sheep numbers

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual bighorn sheep survey revealed a minimum of 297 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota. The 2012 count was second highest on record and 5 percent above last year’s survey.

In total, biologists counted 87 rams, 156 ewes and a record 54 lambs. Not included are approximately 30 bighorn sheep in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the northern badlands population was the highest on record, but the southern badlands herds declined slightly.

“Although adult rams and ewes were virtually unchanged from 2011, we were very pleased to see a record number of lambs recruited into the population, as well as a record recruitment rate of 38 percent,” Wiedmann said. “Nearly all of the lambs we counted during last summer’s survey survived the winter.”

Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep in late summer and then recount lambs the following March to determine recruitment.

A bumper crop of lambs is indicative of a healthy population, so Wiedmann is encouraged with the results of this year’s survey. However, Wiedmann added that this year’s healthy lamb numbers likely won’t be reflected in increased hunting licenses for several years, as the total number of rams remains much lower than it was in 2008, and the current age structure of rams is also much younger than what Game and Fish biologists would like to see.

“Consequently, we’ll likely have to continue to be conservative with hunting pressure for a few years, but the future certainly looks promising,” Wiedmann said. “Adult mortality was also low last winter, so we expect another good crop of lambs to begin hitting the ground within a couple of weeks.”

Game and Fish has issued four bighorn sheep licenses for 2013, the same as 2012.

it’s a record!

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North Dakota’s 2013 bighorn sheep auction license sold for a record $75,000 at the March 23 Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation annual meeting in Bloomington, Minn. The previous high of $50,000 was set in 2007.

In addition, a 5 percent conservation fee for all auction licenses generated an additional $3,750 from the sale of North Dakota’s license.

North Dakota’s auction license allows the winning bidder the rare privilege of pursuing a North Dakota bighorn on a self-guided hunt.

One hundred percent of the auction license proceeds are used to enhance bighorn sheep management in North Dakota. Since 1986, more than $1 million has been raised for wild sheep conservation through the sale of the license.

deadline is hours away for moose-elk-bighorn sheep

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North Dakota’s 2013 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation is finalized and applications are available at the State Game and Fish Department’s website. The deadline for applying is March 27.

A total of 111 moose licenses are available in 2013, 32 fewer than last year.

Randy Kreil, Game and Fish Department wildlife chief, said a downward population trend in the northeastern portion of the state is of great concern. “Unit M1C will remain closed,” Kreil said, “and in addition, unit M4, which encompasses the Turtle Mountains, is also closed this year.”

In 2012, unit M4 had only seven moose licenses, Kreil added, with only two moose harvested.

Game and Fish is also making a couple of other changes designed to bolster the moose population. All licenses this year are for “any moose,” while in previous years some were specific to antlerless moose. “We think that the ‘any’ tags will protect the cow segment of the population,” Kreil said, “as records indicate most hunters choose to fill their ‘any’ tags with a bull rather than a cow.”

The moose season in units M8, M9 and M10 will open a week later than in previous years to avoid the peak of the rut. Data collected over the last year indicates a number of unbred cows were documented in those units, Kreil said, and opening the season a week later in October may improve breeding success by reducing disturbance during the peak of the mating season.

A total of 261 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, 40 fewer than last year.

The number of elk licenses in units E3 and E4 is reduced by 40 due to the successful population reduction effort by the National Park Service in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s south unit. A total of 937 elk – 701 adult cows – were taken out of the park by the reduction effort, and an additional 363 elk were taken by licensed hunters in E3 and E4 during the last three hunting seasons. Based on a recent elk survey, the estimated number of elk in the park is below 200, Kreil said.

On the positive side, elk unit E1 has been expanded to include parts of the Turtle Mountains, due to a growing elk population largely attributed to animals migrating in from Canada.

The bighorn sheep season will have four licenses available, the same as last year. One license is available in units B1/B2, B3 and B4. In addition, one license is auctioned through the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation. The bighorn sheep hunter drawing the license in units B1/B2 is eligible to hunt both units.

To apply online, access the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available on the website (for printing) and at license vendors the week of March 11.

Bighorn sheep, moose and elk lottery licenses are issued as once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota. Hunters who have received a license through the lottery in the past are not eligible to apply for that species again.

the BIG three seasons are set!

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Moose, Elk and Bighorn Sheep Seasons Set

North Dakota’s 2013 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation is finalized and applications are available at the State Game and Fish Department’s website. The deadline for applying is March 27.

A total of 111 moose licenses are available in 2013, 32 fewer than last year.

Randy Kreil, Game and Fish Department wildlife chief, said a downward population trend in the northeastern portion of the state is of great concern. “Unit M1C will remain closed,” Kreil said, “and in addition, unit M4, which encompasses the Turtle Mountains, is also closed this year.”

In 2012, unit M4 had only seven moose licenses, Kreil added, with only two moose harvested.

Game and Fish is also making a couple of other changes designed to bolster the moose population. All licenses this year are for “any moose,” while in previous years some were specific to antlerless moose. “We think that the ‘any’ tags will protect the cow segment of the population,” Kreil said, “as records indicate most hunters choose to fill their ‘any’ tags with a bull rather than a cow.”

The moose season in units M8, M9 and M10 will open a week later than in previous years to avoid the peak of the rut. Data collected over the last year indicates a number of unbred cows were documented in those units, Kreil said, and opening the season a week later in October may improve breeding success by reducing disturbance during the peak of the mating season.

A total of 261 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, 40 fewer than last year.

The number of elk licenses in units E3 and E4 is reduced by 40 due to the successful population reduction effort by the National Park Service in Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s south unit. A total of 937 elk – 701 adult cows – were taken out of the park by the reduction effort, and an additional 363 elk were taken by licensed hunters in E3 and E4 during the last three hunting seasons. Based on a recent elk survey, the estimated number of elk in the park is below 200, Kreil said.

On the positive side, elk unit E1 has been expanded to include parts of the Turtle Mountains, due to a growing elk population largely attributed to animals migrating in from Canada.

The bighorn sheep season will have four licenses available, the same as last year. One license is available in units B1/B2, B3 and B4. In addition, one license is auctioned through the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation. The bighorn sheep hunter drawing the license in units B1/B2 is eligible to hunt both units.

To apply online, access the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available on the website (for printing) and at license vendors the week of March 11.

Bighorn sheep, moose and elk lottery licenses are issued as once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota. Hunters who have received a license through the lottery in the past are not eligible to apply for that species again.

2012 moose, elk, bighorn sheep harvest success

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2012 Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Elk Harvests

Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2012 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 93 percent for moose and 62 percent for elk.

The department issued three bighorn sheep lottery licenses and one auction license. All four hunters harvested a bighorn ram.

The department issued 143 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 139 hunters harvested 129 animals – 80 bulls and 49 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:

Unit

Hunters

Bulls

Cow/Calf

Success Rate

M4

6

0

2

33

M5

5

4

1

100

M6

14

5

8

93

M8

15

15

0

100

M9

30

15

13

93

M10

69

41

25

96

 

The department issued 315 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 302 hunters harvested 188 elk – 101 bulls and 85 cows/calves. One additional license was auctioned by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the hunter was unsuccessful in harvesting an elk. Harvest for each unit follows:

Unit

Hunters

Bulls

Cow/Calf

Success Rate

E1

67

14

31

69

E2

123

34

44

63

E3

73

37

3

56

E4

38

16

7

61

 

good news on bighorn sheep

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While many of the state’s western big game populations remain at low population levels, bighorn sheep numbers are strong, according to Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Dickinson.

A July-August survey in western North Dakota showed a minimum 299 bighorn sheep, a slight increase from last year and just 17 below 2008’s record summer survey. “Our bighorn sheep population remained stable following three epic winters, so we’re pleased to see an increase subsequent to last winter’s mild conditions,” Wiedmann said.

The current population includes a good number of young rams, Wiedmann added, which should lead to increased hunting opportunity in future years as these animals start reaching maturity. In 2012, Game and Fish reduced the number of sheep licenses from six to four, due to a declining number of mature rams.

Survey results revealed 89 rams, 155 ewes and 55 lambs – a record 251 in the northern badlands (an increase of 18 from last year) and 48 in the southern badlands (down nine). “Bighorn sheep are doing very well in the northern badlands but continue to struggle south of the Interstate,” Wiedmann said, while noting that a record 51 lambs were observed in the north, but only four in the south. “Despite poor lamb numbers in the southern badlands, the total number of lambs observed this summer was just shy of the record count in 2008,” Wiedmann said. Biologists suspect that chronically low lamb survival and declining numbers throughout the southern herds persists due to pathogens introduced from domestic goats in the late 1990s that resulted in an extensive die-off of bighorn sheep.

The department’s survey does not include approximately 30 bighorn sheep that inhabit the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Annual bighorn sheep survey statistics are not recorded using a calendar year, but instead are done over a 12-month period beginning each April and ending the following March. Each summer, Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep, a process that takes nearly six weeks to complete as biologists locate each bighorn herd in the badlands by tracking radio-marked animals from an airplane, and then hike into each band in order to record composition data using a spotting scope and binoculars. Biologists then complete the annual survey by recounting lambs in March to determine lamb recruitment.

North Dakota’s bighorn sheep hunting season opens Oct. 26 and continues through Nov. 8.