Tag Archives: Doug Leier

watchable wildlife photo contest

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The deadline for submitting photos to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annualWatchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Sept. 30.

The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.

Contest entries are limited to digital files submitted on disk or via email. Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.

By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine, and on the Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

Photo disks should be sent to Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest, C/O Patrick T. Isakson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095.

Send emailed digital photos to photocontest@nd.gov. Photographers will need to supply the original image if needed for publication.

Photo disks will not be returned. All entries must be accompanied by the photographer’s name, address, phone number and email address if available. Other information such as photo site location and month taken are also useful.

2014 North Dakota spring duck index

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 4.9 million birds, up 23 percent from last year and 110 percent above the long-term average (1948-2013).
Mike Szymanski, waterfowl biologist, said all species increased from their 2013 estimates, except canvasbacks (down 7.9 percent, but still 41 percent above long-term) and ruddy ducks (down 1.2 percent). Redheads (+64 percent), green-winged teal (+42 percent), blue-winged teal (+34 percent), wigeon (+33 percent) and scaup (+28 percent) showed the largest increases. Mallards and blue-wings were the most abundant ducks on the survey, combining for 48 percent of the total.
“Some of the later nesting dabbling duck species, such as blue-wings and shovelers, were just settling into breeding areas so their counts may have been biased slightly high this year, simply because of a cold spring and their migration lagging behind other birds,” Szymanski said. “Mallards, an early nesting species, were well into nesting and settled on breeding areas. Diving ducks pushed through the state well ahead of the survey, so we feel good about those numbers.”
Duck numbers during the last two decades are the highest since survey records began in 1948. Szymanski said abundant water and good nesting cover have kept breeding duck numbers high. “It’s pretty amazing to see the top 20 breeding duck indices have all come in the past 20 years,” he added. “We had Conservation Reserve Program acres on the landscape, and then water came in a big way. It’s safe to say we are still riding abundant populations stemming from near perfect conditions. It’s hard to say how they will fair in the future now that a large portion of their nesting cover has disappeared through CRP expirations.”
The spring water index increased 110 percent from 2013. The water index is based on basins with water, and does not necessarily represent the amount of water contained in wetlands or the type of wetlands represented.
“This year’s water index was strongly influenced by small ephemeral waters and an abundance of ditches with water,” Szymanski said. “Water conditions were good in most wetlands that ducks will use for brood rearing.”
Szymanski said water was more abundant in the northwest and northeast portions of the state. In addition, he said western North Dakota was wetter than average.
“Breeding conditions on the prairies can always change in a hurry,” Szymanski said. “Last year, conditions were looking OK when we conducted the survey, but there was some question as to whether it would dry out prior to brood rearing. Then several inches of rain fell and wetlands used for brood rearing improved. This year, conditions are looking better in those wetlands, but a hot and dry spell could change that.”
The loss of CRP acres was evident during the survey, Szymanski said, as large stretches of land conversion to cropland were obvious. “The loss of grass will hurt production of ducks and other grassland nesting birds,” he added. “However, the recent overly wet conditions are helping bridge the gap a little bit for ducks.”
Szymanski said having a lot of pairs present in May is a good thing. However, the July brood survey will provide a better idea of duck production and insight into expectations for this fall.

pick up the trash please!

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds outdoor recreationists who celebrate the Fourth of July along any heavily-used recreational area to keep it clean by packing out all trash, including fireworks.

 

All garbage, including used fireworks, should be placed in the proper trash receptacle. If trash cans aren’t available, or are full, take the trash and dispose of it at home.

 

It is not uncommon to see garbage piling up around trash containers after they become full. Styrofoam containers are not biodegradable, but yet are often found wedged in cattails, drifting or washed up on shore.

 

Worn tires, old mattresses and kitchen appliances have found their way to public use areas. This illegal dumping is costly to clean up and takes a significant toll on the environment. Not only does it spoil the beauty of the land, it destroys habitat, has the potential to pollute North Dakota waters and can injure wildlife.

 

Littering violations should be reported by calling the Report All Poachers telephone number at800-472-2121.

 

 

fireworks prohibited on WMAs

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that possession or use of fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

The primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.

Excessive noise and commotion that come with fireworks disturbs wildlife, and their explosive nature is a potential source of wildfires. Chances of a wildfire developing are greatly enhanced when explosives, such as fireworks, come in contact with tall grasses in rural areas.

 

A complete list of the WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

boating basics course available

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An annual tradition for many outdoor enthusiasts is to enjoy Fourth of July with family and friends at a favorite area lake. With the popular holiday less than two weeks away, boat owners are reminded that children ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft must take the state’s boating basics course.
State law requires youngsters ages 12-15 to pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor. In addition, major insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a premium discount on boat insurance.
The course is available for home-study from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites are found on the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.
While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.
Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 10 days a permanent card will be mailed.
The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.
For more information contact Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call 701-328-6300.

NDDOCR to offer archery hunt

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An experimental antlerless deer archery season will open this fall on the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation land south of Bismarck.

Interested hunters must apply for an access permit from NDDOCR at www.nd.gov/docr (under the Archery Hunt header) before receiving a license. The deadline for applying is July 1 at 4 p.m. Only 25 access permits will be issued.

A maximum of 75 antlerless deer licenses will be available from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Each access permit holder can purchase up to three antlerless white-tailed deer licenses.

Other details, including areas open to hunting, is determined by the NDDOCR. For more information, refer to the NDDOCR website.

MULEY day camp set

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program is a primary sponsor for a youth and family outdoor learning event in the Bismarck area on Saturday, July 12.

 

Put on by the Mule Deer Foundation, the MULEY Day Camp runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Moffit Gun Range. It includes rifle and archery target shooting, hunting and safety information and demonstrations.

 

All equipment is provided, along with a free lunch and door prizes for youth (age 18 and under) with parent, guardian or family present. To preregister, contact Shelle Michaels by emailshellemichaels@msn.com or call 218-779-7271. Visit www.muledeer.org for more information on the MULEY program and event details.

 

The Game and Fish Department’s Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program provides grantdollars to help local communities and organizations fund events that promote youth hunting and shooting sports. For more information, contact outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at 701-328-6332.

 

 

stocking requests increase

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North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel are gearing up to stock a record number of walleye lakes this year.
Fisheries production and development supervisor Jerry Weigel said 20 years ago approximately 50-70 waters were stocked annually with walleye fingerlings, with the number of waters growing to 100 in the early 2000s. This year, 156 waters are scheduled to receive a share of 9 million fingerlings. “The growth in walleye waters is directly correlated to the number of public fishing waters we manage,” Weigel said.
In 1988, Game and Fish managed 160 public fishing waters totaling 99,098 acres, not including the Missouri River System. Today, Weigel said the department manages 415 waters and 345,988 acres, excluding the Missouri River System.
“This has put a lot of pressure on the two federal hatcheries in the state, Garrison Dam and Valley City,” Weigel added. “We need every available pond to meet a 9 million walleye fingerling request. In the last four years we have stocked more than 38 million walleyes in the state, in addition to salmon, trout, pike, bass and panfish.”
Weigel said the flood of 2011 caused the 40 east unit hatchery ponds at Garrison to lose their water supply. In order to fill the 40 1.5-acre ponds, he said Game and Fish had to rent pumps in 2012 and 2013. The department recently completed a permanent fix at a cost of $500,000, thus eliminating the need to rent pumps in the future.
To help offset the reduced role the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has with recreational fish production in recent years, Game and Fish provides seasonal staffing at both hatcheries and pays for half the operational costs at Garrison Dam. According to Weigel, this is in addition to both collecting all the eggs each spring and transporting all fish from both hatcheries.
“There is no question the hatcheries play a vital role in the growth of the state’s fisheries and will continue to be needed to sustain this growth,” Weigel added. “The federal hatchery staff strives to operate at 100 percent efficiency, and thankfully that has been the case. Even at that, there is growing demand, thus Game and Fish has increased its assistance when possible.”

planning a summer trip?

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Visiting a NDGF WMA this summer?

If your 4th of July or summer excursions include a visit to one of North Dakota’s wildlife management area’s you should be aware of specific rules & regulations. This weeks North Dakota outdoors video visit with Jeb Williams has the rundown. Watch the video here or click this link

http://gf.nd.gov/publications/television/outdoors-online-webcast

more info on WMA’s is here

http://www.gf.nd.gov/hunting/wildlife-management-areas

have you seen?

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The June issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is out and has a great piece on the western meadowlark. It’s the state bird of North Dakota and most will acknowledge the population has shrunk in past years. Check this story and more for free in

the full June issue  available right here: or here

http://www.gf.nd.gov/magazines/june-2014