So far we’ve not had the BIG push of birds through North Dakota. Some years by later October an Alberta Clipper cranks up and the snow, wind and freezing temps virtually begin and end the bulk of the best duck and goose hunting. Not the case so far in 2013. I’m still hearing reports of birds in Stonewall, Manitoba and snow geese down to the North Dakota Hwy. 200 corridor . I could type for hours on what may, can or could occur in the next 48-72 hours. But the fact is any reports are old by the time they hit my keyboard. That’s how rapidly things change in late October. The good news is the migration has been more influence by shortening of day’s than extreme weather conditions and should help lengthen the peak migration and hunting opportunities. Across the area some scouting should produce.
Tag Archives: hunting
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department urges deer hunters to find their license and check it for accuracy.
Every year the Game and Fish Department’s licensing section receives last-minute inquiries from hunters who can’t find their license. When that happens, it’s difficult to try to get a replacement license in time for the season opener.
Another reason to check the license now is to make sure the unit and species is what was intended.
Deer hunters in need of a replacement license can print out a duplicate (replacement) license application from the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, or can call (701) 328-6300 to have an application mailed or faxed.
The form must be completely filled out and notarized, and sent back in to the department with a fee.
As snow geese begin to make their way into the state, hunters are advised to properly identify their target as whooping cranes could potentially be in the same areas.
Whooping cranes were observed this week north of Minot near Kenmare, and recent reports indicate most of the population is still north of the Canadian border and will soon migrate through North Dakota. With Kenmare’s annual Goose Fest in progress, hunters in the vicinity of the Upper Souris and Des Lacs national wildlife refuges should be aware of the potential for whooping cranes and snow geese in the same area.
Whoopers, an endangered species, stand about five feet tall and have a wingspan of about seven feet from tip to tip. Like snow geese, 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, but are occasionally in slightly larger flocks.
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) 848-2722, or Long Lake, (701) 387-4397, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck at (701) 328-6300, or to local game wardens across the state.
North Dakota’s Sportsmen Against Hunger Program is again accepting donations of deer at select processors across the state. In addition, the program is also able to accept light goose breast meat (snow, blue and Ross’s geese) for the first time this fall.
Canada goose meat, while accepted during the early goose season, is not eligible for donation during the regular waterfowl season.
Sportsmen Against Hunger is a program administered by the North Dakota Community Action Partnership, a nonprofit agency that serves low-income families across the state. SAH raises funds to pay for processing of donated deer and geese, and coordinates distribution of ground venison and goose meat to food pantries around the state.
The State Game and Fish Department strongly supports the SAH program and encourages hunters to consider donating deer, according to agency Director Terry Steinwand. The program can accept whole deer only, which must be processed at a participating licensed meat processor.
According to NDCAP Executive Director Andrea Olson, the SAH program has sufficient funding available to process deer and geese this fall. “The meat that is generated is so appreciated by the families who receive it,” Olson said. “They are all so grateful for access to a nutritious source of protein; something that is often expensive and otherwise difficult for them to obtain.”
A list of participating processors and more information is available on the Community Action website at capnd.org.
Participating processors will not accept deer shot in the hind quarters, and donated deer will be processed individually or only with other donated deer.
Hunters can clean their light geese at home prior to delivery to a processor, but breast meat brought from home without a wing or head attached to the meat, must be accompanied by written information that includes the hunter’s name, address, signature, hunting license number, date taken and species and number taken.
Hunters may also deliver light geese directly from the field to a processor, but identification must remain attached to the bird until in possession of the processor.
Hunters interested in donating light geese are encouraged to call processors to have a clear understanding of how goose breasts will be accepted.
It just hit me after a full Friday in the field that it was Oct 19, 2009 when I received word legendary conservation communicator Tony Dean had passed away.
A phone call this morning began with deer and ended with pheasants in south central No Dak in 1983. And it was some good chatter with about as many different way’s to flush it as a cattail slough for pheasants. Just so many different possibilities, but I think you’ll appreciate some perspective. I’ll lead and follow with some thoughts.
Pheasant numbers outside(Cass, Richland, Sargent) of the main historical area(SW corner) are way down–I won’t argue that. But I’ll point out that maybe we got a little spoiled being able to find pheasants “ all over the place” Did we really think shooting a limit of roosters in Cass County was normal? North Dakota is the northern edge of pheasant habitat and north of I94 and east of the Missouri River just really get’s “iffy” in terms of having huntable numbers of pheasants for multiple years and back to back to back…so from the early 2000’s 2009 maybe our “hopes” became a bit to entrenched in a false reality? Taking this a bit further. There’s a generation of hunters who started hunting that had about 10 years of what an old-timer would call GREAT hunting. But this guy thinks it’s always been that way. More on this later.
We’ve lost a pile of CRP and PLOTS–and again I won’t argue the loss of about ½ the CRP we had in the BOOM years of 2006 is -over 3million acres and less than 2million..depending on when and how you cut it, we’ve lost ½ our CRP. But…CRP didn’t hit the ground until around 1985-1986 and it didn’t all go from 0-3million..and it took time to add in and establish. So I’ll also relay what remains..around 1.7million acres. Is still 1.7 million MORE than we had in 1983. Can’t argue that. Can we do better? Sure. Would be like to? you bet.
Our PLOTs acreage has really taken a hit–no arguement here. from over 1.1million acres down to about 750,000. It follows the flow of CRP as well. But take a step back. And do you remember 1996? That was before PLOTS existed. So we’ve got 750,000 more PLOTs acres than we had in 1996 still.
Let me wrap this up with a few more random thoughts. When I grew up in LaMoure back in the 1980s before PLOTS and before CRP I still have a vivid picture of my Dad, his friend Bob and myself with a couple rooster pheasants. Not a limit. Not a 3 man limit taken in 3 hours. But just a couple ragged roosters from the ‘edge’ of pheasant country. And we still went hunting. What’s different now is when I reference how -after around a decade of great pheasant numbers in the edge counties- that people’s view of reality changed. Those numbers were not realistically sustainable. But the numbers don’t lie. It did happen and now I fear some of these hunters might not be as satisfied as we were back in 1983–heading out chasing roosters and being excited for 3 guys’ and 3 birds. time will tell.
Wet conditions over the past two weeks have delayed the fall harvest of row crops.
With most hunting seasons open, North Dakota hunters are reminded that hunting in unharvested crops is not allowed without a landowner’s permission, including waterfowl hunters driving on land to set up decoys.
Unharvested crops include sprouted winter wheat, which is typically planted in September as a no-till crop. A sign of a seeded winter wheat field is rows of green-colored sprouting wheat, or rows of tilled ground 6-12 inches apart indicating planting has taken place. Stubble from the previous crop will still be in the field.
Besides winter wheat, other unharvested crops that hunters need landowner permission to access include more recognizable standing crops like corn, soybeans and sunflowers, in addition to alfalfa, clover and other grasses grown for seed.
The notable exceptions are crops within North Dakota Game and Fish Department PLOTS tracts, which are open to walking hunting access unless they are posted with an orange rectangular sign that states that hunting in the standing crop portion of the tract is not allowed, and standing crops on state wildlife management areas.
Fisheries biologists who questioned how a late spring and delayed ice-off would influence fish reproduction in North Dakota waters finally have a few answers.
“It looks better than we expected,” said Scott Gangl, State Game and Fish Department fisheries management section leader. “Our biologists have been seeing some pretty good numbers of young-of-the-year yellow perch in lakes statewide, signaling some good reproduction this year. This was especially true in our larger lakes that traditionally provided a perch fishery.”
Devils Lake and Stump Lake reported excellent numbers of young-of-the-year yellow perch. Reports also indicated good numbers of young walleye in the upper reaches of Lake Sakakawea, and fair to good numbers of perch on the east end of the lake.
Reproduction was poor for most fish in the Missouri River and Lake Oahe, which are still recovering from the forage losses during high water in 2011.
“We found some shad and decent numbers of white bass in Oahe,” Gangl said. “This was our second year in a row of stocking shad in Oahe, so it’s nice to see some reproduction of those alternate forages. The sport fishery will have a difficult time recovering without that forage base.”
On another note, Gangl said fisheries biologists are seeing good survival of walleye stocked around the state in North Dakota’s smaller waters.
“There were also fair numbers of young-of-the-year pike,” he said. “While we initially didn’t know what to think of the late spring, it apparently was good for fish.”
North Dakota’s waterfowl production areas will be open to hunting on the pheasant opener after all.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Friday afternoon rescinded its closure of WPAs to public access, including hunting and fishing, effective immediately.
That means the WPAs in North Dakota will be available to hunters for the state’s pheasant opener on Saturday, Oct. 12.
“The waterfowl production areas are important public lands for hunters,” said North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand. “We have been working hard all week toward the goal of having these areas back open by the pheasant opener, and we appreciate Service Director Dan Ashe’s reconsideration of their closure action.”
The WPAs and national wildlife refuges in North Dakota and other states were closed to public access on Oct. 1 as a result of the federal government shutdown. National wildlife refuges in North Dakota remain closed, however, as today’s action by the Fish and Wildlife Service only affects WPAs.