Tag Archives: hunting

snow cover and snow geese

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North Dakota’s spring snow goose season has been open since Feb 15, but to no surprise the fact it’s open doesn’t mean there’s birds anywhere close..yet..this snow cover map is all you need to really know.

Until the snow is gone a few scattered sightings of scout flocks exploring north of the snow is all you can expect. Here’s a link to the NOAA snow cover map.

So with 40 inches of ice on the lake another weekend of ice fishing is in order. One quick passing note. The snow depth is relatively shallow so when spring arrives-and it could be soon-the snow pack may shrink in fast order. So while snow goose hunting looks and feels like a long ways off, there’s a chance in the next 2 weeks that may change.

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

 

spring snow goose migration hot line

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North Dakota spring light goose hunters can track general locations of geese as birds make their way through the state.

 

Hunters are able to call (701) 328-3697 to hear recorded information 24 hours a day. Migration reports are also posted on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Updates will be provided periodically during the week as migration events occur, until the season ends or geese have left the state.

 

North Dakota’s spring light goose season opens Feb. 15 and continues through May 18. Season information, including licensing requirements and regulations, are also available by accessing the Game and Fish website.

spring turkey deadline

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Applications for this spring’s turkey season must be in the mail and postmarked before midnight Feb. 12. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply.

 

Prospective hunters can submit a lottery application online, or print an application, at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling (800) 406-6409. Online or phone applications must be logged before midnight Feb. 12.

 

Application forms are also available at most license vendors, county auditors and Game and Fish offices.

 

The spring turkey season opens April 12 and continues through May 18.

deer management meetings

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Eight public meetings to discuss deer management in North Dakota are scheduled to begin in mid-February.

 

State Game and Fish Department officials will present an overview of current deer population and prospects for the future, and look for input on possible options for changes in the way deer licenses are allocated.

 

 

 

Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m. local time.

 

  • Feb. 17 – Devils Lake, Lake Region Community College Auditorium
  • Feb. 17 – Casselton, City Fire Hall
  • Feb. 18 – Dickinson, Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge
  • Feb. 18 – Anamoose, VFW Club
  • Feb. 24 – Tioga, Farm Festival Building
  • Feb. 24 – Fordville, Community Center
  • Feb. 25 – Bismarck, North Dakota Game and Fish Department
  • Feb. 25 – Jamestown, The Bunker

2014 spring turkey apps are out!

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The state Game and Fish Department is offering 5,880 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, a decrease of 50 from last year. The decrease is a result of poor production and chick recruitment.

Two of the 22 hunting units have slightly more spring licenses than in 2013, while 16 remain the same. Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2014 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.

Successful spring turkey applicants must purchase a 2014-15 hunting license, as last year’s 2013-14 licenses expire March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license.

Hunters may notice an increase in license fees required to hunt spring turkey, which were established and set by the 2013 state legislature. The spring turkey license increased from $8 to $15, and the general game and habitat license increased from $13 to $20. In addition, the small game license – required for hunters ages 16 and older – increased from $6 to $10. The combination license, which includes general game and habitat, small game, furbearer and fishing, increased from $32 to $50.

First-time spring turkey hunters ages 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for the regular hunting season in a specific unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season, and have never received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.

Spring turkey applicants can apply online or print out an application at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling (800) 406-6409.

Application forms will also be available by Feb. 1 at most license vendors, county auditors and Game and Fish offices. The deadline for applying is Feb. 12. Online or phone applications must be logged before midnight that day.

Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. The spring turkey season opens April 12 and continues through May 18.

special deer management meetings set

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The State Game and Fish Department has scheduled eight public meetings in February to discuss deer management in North Dakota.

Department officials will present an overview of the current deer population and prospects for the future, and look for input on possible options for changes in the way deer licenses are allocated.

“We’re all aware that the state’s whitetail and mule deer populations have declined considerably in recent years,” said Game and Fish Department wildlife chief Randy Kreil. “In 2013 we had approximately 40,000 hunters who applied for a deer gun license and didn’t get one. We’re looking at some ideas that might help get more hunters in the field if deer populations remain similar to what they are now.”

In the long term, Kreil said Game and Fish’s strategy is to build deer numbers to a point that would provide a reasonable chance for anyone who wants to hunt to be able to get some kind of license. “Right now we have a high public interest in deer hunting in North Dakota,” he said. “We’re hoping to come up with some solutions to help us maintain that.”

Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m. local time.

  • Feb. 17 – Devils Lake, Lake Region Community College Auditorium
  • Feb. 17 – Casselton, City Fire Hall
  • Feb. 18 – Dickinson, Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge
  • Feb. 18 – Anamoose, Community Center
  • Feb. 24 – Tioga, Farm Festival Building
  • Feb. 24 – Fordville, Community Center
  • Feb. 25 – Bismarck, North Dakota Game and Fish Department
  • Feb. 25 – Jamestown, The Bunker

 

2014 non-resident deer bow tags

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 172 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2014.

 

The deadline for applying is March 1. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants can apply together as a party. A separate check is required for each application.

 

The nonresident any-deer bow application is available at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. The application must be printed and sent in to the department.

 

The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation. The Game and Fish Department issued 1,150 antlered mule deer licenses in the 2013 deer gun lottery.

still time to go hunt!

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I totally understand this  weather feels closer to February than it is October or even November. And while it’s easy to convince rooster hunting on a warm autumn day the reality is North Dakota upland game seasons are open. So if you have kids, in-laws or friends visiting North Dakota over the holidays and they don’t feel at ease on the ice. There’s still hunting options available.

Start off with the license options which are purchased/printed off the Game and Fish Department website www.gf.nd.gov

14 days of non-reisdent upland game hunting is approximately $100

Next find a spot to hunt. And even short-term visitors can check out the Wildlife Managment Area’s and PLOTS guide for some options here: http://www.gf.nd.gov/hunting/private-land-open-sportsmen

Be sure to check out the full upland game hunting regulations here:

http://gf.nd.gov/regulations-hunting-fishing-etc/small-game-hunting-guide#pheasant

it’s about the habitat

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For years, North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists have stressed the importance of habitat in maintaining healthy wildlife populations in the long term.

 

At the recent round of Game and Fish advisory board meetings, that topic got a lot of emphasis, and brought to light many discussions on the “good old days” of deer and pheasant hunting that reached their peak only a half dozen years or so ago.

Since then, we’ve seen the statewide pheasant harvest fall by more than a third, and deer harvest is down by more than half.

It’s no coincidence that the Conservation Reserve Program provided a new habitat base that allowed pheasant and deer populations to build from the mid-1980s to the late 2000s. And since 2007, it’s no coincidence that pheasant and deer numbers are declining because of cutbacks in CRP acres.

Part of that is due to higher commodity prices that make farming former CRP land a more attractive financial option for landowners, than if the land was still idled under a CRP contract.

Another factor is that availability of federal dollars for CRP is not unlimited, and in the most recent signup period in spring 2013, North Dakota had many landowners who wanted to enroll in the program, but were not offered contracts.

All of this is sort of old news to North Dakota hunters who know first-hand that we don’t have nearly as many pheasants or deer as we did five years ago. We’ve also had several harsh winters over the last five years, which can cause deer and pheasant mortality even with ideal habitat conditions in places.

As I explained in my column last week, short-term feeding through winter isn’t an efficient method for trying to rebuild a wildlife population. For a day or week it might temporarily help a few animals survive longer than they otherwise would, but no matter what we do, North Dakota’s location on the globe will always hold the ultimate trump card.

Without habitat, wildlife populations have a much more difficult time rebuilding after tough winters.

In my position as a Game and Fish Department outreach biologist, a lot of people ask me, ‘If feeding isn’t the answer, then what are the options?’

If I could paint a picture, it would include needed habitat components in as natural a setting as possible. For pheasants and big game, it’s protective cover with substantial grass in the vicinity, with natural food sources within easy reach.

Such a setting is much preferred to grain or bales placed in the open where there is no shelter from the numbing winter wind.

In back yards, consider a total landscaping practice involving seed and berry producing plants and vines. An array of wildflowers will draw insects, which will in turn naturally attract song birds and other watchable wildlife during the warm months.

Perhaps there is another wildlife management philosophy, developed through research and study, that will evolve over the next several decades.

Today, however, most scientists and biologists agree that for the welfare of species as a whole, diverse habitat that includes all four elements – food, water, shelter and space – is the best recommendation given the research and knowledge we’ve got to work with.