Tag Archives: hunting

good news on mule deer numbers

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department conducted its annual spring mule deer survey in April, and results indicate western North Dakota’s mule deer population has increased 19 percent from last year.

Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor, said the increase is a result of less severe winters the past couple of years, no harvest of antlerless deer in 2012 and 2013, and improved fawn production. The 2014 index is only 7 percent below the long-term average.

“Mule deer numbers are headed in the right direction, but in order to maintain further population growth we need to maintain a conservative management approach, with no antlerless mule deer harvest again in 2014,” Stillings said.

Biologists counted 1,944 mule deer in 306.3 square miles during this year’s survey. Overall mule deer density in the badlands was 6.3 deer per square mile, which is up from 5.3 deer per square mile in 2013, and slightly below the long-term average of 6.8 deer per square mile.

“Although this year’s increase in mule deer is encouraging, there are long-term challenges facing mule deer in the badlands,” Stillings said. “While fawn production increased in 2013, it is still below average. We also have encroachment of Rocky Mountain juniper, predators, winter weather and changes in habitat quality due to fragmentation and disturbance.”

The spring mule deer index is used to assess mule deer abundance in the badlands. It is conducted after the snow has melted and before the trees begin to leaf out, providing the best conditions for aerial observation of deer. Biologists have completed aerial surveys of the same 24 study areas since the 1950s.

new license needed

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Anglers and boat owners are reminded to review their licenses for the 2014 fishing and boating season.

 

Anglers must have a 2014-15 fishing license. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. A new state law requires residents age 18 or older to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driver’s license number or a North Dakota nondriver photo identification number.

 

The 2013 state legislature established new fees for several licenses, including resident individual fishing ($16), resident husband and wife ($22) and combination ($50). The combination license includes fishing, general game and habitat, small game and furbearer.

 

Boat owners are reminded that 2014 is the first year of a new three-year registration period. The new boat registration cycle runs through Dec. 31, 2016.

 

The price to register motorboats under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, is $18, motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length $36, and motorboats at least 20 feet in length $45.

 

Renewal notices were mailed to boat owners last December. Those who did not receive a renewal notice should contact the Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6335, or emailndgf@nd.gov. Many renewals were returned because some owners who moved within the last three years did not notify the department with their new address.

 

Boat registrations can be renewed online at the department’s website, by clicking the online services link, and “watercraft registration and renewals” under the watercraft heading.

 

Also, anyone buying a new or used watercraft can register online and generate a 10-day temporary permit that is valid until the registration is processed.

 

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is self-funded and only receives revenue from license sales and federal funds.

snow goose migration update

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Update Date: April 11

As expected with the recent mild weather conditions, a major movement of snow geese is occurring in the state. Birds have been observed from the Canadian border to South Dakota. Temperatures for the weekend call for highs near 50 with lows around 30.

 

 

Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

RAP auction

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Confiscated hunting and fishing equipment will be sold Saturday, May 3 at the North Dakota Wildlife Federation’s Report All Poachers auction in Minot. The auction is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the North Dakota State Fair Center’s 4-H hall.

 

Auction items can be viewed between 12-2 p.m. Items include more than 70 rifles, shotguns and handguns; fishing equipment; bows; knives; spotlights; coolers and other miscellaneous merchandise.

 

More information, including a comprehensive list of items for auction, is available by visiting the wildlife federation’s website at ndwf.org.

 

Proceeds from the auction fund the RAP program. The RAP line, 800-472-2121, offers monetary rewards for information that leads to conviction of fish and wildlife law violators. The RAP line is available 24 hours a day, and callers can remain anonymous.

snow goose update

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Snow geese have been steadily moving into North Dakota, and the main push of the migration through the state should begin this week. Temperatures for the week are expected to be in the 60s with lows in the 30s.

 

 

Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

weekend snow goose insight

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As a former game warden, biologist and sometimes hunter since the 1999 birth of the spring hunt the best snow goose advice I can give you going into the weekend is use the snowline and your gut as a guide. I’ve put the snow line link in here, but check the date/current conditions as the air temperature will change it daily. While the massive snow/storms caught some birds off guard hunters right now in Dakota are looking for the belly of the migration and it stands to be on the South Dakota side of of the border as I type this.
Beyond that be prepared to drive and don’t forget to stop, shut off the truck and listen. You never know what you might be missing in the air and on the ground.

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

snow goose migration update

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While most of the migration appears to remain south, large numbers of snow geese could be on the move into the state this weekend with temperatures to be in the 60s on Saturday. Snow geese have been observed in North Dakota mainly in the southeastern and south central portions of the state.

 

 

Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route

Snow goose migration in spring tends to occur farther east than in the fall. Birds generally arrive in the southeastern corner of the state and spread north and northwest through the Valley City, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rugby and Kenmare areas. However, scattered flocks may be found anywhere in the state during spring.

Birds normally move through the state quickly, their arrival and stay depending on weather and availability of open water and food.

Spring snow melt progression.

Light Goose Hotline Provides Migration Updates

Migration updates available at 701-328-3697, until season ends or geese have left the state.

time is running out

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The 2014 big three applications close at midnight Dec 26! North Dakota’s 2014 bighorn sheep, elk and moose proclamation is finalized and most season information is the same as last year.

The bighorn sheep season will have five licenses available, one more than last year. Licenses in Unit B1 increased from one to two due to skewed male-female ratios caused by declining numbers of females. Unit B2, which was created to prevent overharvest of Sully Creek rams, has been immersed into B1 due to low numbers in the area. Similar to last year, collared rams may not be harvested in Unit B3. The season length has been extended to two months, and the new opening date corresponds with the peak of the rut to improve prospects of finding mature rams.

A total of 261 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, the same as in 2013. A total of 937 elk – including 701 adult cows – were taken out of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park during the National Park Service’s reduction effort from 2010-2012. In addition, an estimated 363 elk were taken by licensed hunters in E3 and E4, reducing the number of elk in the park to below 200. Therefore, the number of elk licenses in units E3 and E4 will remain the same as last year.

A total of 111 moose licenses are available in 2014, the same as last year. Hunting units M1C and M4 will remain closed due to a continued downward trend in moose numbers in the northeastern part of the state.

Online applications are available by visiting the North Dakota 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 10. The deadline for applying is March 26.

The application fee for moose, elk and bighorn sheep has increased from $3 to $5 for each species, as part of the license fee increase bill passed by the 2013 state legislature. For those who are fortunate enough to draw a license, the fee has increased from $20 to $30.

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.

ground conditions are changing

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Anglers and hunters are reminded to be wary of ground conditions when traveling to and from a favorite fishery or hunting location.

Greg Power, fisheries chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said with fishing good statewide, many anglers are taking advantage of late-season ice and early-season shore fishing.

“However, travel can be difficult this time of year with the soft conditions,” Power said. “We urge anglers to use common sense when conditions are likely to cause problems with township roads and access points.”

Wildlife chief Randy Kreil said spring snow goose and turkey hunters are encouraged to maintain positive landowner/hunter relations. “We ask hunters to be cognizant of these conditions,” Kreil said. “Driving on soft, muddy roads and trails is strongly discouraged.”

Hunters are advised to seek permission before attempting any off-road travel on private land.

landowner meetings

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department invites landowners to attend upcoming informational sessions about private land conservation program opportunities.

 

The sessions coincide with each of the eight district advisory board meetings scheduled around the state starting the week of March 31-April 4.

 

Starting at 6 p.m. before each advisory meeting, Game and Fish representatives, along with other partners, will discuss various conservation program options for producers, including what the Private Land Open to Sportsmen or PLOTS program can do for their land. Following a 15-minute presentation, biologists and other conservation partners will be available to discuss options one-on-one with landowners.

 

Advisory board meeting dates and locations are listed below. The advisory meetings start at 7 p.m. local time.

 

Landowners who are not able to attend any of the sessions but are interested in further program information can call the Game and Fish Bismarck office at 701-328-6300; or email ndgf@nd.gov.

 

 

 

District 1 

 

Date: March 31

 

Location: Montana Dakota Utilities, Williston

 

 

 

District 7 

 

Date: March 31

 

Location: Wildlife Club House, Turtle Lake   

 

 

 

District 2 

 

Date: April 1  

 

Location: Senior Citizens Center, Makoti

 

 

 

District 4 

 

Date: April 1

 

Location: American Legion Hall, Walhalla

 

 

 

District 5 

 

Date: April 7

 

Location: Auditorium, Finley

 

 

 

District 8 

 

Date: April 7

 

Location: Eagles Club, Dickinson

 

 

 

District 3 

 

Date: April 8

 

Location: Lake Region College, Devils Lake

 

 

 

District 6 

 

Date: April 8

 

Location: VFW, Valley City