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2014 pheasant brood numbers up 30% in North Dakota

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North Dakota’s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August indicates total birds and number of broods are up statewide from 2013.

 

Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants are up 30 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were up 37 percent, while the average brood size was down 4 percent. The final summary is based on 253 survey runs made along 106 brood routes across North Dakota.

 

“With the good spring weather for most of the nesting and early brooding period, I suspected a better production year and it looks like it did occur,” Kohn said.

 

Even though average brood size is down slightly in all districts, Kohn said the number of broods observed will in most cases offset the small decline.

 

“Late-summer roadside counts indicate pheasant hunters are going to find more pheasants in most parts of the state, with more young roosters showing up in the fall population,” Kohn said.

 

Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate total pheasants were up 22 percent and broods observed up 23 percent from 2013. Observers counted 19 broods and 154 birds per 100 survey miles. The average brood size was 5.7.

 

Results from the southeast show birds are up 2 percent from last year, and the number of broods up 16 percent. Observers counted six broods and 50 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 5.4.

 

Statistics from the northwest indicated pheasants are up 21 percent from last year, with broods up 26 percent. Observers recorded seven broods and 57 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 5.1.

 

The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat, with much of it lacking good winter cover, showed two broods and 16 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 4.2. Number of birds observed was up 126 percent, and the number of broods recorded was up 166 percent.

 

The 2014 regular pheasant season opens Oct. 11 and continues through Jan. 4, 2015. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 4-5.

 

Sept 3 fall turkey application deadline

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North Dakota’s fall turkey season is set with 3,805 licenses available to hunters, 215 fewer than last year.

Prospective hunters, including gratis applicants, can apply online, or print out an application to mail, at the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available by Aug. 22 from Game and Fish offices, county auditors and license vendors. The deadline for applying is Sept. 3.

Applications are also accepted at the department’s toll-free licensing line, 800-406-6409. A service fee is added for license applications made over the phone.

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply in the first lottery. Nonresidents can apply for fall turkey licenses that are still available following the first lottery.

An experimental hunting season will continue for the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan. A maximum of 30 licenses will be available. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department once a person first obtains a permit from USDA-ARS.

An experimental turkey bow hunting season will continue within the city of Bismarck to help control a growing population of birds in residential areas. A maximum of 25 licenses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals who are licensed to bow hunt deer within the city. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department in Bismarck once a person has a valid city archery permit.

A maximum of 75 turkey licenses are available for a concurrent experimental bow season on the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation land south of Bismarck. Licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department after a person receives an access permit from NDDOCR.

A maximum of 45 turkey licenses will be issued for a concurrent experimental bow season for the city of Fargo and specific surrounding areas. Licenses will be distributed to those licensed to bow hunt deer within the city limits of Fargo, and will be available at the Game and Fish headquarters in Bismarck after a person has received a valid city archery permit.

Hunting units 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) and 53 (Divide and Williams counties) will remain closed to fall turkey hunting in 2014 because of low turkey numbers.

The fall wild turkey season extends from Oct. 11 through Jan. 4, 2015.

record fishing license sales in North Dakota

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The number of anglers buying fishing licenses in North Dakota continues to increase, as 2013-14 is the second consecutive year a new record for license sales has been established.

 

Statistics compiled by the Game and Fish Department revealed more than 219,000 fishing licenses were sold last year, an increase of 1,000 from 2012-13. A record total of 160,100 resident and 59,300 nonresident fishing licenses were sold last year.

 

In terms of actual individuals participating in fishing, the past year was again record-setting with more than 203,000 active anglers. Ice fishing activity experienced a substantial increase, while open water angler days took a slight dip.

 

A record number of fishing lakes (many at all-time elevations) and aggressive fish management in North Dakota have helped produce record fishing license sales.

 

Lake Sakakawea, Devils Lake and Lake Oahe/Missouri River remained the top three fisheries in the state.

deer lottery held

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Deer Lottery Held, Antlerless Licenses Remain

 

North Dakota’s deer gun lottery has been held and individual results are available online at the State Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.

 

More than 2,300 antlerless deer gun licenses remain. Only resident applicants who were unsuccessful in the first lottery can apply for remaining licenses.

 

The first lottery application process – deer gun, muzzleloader, youth and landowner – had more than 94,000 applicants, and 46,000 were unsuccessful.

 

An option for unsuccessful applicants to apply online for remaining licenses will be available Aug. 6. Paper applications for remaining licenses will be mailed to individuals Aug. 11. The deadline for applying is Sept. 3.

 

 

 

Remaining Deer Gun Licenses

 

(B = Any Antlerless   D = Antlerless Whitetail)

 

Unit Type Available
3D1 D 34
3E1 D 175
3E2 B 64
3E2 D 361
3F1 B 120
3F1 D 320
3F2 B 380
3F2 D 687
4F D 176

2014 North Dakota early Canada goose season

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North Dakota’s early Canada goose season is set, and bag limits and licensing requirements are the same as last year.

 

The season will open Aug. 15 and continue through Sept. 15, except in the Missouri River Zone where the season ends Sept. 7. The early Canada goose season has a limit of 15 daily and 45 in possession.

 

Limits and shooting hours for the early season are different from the regular season. Shooting hours during the early season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

 

Residents need a $5 early Canada goose license and a general game and habitat license. Also, residents age 16 and older need a small game license. Nonresidents need only a $50 early Canada goose license, and the license is valid statewide without counting against the 14-day regular season license.

 

A federal duck stamp for hunters age 16 and older, and Harvest Information Program certification, is required beginning Sept. 1.

 

Hunters may notice an increase in license fees, which were established and set by the 2013 state legislature. The general game and habitat license increased to $20, the small game license is $10, and the combination license, which includes general game and habitat, small game, furbearer and fishing, increased to $50.

 

Hunters who purchase a license through the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website atgf.nd.gov, or instant licensing telephone number 800-406-6409, can easily get HIP certified. Otherwise, hunters can call 888-634-4798 and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who registered to hunt the spring light goose season in North Dakota do not have to register with HIP again, as it is required only once per year.

 

Waterfowl rest areas, closed to hunting during the regular season, are open during the early season. Most land in these rest areas is private, so hunters may need permission to hunt.

 

The early hunting season is intended to reduce local Canada goose numbers. Despite liberalized regulations the past several years, with longer seasons, large bag limits and expanded shooting hours the statewide population remains high, with numbers well above population goals.

 

For additional information and regulations, hunters should refer to the Game and Fish Department website.

9 year old breaks goldeye record

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Youth angler Brayden Selzler’s catch on July 25 shattered a state record for goldeye that’s been in the books for 16 years.

 

The 9-year-old Velva angler reeled in a 4-pound, 12-ounce goldeye from Lake Audubon.

 

The previous record of 3 pounds, 13 ounces was established in 1998 by Craig Unser, a Mandan angler who was fishing New John’s Lake.

2014 North Dakota pronghorn season

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North Dakota will have a limited pronghorn hunting season this fall for the first time since 2009.

 

Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said the season is open only in unit 4-A, the far southwestern corner of the state. A total of 250 any-pronghorn licenses are available, and the season is split into an early “bow-only” portion, and a later gun/bow season.

 

The bow-only portion of the season is from Aug. 29 (noon) – Sept. 28. Anyone who draws a license can hunt pronghorn with a bow, only in Unit 4-A, during this period.

 

From Oct. 3 (noon) – Oct.19, hunters who still have a valid license can use legal firearms or bow equipment.

 

“We are opening the hunting season in unit 4-A to take advantage of a surplus number of bucks in that area, and to provide hunting opportunity while still encouraging population growth,” Kreil said. “While we aren’t issuing any statewide pronghorn archery licenses this year as we did in the past, hunters who do draw a license can use a rifle, bow or both, depending on their preferences.”

 

Game and Fish biologists surveyed more than 11,000 square miles, 100 percent of the 21 survey units in the state, in early July. Statistics indicate a statewide population estimate of 5,700 pronghorn, with 1,650 in the area open to hunting.

 

“The number of pronghorn observed in Unit 4-A falls within our regional population objective of having a limited season, while all other units do not,” Kreil said.

 

In addition, unit 4-A has a high buck-to-doe ratio, Kreil said, which is typical of a population that has not been hunted. The fawn-to-doe ratio is also the highest since 2007.

 

“While some people may have expected more units to be open, we need to proceed conservatively with this valuable wildlife resource and let pronghorns rebound to a level that can sustain harvest. The good news is that we are poised to see additional units open next year, providing Mother Nature cooperates with a moderate winter,” Kreil said.

 

Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply for a 2014 pronghorn license. Kreil said people who have accumulated preference points and choose not to apply this year will not lose their points.

 

In addition, state law allows youth who turn age 12 on or before December 31, 2014 to apply for a license.

 

Online applications for regular and gratis licenses will be available the week of July 21 at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will also be available from Game and Fish offices, county auditors and license vendors, or by calling 800-406-6409.

 

The pronghorn license fee is $30, and the deadline for submitting applications is Aug. 6.

spring pheasant crow counts

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North Dakota’s spring pheasant population index is up slightly from last year, according to the State Game and Fish Department’s 2014 spring crowing count survey.
 
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor, said the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was up about 6 percent statewide from 2013, with increases ranging from about 2 to 9 percent depending on the region.
 
While the spring number is a positive indicator, Kohn said it does not predict what North Dakota’s fall population will look like. Brood surveys, which begin in mid-July and are completed by September, provide a much better estimate of summer pheasant production and what hunters might expect for a fall pheasant population.
 
Last year, the fall population was down from 2012 because of rather poor production, but Kohn said low winter pheasant mortality, particularly in the southern one-third of the state, helped boost this year’s spring count.
 
Another positive is that abundant moisture has provided for good habitat conditions heading into the prime nesting period. However, Kohn noted that since 2008, North Dakota has lost more than 2 million acres of Conservation Reserve Program grasslands, much of it in the pheasant range. That means total nesting habitat in the state is significantly reduced from where it was when the spring crowing count index peaked in 2008.
 
The 2014 index is down about one-third from that peak. “Loss of CRP acres continue to reduce the amount of nesting and brood-rearing habitat on the landscape,” Kohn emphasized. “This and other grassland conversion is going to negatively affect our pheasant population in the future.”
 
Pheasant crowing counts are conducted each spring throughout North Dakota. Observers drive specified 20-mile routes, stopping at predetermined intervals, and counting the number of pheasant roosters heard crowing over a two-minute period during the stop.
 
The number of pheasant crows heard is compared to previous years’ data, providing a trend summary.

paddlefish snagging season closing

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced today that the state’s 2014 regular paddlefish snagging season will close at 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Sunday, May 18, to protect the population level of the fish. However, snaggers are reminded that Sunday is a snag-and-release only day.

 

 

 

The 2014-16 fishing proclamation allows for the Game and Fish director to close the snagging season early if it appears more than 1,000 paddlefish will be harvested. Fisheries chief Greg Power said it’s been another successful year. “The unique thing is that half the harvest was large, presumably old females,” Power said. “Relatively high water levels perhaps contributed to the harvest of so many females.”

 

 

 

An additional four-day snag-and-release season will begin Monday, May 19 and run through Thursday, May 22. Paddlefish snaggers with an unused paddlefish tag can continue snagging during the additional snag-and-release season, but must release all fish immediately. Snaggers who already used their tag on a harvested paddlefish are not allowed to participate in the additional snag-and-release period.

 

 

 

Beginning Monday, snag-and-release is legal only in that area of the Missouri River starting on the north shore from the Confluence boat ramp then east (downstream) one-half mile, and that area of the Missouri River starting on the south shore from the Confluence with the Yellowstone River then east (downstream) one-half mile (both areas will have boundary signs).

 

 

 

Paddlefish snagging is allowed only from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CDT) during each day of the additional four-day season. The use or possession of a gaff on snag-and-release days is illegal.

Advisory Board meetings rescheduled

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s advisory board meetings scheduled for tonight and tomorrow in Williston, Turtle Lake and Walhalla have been postponed due to inclement weatherand travel difficulties. The meeting scheduled for tomorrow in Makoti will take place as planned.

 

The meeting in Turtle Lake is rescheduled for Monday, April 14. Reschedule dates for the Williston and Walhalla meetings are pending.

 

The complete list of spring advisory board meetings is available by visiting the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov.

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