With nearly 60,000 deer hunters taking the field I’m always interested to see if the number of mountain lions sighted/taken spikes during the 16 ½ day deer season. Across the badlands, fields, sloughs and shelter belts there will be a spike in hunter activity. Just by share odds the chance of finding and taking a mountain lion increases. As it stands as last check the quota zone of the badlands has had 3 mountain lions taken. The early season quota is 14. The total is updated here: http://gf.nd.gov/news/mountain-lion-zone-1-early-season-quota-3-14
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Hanson Named to Advisory Board, Leiseth and Christoferson Reappointed
Governor Jack Dalrymple has appointed Duane Hanson of West Fargo to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s advisory board.
The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.
Hanson is a financial advisor, West Fargo city commissioner, and avid hunter and angler, and fills the expiring term of Loran Palmer, Wahpeton, in District 5, which includes Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill counties.
In addition, the governor recently reappointed District 1 advisory board member Jason Leiseth, Arnegard; and District 6 advisory board member Joel Christoferson, Litchville, to another term.
Four members of the advisory board must be farmers or ranchers and four must be hunters/anglers. Appointments are for a term of four years. No member can serve longer than two terms.
Advisory board members host two public meetings, held each spring and fall, to provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.
CWD Surveillance Continues
The State Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2013 hunting season, by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis from 13 units in North Dakota. In addition, all moose and elk harvested in the state are eligible for testing.
Samples from hunter-harvested deer taken in the eastern portion of the state will be tested from units 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F1, 2F2, 2G, 2G1, 2G2 and 2L. In addition, deer will be tested from unit 3F2 in the southwest.
Every head sampled must have either the deer tag attached, or a new tag can be filled out with the license number, deer hunting unit and date harvested.
Hunters are encouraged to drop off deer heads at the following locations:
- · Aneta – Aneta Meats Service
- · Bottineau – Mattern Family Meats
- · Cando – K&E Meats
- · Carrington – Barton Meats
- · Casselton – Casselton Cold Storage
- · Devils Lake – Game and Fish Department
- · Dunseith – Wayne’s Food Pride
- · Edgeley – Edgeley Meat Processing Plant
- · Enderlin – Maple Valley Lockers
- · Fargo – J&K Taxidermy, Jer’s Wildlife Taxidermy
- · Fordville – Dakota Prairie Wildlife Club
- · Grand Forks – Bob’s Oil, Ted’s Taxidermy
- · Great Bend – Manock Meats
- · Gwinner – Stoppleworth Taxidermy
- · Jamestown – Game and Fish Department, Real Look Taxidermy
- · LaMoure – LaMoure Lockers
- · Langdon – Hickory Hut
- · Larimore – Glenn’s EZ Stop
- · Milnor – Milnor Locker
- · New Rockford – Risovi Taxidermy
- · Oakes – Butcher Block
- · Park River – Jim’s Super Value Inc.
- · Reynolds – Weber’s Meats
- · Rolette – The Meat Shack
- · Sheyenne – Brenno Meats
- · Valley City – Valley Meat Supply
- · Wahpeton – J&R Taxidermy, Auto Value Parts Store
- · Walhalla – Walhalla Co-op
- · Wyndmere – Bridgemart Meats LLC
Drop off locations for deer taken from unit 3F2:
- · Bismarck – Game and Fish Department, Call of the Wild Taxidermy, M&M Sausage and Meats, West Dakota Meats
- · Elgin – Gunny’s Bait and Tackle, Melvin’s Taxidermy
- · Glen Ullin – Kuntz’s Butcher Shop
- · Hettinger – Dakota Packing
- · Mandan – Butcher Block Meats
- · New Leipzig – Hertz Hardware
Moose and elk heads should be taken to a Game and Fish office.
CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.
Baiting of Big Game Prohibited in Five Deer Units
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters that hunting over bait is prohibited in deer units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.
Hunting over bait is defined as the placement and/or use of bait(s) for attracting big game and other wildlife to a specific location for the purpose of hunting. Baits include but are not limited to grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay or any other natural or manufactured foods. The designation does not apply to the use of scents and lures, water, food plots, standing crops or livestock feeds used in standard practices.
In addition to the units where hunting over bait is no longer allowed on either private or public land, hunting over bait is also not allowed on most other public land through the state, including state wildlife management areas; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas; U.S. Forest Service national grasslands; and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.
Carcass Transportation Requirement in Deer Unit 3F2
Hunters harvesting a big game animal this fall in North Dakota deer unit 3F2 cannot transport a carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit unless it’s taken directly to a meat processor.
The head can be removed from the carcass and transported outside of the unit if it is to be submitted to a State Game and Fish Department district office, CWD surveillance drop-off location or a licensed taxidermist.
If the deer is processed in the field to boned meat, and the hunter wants to leave the head in the field, the head must be legally tagged and the hunter must be able to return to or give the exact location of the head if requested for verification.
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 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.
1 cat taken so far in the quota zone for the 2013 North Dakota mountain lion season. More details here:
Even though results from this summer’s survey indicated the bighorn sheep population in western North Dakota remains steady, State Game and Fish Department biologists are concerned about a significant decline in the number of adult rams.
Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist in Dickinson, said the July-August survey showed a minimum of 299 bighorn sheep, unchanged from last year and only 17 percent below 2008’s record summer survey.
“Although the female segment of the population remained stable, we are concerned about another substantial decline in the number of rams, which was 11 percent below last year and 21 percent below the record observed in 2009,” Wiedmann said. “Annual survival of adult rams is typically very high, so we need to figure out why our ram population is continuing to decline despite reductions in hunting licenses.”
Survey results revealed 79 rams, 155 ewes and 65 lambs – a record 258 in the northern badlands (an increase of seven from last year’s record) and 41 in the southern badlands (down seven). “Bighorn sheep numbers increased again in the northern badlands but continue to struggle south of the Interstate,” Wiedmann said, while noting that a record 64 lambs were observed in the north, but only one in the south. “However, despite poor results in the southern badlands, the total number of lambs observed this summer surpassed the previous record of 60 in 2008.”
The department’s survey does not include approximately 30 bighorn sheep that inhabit the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Annual bighorn sheep survey statistics are not recorded using a calendar year, but instead are done over a 12-month period beginning each April and ending the following March. Each summer, Game and Fish Department biologists count and classify all bighorn sheep, a process that takes nearly six weeks to complete as biologists locate each bighorn herd in the badlands by tracking radio-marked animals from an airplane, and then hike into each group to record demographic data using a spotting scope and binoculars. Biologists then complete the annual survey by recounting lambs in March to determine lamb recruitment, or lambs that survive the first winter.
North Dakota’s bighorn sheep hunting season opens Oct. 25 and continues through Nov. 7. Game and Fish issued four licenses this year, the same as in 2012.
The 2013 fall wild turkey lottery has been held and more than 930 licenses remain in seven units. Unsuccessful applicants who applied online will have a refund issued directly to their credit card.
Beginning Sept. 27, all remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters are allowed a maximum of 15 licenses for the fall season.
Resident and nonresident hunters will be able to apply online, or print out an application to mail, at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will also be available at license vendors.
The fall turkey season runs from Oct. 12 – Jan. 5, 2014.
Licenses remain for the following units: Unit 03, Benson and Ramsey counties and a portion of Pierce County, 40 licenses; Unit 13, Dunn County, 181; Unit 25, McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward counties, 335; Unit 30, a portion of Morton County, 92; Unit 31, Mountrail County, 35; Unit 45, Stark County, 97; and Unit 51, Burke County and portions of Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties, 153.
North Dakota’s second deer lottery has been held and individual results are available on the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
While slightly more than 1,000 antlerless deer licenses were still available after the second lottery, all of them are in units 3F1, 3F2 and 4F in the southwestern part of the state, where Game and Fish is receiving ongoing reports of white-tailed deer mortality caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease.
As such, Game and Fish administration has decided to not issue those remaining licenses. “The decision is based on previous years’ experience where moderate to significant white-tailed deer losses were documented in situations similar to this year,” said wildlife chief Randy Kreil.
In addition, Kreil said the likelihood of an extended fall, and possible continuation of EHD losses was also a factor in the decision. “While we first received reports of isolated deer deaths in August, loss of deer to this disease appears to have extended into September, and depending on the weather, may continue into October,” Kreil added, noting that the area of reported white-tailed deer deaths to EHD covers Bowman to Bismarck.
In 2011, deer deaths from EHD occurred well into October, and prompted Game and Fish to offer refunds to license holders in several southwestern units. Kreil said it’s too early to tell whether this year’s EHD episode is significant enough to warrant a similar action, and the agency will wait until after opening weekend of pheasant season to determine whether refunds would be an option. “In the past,” Kreil added, “it has been helpful to gauge the scope and intensity of an EHD situation when there are thousands of hunters in the field in EHD areas, who might observe dead deer along waterways.”
EHD, a naturally occurring virus that is spread by a biting midge, is almost always fatal to infected white-tailed deer, while mule deer do not usually die from the disease. Hunters do not have to worry about handling or consuming meat from infected deer because the virus that causes EHD is not known to cause disease in humans. In addition, the first hard freeze typically kills the midge that carries and transfers the EHD virus which will slow or halt the spread of the disease.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department advises hunters to be cautious with their dogs around water this time of year, due to potential health hazards associated with blue-green algae.
Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the Game and Fish Department, said late summer and early fall offer prime conditions for blue-green algae growth in many state waters. Ingestion by a hunting dog while perhaps retrieving a bird during the early goose season, or just practicing retrieving, can lead to severe illness and potential death.
“Conditions are right this year for stagnant water to become contaminated, especially with all of the rainfall that has occurred,” Grove said.
Potentially toxic algae blooms occur under conditions of hot, dry weather. Shallow, stagnant water with moderate to high nutrient content provides an optimum environment for algal growth. Water or wind movements often concentrate the algae, and eventually the bloom appears as a blue-green “scum” floating on the water’s surface. The threat disappears once the weather turns colder.
“Hunting dogs shouldn’t drink or swim in discolored water or where algal blooms are apparent,” Grove said. “If dogs retrieve in these conditions, they should be rinsed off immediately and shouldn’t be allowed to lick their coat.”
For additional information about the effects of blue-green algae blooms on hunting dogs, contact the Animal Health Division, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, at (701) 328-2655; or a local veterinarian.
North Dakota’s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August indicates total birds, number of broods and average brood size are all down statewide from 2012.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants are down 30 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were down 29 percent, and the average brood size was down 10 percent. The final summary is based on 253 survey runs made along 101 brood routes across North Dakota.
“Poor production this spring resulted in fewer young birds added to the population and a lower fall population in all areas of the state,” Kohn said.
Noteworthy factors cited for the decrease in brood numbers, according to Kohn, were continued land use changes in the prime pheasant range, including removal of Conservation Reserve Program acres, grasslands converted to croplands and small grain fields converted to row crops; and continuous wet spring weather.
“Earlier this summer we thought it was possible that nesting season was delayed enough to avoid an influence from the cold, wet spring,” Kohn said, “but it now appears that wasn’t the case.”
Kohn said even though statistics reveal bird numbers are down statewide, there willstill be local areas with good pheasant populations.
Statistics from southwestern North Dakota indicate the number of birds observed was down 25 percent from 2012, and the number of broods was down 22 percent. Observers counted 15 broods and 126 birds per 100 survey miles. The average brood size was 5.8.
Results from the southeast show birds are down 43 percent from last year, and the number of broods down 42 percent. Observers counted five broods and 49 birds per 100 miles. The average brood size was 5.9.
Statistics from the northwest indicated pheasants are down 39 percent from last year, with broods down 32 percent. Observers recorded six broods and 48 birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 5.5.
The northeast district, generally containing secondary pheasant habitat with much of it lacking good winter cover, showed one brood and seven birds per 100 miles. Average brood size was 4.7. Number of birds observed was down 35 percent, and the number of broods recorded was down 33 percent.
The 2013 regular pheasant season opens Oct. 12 and continues through Jan. 5, 2014. The two-day youth pheasant hunting weekend, when legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger can hunt statewide, is set for Oct. 5-6.