Tag Archives: North Dakota

a little deserved recognition

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North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand recently honored a number of employees with performance-based awards. Steinwand presented the following awards at the department’s annual staff meeting Dec. 12.

 

Gene Van Eeckhout, Jamestown, and Brian Prince, Devils Lake, received the Special Projects award, given to an individual who implemented a successful new project.

 

Van Eeckhout was recognized for his 38-year efforts at Spiritwood Lake, including assessing grass carp and zander introductions, keeping common carp out, and water quality projects. “There isn’t just one project on Spiritwood Lake that has received Gene’s attention, but rather he’s spent a career working on a multitude of fish management issues,” Steinwand said.

 

Prince was recognized for his work in enhancing public land opportunities in the northeast. “In the last 10 years, this district has added 16 new wildlife management areas and expanded eight existing WMAs,” Steinwand said. “The amount of additions has been above expectations, and this is a direct result of Brian’s efforts.”

 

Melissa Long, Bismarck, received the Solid Foundation award, presented to an employee who demonstrates exemplary work in their field. Long was recognized for her dedication to her job. “Melissa is dependable, a quick learner and dedicated to getting the job done,” Steinwand said. “Whenever something is asked of her, we can count on it being right.”

 

Nancy Boldt, Bismarck, received the Public Outreach award, presented to an employee for showing a significant effort, ability or accomplishment in interacting with the public while promoting the Department’s programs. Boldt was recognized for her efforts in developing and coordinating the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program. “This program wouldn’t be possible without the work and guidance of Nancy,” Steinwand said. “She’s reached thousands of women in North Dakota, and they’ve been able to experience outdoor and hunting or fishing activities in an environment where instructors provide skills to women who may have otherwise not been afforded this opportunity.”

 

 

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.

ND Wildlife Officer of the Year

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Courtney Sprenger, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Elgin, is the state’s 2013 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Sprenger was honored recently by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

 

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Sprenger’s district contains a variety of wildlife and recreational areas, which presents many challenges.

 

“Warden Sprenger has taken a great interest in boating safety and the Missouri River Task Force, spending countless hours ensuring the safety of the boaters on the river and in her district,” Timian said. “She has a great interest in hunter and trapper education, is well respected by the public she serves, and her dedication and professionalism ensures the department’s goal of protecting the future of the outdoor resources of North Dakota.”

ND Game & Fish employee of the year

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Bruce Kreft, conservation biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the Department’s annual meeting Dec. 12 in Bismarck.

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Kreft is the consummate professional and always represents the department with honor and dignity. “Bruce doesn’t require direction or fanfare, and brings a great attitude to work every day,” Steinwand said.

Kreft was mentioned for his involvement with the Red River diversion project, Minot flood control, Missouri River dredging and stabilization, wetland drainage, wildlife crossings and water withdrawals from lakes and reservoirs. “Preserving or mitigating fish and wildlife habitat while working on these projects is daunting, but Bruce attacks them with passion,” Steinwand said.

visiting North Dakota? 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

Game and Fish honors employees

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Bruce Kreft Named Game and Fish Employee of the Year

 

- Courtney Sprenger Named Wildlife Officer of the Year

 

- Game and Fish Recognizes Employee Efforts

 

- Upcoming Events

 

- Game and Fish Media

 

 

 

Bruce Kreft Named Game and Fish Employee of the Year

 

Bruce Kreft, conservation biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the Department’s annual meeting Dec. 12 in Bismarck.

 

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Kreft is the consummate professional and always represents the department with honor and dignity. “Bruce doesn’t require direction or fanfare, and brings a great attitude to work every day,” Steinwand said.

 

Kreft was mentioned for his involvement with the Red River diversion project, Minot flood control, Missouri River dredging and stabilization, wetland drainage, wildlife crossings and water withdrawals from lakes and reservoirs. “Preserving or mitigating fish and wildlife habitat while working on these projects is daunting, but Bruce attacks them with passion,” Steinwand said.

 

 

 

Courtney Sprenger Named Wildlife Officer of the Year

 

Courtney Sprenger, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Elgin, is the state’s 2013 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Sprenger was honored recently by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

 

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Sprenger’s district contains a variety of wildlife and recreational areas, which presents many challenges.

 

“Warden Sprenger has taken a great interest in boating safety and the Missouri River Task Force, spending countless hours ensuring the safety of the boaters on the river and in her district,” Timian said. “She has a great interest in hunter and trapper education, is well respected by the public she serves, and her dedication and professionalism ensures the department’s goal of protecting the future of the outdoor resources of North Dakota.”

 

 

 

Game and Fish Recognizes Employee Efforts

 

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand recently honored a number of employees with performance-based awards. Steinwand presented the following awards at the department’s annual staff meeting Dec. 12.

 

Gene Van Eeckhout, Jamestown, and Brian Prince, Devils Lake, received the Special Projects award, given to an individual who implemented a successful new project.

 

Van Eeckhout was recognized for his 38-year efforts at Spiritwood Lake, including assessing grass carp and zander introductions, keeping common carp out, and water quality projects. “There isn’t just one project on Spiritwood Lake that has received Gene’s attention, but rather he’s spent a career working on a multitude of fish management issues,” Steinwand said.

 

Prince was recognized for his work in enhancing public land opportunities in the northeast. “In the last 10 years, this district has added 16 new wildlife management areas and expanded eight existing WMAs,” Steinwand said. “The amount of additions has been above expectations, and this is a direct result of Brian’s efforts.”

 

Melissa Long, Bismarck, received the Solid Foundation award, presented to an employee who demonstrates exemplary work in their field. Long was recognized for her dedication to her job. “Melissa is dependable, a quick learner and dedicated to getting the job done,” Steinwand said. “Whenever something is asked of her, we can count on it being right.”

 

Nancy Boldt, Bismarck, received the Public Outreach award, presented to an employee for showing a significant effort, ability or accomplishment in interacting with the public while promoting the Department’s programs. Boldt was recognized for her efforts in developing and coordinating the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program. “This program wouldn’t be possible without the work and guidance of Nancy,” Steinwand said. “She’s reached thousands of women in North Dakota, and they’ve been able to experience outdoor and hunting or fishing activities in an environment where instructors provide skills to women who may have otherwise not been afforded this opportunity.”

 

 

visiting North Dakota?

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If you are visiting North Dakota over the Christmas Holiday there’s many outdoors options. Ice fishing is obvious. If you have kids coming home…maybe a new son-in-law from a far away state–whatever the reason. It’s pretty easy to get set. North Dakota  non-resident licenses are 3-10 and season long from $35  $25 and $10. Realize what’s $15 get at a movie theatre? about 5 gallons of gas…it’s just flat out reasonable. Buy the license 24/7/365 and your set to go from here: https://apps.nd.gov/gnf/onlineservices/lic/public/online/lic/customerpurchase.htm

Then check out places to fish or stocking reports all through here.

http://www.gf.nd.gov/fishing/fishing-waters

 

The full regulations are here:

http://gf.nd.gov/gnf/regulations/docs/fish/fish-guide.pdf

winter and boats?

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Yes it’s winter, but you need to keep an eye out for the next boat regisrations

Boat owners are reminded that 2014 is the first year of a new three-year registration period, and with it comes an increase in license fees passed during the 2013 legislative session.

Effective Jan. 1, the price to register motorboats under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, increases from $12 to $18, motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length from $24 to $36, and motorboats at least 20 feet in length from $33 to $45. As part of the legislation, hunting and fishing license fees will increase April 1.

The new boat registration cycle begins Jan. 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2016.

Boat registrations will be mailed by the end of December. In addition, boat registrations can be renewed online after Dec. 15 at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, 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.

Regulations require the boat number to be in contrasting color to the hull in plain vertical block letters at least 3 inches in height, excluding any border, trim, outlining or shading, and must be maintained in a legible condition so the number is clearly visible in daylight hours. The number must read from left to right, and groups of numbers and letters must be separated by a space or hyphen equivalent in width to the letter “M.”

In addition, a validation sticker issued by the Game and Fish Department must be displayed on the boat within 6 inches of the number toward the rear of the boat. No other numbers should be displayed in this area.

Boat owners who do not receive a renewal notice by Feb. 1 should contact the Game and Fish Department at (701) 328-6335, or emailndgf@nd.gov. Many renewals are likely to be returned because some owners who moved within the last three years did not notify the department with their new address.

ice shack regulations

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Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made out of materials that will allow it to float.

A popular question this time of the year is if campers qualify as legal fish houses. The answer is the same for any structure taken on the ice – if it’s left unattended, it must be able to float; if it’s not able to float, it must be removed when the angler leaves the ice.

Other fish house regulations include:

  • ·         Fish houses do not require a license.
  • ·         Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have the owner’s name, and either address or telephone number, displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high.
  • ·         Fish houses may not be placed closer than 50 feet in any direction to another house without consent of the occupant of the other fish house.
  • ·         Fish houses shall be removed from all waters by midnight, March 15, of each year. They can be used after March 15 if they are removed daily.

Anglers should refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide for winter fishing regulations.

winter ice fishing regulations

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North Dakota anglers are encouraged to refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide or the State Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations.

In addition, anglers can visit the Game and Fish websitegf.nd.gov, for an extensive list of fishing questions and answers, and a winter fishing preview from North Dakota Outdoors magazine.

Some winter fishing regulations include:

  • ·         A maximum of four poles is legal for ice fishing. However, when fishing a water body where both open water and ice occur at the same time, an angler is allowed a maximum of four poles, of which no more than two poles can be used in open water.
  • ·         Tip-ups are legal, and each tip-up is considered a single pole.
  • ·         There is no restriction on the size of the hole in the ice while fishing. When a hole larger than 10 inches in diameter is left in the ice, the area in the immediate vicinity must be marked with a natural object. See regulations for more information.
  • ·         It is only legal to release fish back into the water immediately after they are caught. Once a fish is held in a bucket or on a stringer, they can no longer be legally released in any water.
  • ·         It is illegal to catch fish and transport them in water.
  • ·         It is illegal to leave fish, including bait, behind on the ice.
  • ·         Depositing or leaving any litter or other waste material on the ice or shore is illegal.
  • ·         Any dressed fish to be transported, if frozen, must be packaged individually. Anglers are not allowed to freeze fillets together in one large block. Two fillets count as one fish.
  • ·         The daily limit is a limit of fish taken from midnight to midnight, and no person may possess more than one day’s limit of fish while actively engaged in fishing. The possession limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may have in his or her possession during a fishing trip of more than one day.