Tag Archives: North Dakota

winter Becomming and Outdoors-Woman set

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has openings available for a three-day workshop Feb. 21-23 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau.


Ice fishing, darkhouse spearfishing, geocaching, snowshoe making, fur handling, winter birding, snowshoeing and tracking, fly tying, cross-country skiing, winter survival and winter camping are classes available at Lake Metigoshe. Cost of the workshop is $135.


Women interested in the workshop are encouraged to register online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Those interested should sign up immediately, as each class is limited to 12 participants. Preregistration with payment is required.


More information is available by contacting Nancy Boldt at (701) 328-6312, or emailndgf@nd.gov.

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.

positive CWD test

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A second deer taken from unit 3F2 during the 2013 deer gun season has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.


A hunter shot the adult whitetail buck in western Grant County and submitted the head for testing as part of the hunter-harvested surveillance program. Testing was performed at Michigan State University, and verification of initial tests results are pending from a national lab in Ames, Iowa. In addition, results from the remaining 3F2 samples, as well as all samples from the eastern third of the state, should be known in another month.


This is the fifth deer to test positive for CWD since 2009, and all were from the same general area within unit 3F2 in southwestern North Dakota.


The hunter-harvested surveillance program annually collects samples taken from hunter-harvested deer in specific regions of the state. In addition to unit 3F2, samples during the 2013 deer gun season were collected from units in the eastern third of the state.


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.

go fish!

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If you are visiting North Dakota over the New Years extended 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 www.gf.nd.gov

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:


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.