Tag Archives: North Dakota

2014 North Dakota deer season

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North Dakota’s 2014 deer season is set, with 48,000 licenses available to hunters this fall, 11,500 fewer than last year, and the lowest number since 1980.

 

 

 

Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said even after five years of reducing gun licenses, deer populations are still below management objectives in most units. Currently, only units 3F1, 3F2 and 4F meet or exceed management goals.

 

 

 

“Harvest and survey data indicate deer numbers are still declining, especially in the eastern part of the state,” Kreil said.

 

 

 

The statewide hunter success rate in 2013 was 55 percent, which is lower than in 2012 (63 percent), and well below the department’s goal of 70 percent.

 

 

 

Adequate snow cover needed for winter aerial surveys occurred only in the northeast. Results showed deer numbers were down 21 percent in unit 2C and 29 percent in unit 2D.

 

 

 

Statewide, Kreil said high quality deer habitat continues to be lost and will limit the potential for population recovery.

 

 

 

Out west, the number of antlered mule deer licenses in the badlands was increased modestly. However, as was the case the past two years, no antlerless mule deer licenses are available in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. This restriction applies to regular gun, resident and nonresident any-deer bow, gratis and youth licenses.

 

 

 

Hunters are able to draw one license for the deer gun season and one for the muzzleloader season, and purchase an archery license. There is no concurrent season, and a hunter cannot receive more than one license for the deer gun season.

 

 

 

The number of licenses available for 2014 includes 1,350 for antlered mule deer, an increase of 200 from last year; 932 for muzzleloader, down 270 from last year; and 134 restricted youth antlered mule deer, an increase of 19 from last year.

 

 

 

North Dakota’s 2014 deer gun season opens Nov. 7 at noon and continues through Nov. 23. Online applications for the regular deer gun, youth, muzzleloader, and resident gratis and nonresident landowner seasons will be available May 5 through the Game and Fish Department’s website atgf.nd.gov. Also, paper applications will be at vendors throughout the state by mid-May. The deadline for applying is June 4.

 

 

 

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. Applications will not be processed without this information. 

 

 

 

Gratis applications received on or before the regular deer gun lottery application deadline (June 4) will be issued any-legal-deer license. As per state law, applications received after the deadline will be issued based on licenses remaining after the lottery – generally only antlerless licenses remain.

 

 

 

Total deer licenses are determined by harvest rates, aerial surveys, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

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.

snow goose migration update

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Plenty of activity happened over the weekend, with mild temperatures causing birds to be on the move. We have received reports that snow geese are beginning to make their way into Canada, while most of the geese that remain in the state are north of Interstate 94. Birds will continue to trickle through the state over the next couple weeks.

 

 

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.

coming soon…paddlefish snagging season!

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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.

 

 

 

Paddlefish Snagging Season Opens May 1

 

North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through the end of the month. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.

 

Potential snaggers are reminded that opening day, May 1, falls on a Thursday. Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, so opening day is snag-and-release only.

 

Mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be tagged immediately.

 

All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by 9 p.m. of each snagging day. The use or possession of a gaff hook within one-half mile in either direction of the Highway 200 bridge on the Yellowstone River is illegal at any time during the snagging season.

 

Those planning to participate during snag-and-release-only days need to have in their possession a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag. Use or possession of gaffs is prohibited on snag-and-release-only days, and, if it occurs, during the snag-and-release extension period.

 

Legal snagging hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. One tag per snagger will be issued. Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and in the area of the Missouri River lying west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing (river mile 1,577) downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area (river mile 1,565).

 

If the season closes early because the harvest quota is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to four days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 31. Only snaggers with a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag are eligible to participate. Only a limited area at the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone rivers is open to this extended season snagging opportunity.

 

All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license and certificate that may be required. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.

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.

walleye tagging study

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Year one of a multi-year walleye tagging study on the Missouri River and Lake Oahe is complete, and returns are providing biologists with valuable information.

 

Scott Gangl, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries management section leader, said more than 9,100 fish were tagged in 2013, the first year of the four-year study, and nearly 1,400 tag numbers were turned in by anglers.

 

The study area extends from the Garrison Dam in central North Dakota downstream to Oahe Dam in South Dakota, and involves a major collaboration of biologists and researchers from North Dakota Game and Fish, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks, and South Dakota State University.

 

The study is designed to assess walleye movements, mortality and what proportion of the walleye population is harvested annually by anglers.

 

Gangl said the first year of the study revealed some interesting movement patterns. For example, fish tagged in North Dakota moved greater distances than those tagged farther downstream. In North Dakota, fish tagged in both Oahe and the Garrison Reach of the Missouri River traveled an average of 40 river miles. Fish tagged in Lake Oahe’s upper and middle zones within South Dakota moved an average of 10-15 river miles, and those tagged in the lower zone moved only about 5 miles. North Dakota fish moved both upstream and downstream after tagging.

 

Gangl said most of the returns were from May, June and July, and when the bite slowed in August, so did the returns.

 

The goal of the four-year study is to tag 10,000 walleye in the study area in the Dakotas per year, Gangl said, with up to 4,000 tagged and released annually in the Missouri River and upper Lake Oahe in North Dakota.

 

The study targets adult walleye, each fitted with a metal jaw tag stamped with a unique number to identify the fish, and a phone number to report the tag. Anglers can either keep or release the fish. Anglers practicing catch-and-release can write the tag number down and report it, leaving the tag on the fish when released.

 

Anglers can report tags by calling the phone number found on tags, which, anglers should note, is a South Dakota phone number. Tag information can also be reported on the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, tag reporting page or by calling 701-328-6300.

 

Anglers should record the date and location of the catch, whether the fish was kept or released, tag number and length and weight (if the fish was measured). Anglers who report tagged fish can keep the tag, and will receive a letter providing some history on the fish.

 

Gangl said a small portion of the tags offer a reward to anglers to encourage them to turn them in. These tags clearly marked “Reward.”

 

Reward tags must be physically turned in to Game and Fish offices in Riverdale or Bismarck, or to a Game, Fish and Parks office in South Dakota.

 

 

keep an eye out for whoopers

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Whooping cranes are in the midst of their spring migration and sightings will increase as they make their way through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.

 

Whoopers stand about five feet tall and have a wingspan of about seven feet from tip to tip. 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, and may be associated with sandhill cranes.

 

Other white birds such as snow geese, swans and egrets are often mistaken for whooping cranes. The most common misidentification is pelicans, because their wingspan is similar and they tuck their pouch in flight, leaving a silhouette similar to a crane when viewed from below.

 

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, 701-848-2466, or Long Lake, 701-387-4397, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, 701-328-6300, or to local game wardens across the state. Reports help biologists locate important whooping crane habitat areas, monitor marked birds, determine survival and population numbers, and identify times and migration routes.

 

 

deer management meetings recap

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North Dakota’s 2014 deer seasons will look pretty much the same as in previous years.

Through a series of public meetings and an open comment period that ran through March 17, however, deer hunters have provided a lot of input for the State Game and Fish Department to consider for 2015 and beyond.

“We told people at the meetings that it was very unlikely any major changes would take place this year,” said Game and Fish wildlife chief Randy Kreil. “Aside from some possible adjustments to the total number of deer gun season licenses, we won’t be recommending any changes in season structure or the number of licenses any one deer hunter can have.”

Game and Fish wildlife managers will analyze the hundreds of written and verbal comments received, before deciding whether to pursue changes for 2015.

More than 800 people attended the eight deer meetings held around the state the last two weeks in February. Several hundred additional hunters either watched the final meeting broadcast online, or viewed a recorded version. Game and Fish received about 400 written online comments and many other direct emails and phone calls.

“We expected high interest in this process and the response we got was even above that,” Kreil said. “North Dakota hunters are passionate about our deer hunting tradition. Our long-term hope is that habitat trends will allow us to rebuild the deer population from where it is now to a level that is satisfactory to the deer hunting public. Most people seem willing to make some type of short-term licensing-related changes to help us do that. Because of the great response we’ve had, we have a lot of ideas to evaluate, some of which are new or variations of the current system.”

Game and Fish set up the meetings and public comment process to explore some ideas for changes in deer license allocation the agency has received in recent years, in response to a declining deer population and fewer available licenses. In 2008 Game and Fish allocated nearly 150,000 licenses and in 2013 the total fell to 59,500.

While even at 150,000 licenses not every hunter could get a preferred license in a preferred unit, Kreil said the number of hunters who applied for a gun season license and didn’t get one has increased significantly over the past years.

As with all issues, Game and Fish is open to continuing public input. The general department email address is ndgf@nd.gov; and phone is 701-328-6300

snow goose update

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The bulk of the migration remains south, however reports of huntable numbers of snow geese have been observed moving into parts of south central and south eastern North Dakota. Some geese have even been seen in the central portion of the state.

get HIP certified

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All spring light goose hunters, regardless of age and residency, are reminded that Harvest Information Program registration is required before hunting this spring.

 

The HIP number can be obtained online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website,gf.nd.gov, or by calling 888-634-4798. The HIP number is good for the fall season as well, so spring hunters should save it to record on their fall license. Hunters must HIP register in each state for which they are licensed.

 

For detailed season information, including licensing requirements and regulations, refer to the Game and Fish Department website.