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get out and enjoy-ice fishing, predator hunting and pickled beaver tail?

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This morning there was a short little 12 hour flash back to past winters, but with that out of the way. Bring on the weekend!

Many area’s this time of year have predator hunts(Barnes County), ice fishing derby’s(Devils Lake) and other ‘lure’ events to get you outdoors. The lack of snow, easy access to farm-market roads should be enough of a reason to get you ‘out there’ seriously. Just recall a year ago at this time when you spent more time shoveling out of the driveway, only to find the closes access to your favorite outdoors spot was blocked for miles with drifts of snow. So even if these events arent enough to prompt a trip outdoors. Look around and you’ll find a wild game feed(Triumph Lutheran church West Farg) not to far away as well.

Speaking of wild game feeds. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever tried? I’m pretty vanilla….bear burgers..and I couldnt stand them. I love antelope, moose, bison. But the craziest thing I’ve seen is pickled beaver tail. How about you?

Earth Day patch contest

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The state Game and Fish Department’s annual Earth Day awareness campaign is accepting entries for design of a 2012 Earth Day patch. North Dakota students ages 6-18 are eligible to participate. The deadline to submit entries is March 15.

The Game and Fish Department will announce a winner in three age categories – 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18. Each winner will receive a pair of Nikon 8×40 binoculars. The final patch design will be chosen from the three winners.

The winning design will be used on a patch given to members of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H clubs and any school participating in Earth Day cleanup projects on state-owned or managed lands in North Dakota in April and May.

The patch should incorporate some aspect of Earth Day – celebrated April 22 – or keeping North Dakota clean. It must be round and three inches in diameter. There is a limit of five colors on the patch, and lettering must be printed. Name, address, age and phone number of the contestant must be clearly printed on the entry form. Only one entry per person is allowed.

Earth Day entry and reporting forms are available on the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. For more information, contact Pat Lothspeich by email at ndgf@nd.gov, or call (701) 328-6300.

Spring Turkey Season Set, Online Apps Available

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The state Game and Fish Department is offering 5,795 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, a decrease of 925 from last year. The decrease is a result of additional winter mortality the last three years and poor production during spring 2011.

 

Ten of the 22 hunting units have fewer spring licenses than in 2011, while 11 remain the same. Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2012 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.

 

Successful spring turkey applicants must purchase a 2012-13 hunting license, as last year’s 2011-12 licenses expire March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license.

 

First-time spring turkey hunters ages 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for the regular hunting season in a specific unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season, and have never received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.

 

Spring turkey applicants can apply online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling (800) 406-6409.

 

Application forms will also be available by Feb. 1 at most license vendors, county auditors and Game and Fish offices. The deadline for applying is Feb. 15. Online or phone applications must be logged before midnight that day.

 

Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. The spring turkey season opens April 14 and continues through May 20.

still room for winter outdoors woman workshops

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BOW Program Offers Darkhouse Spearfishing, Ice Fishing Class

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has scheduled a one-day darkhouse spearfishing and ice fishing class Feb. 11 at Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge in Ward County.

Women interested in attending the class are encouraged to register online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Aregistration form is also available for download, or by contacting Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095; (701) 328-6312; or email ndgf@nd.gov.

The cost is $50, and preregistration with payment is required. Equipment and snacks will be provided.

it’s a record

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The annual mid-winter bald eagle survey conducted Jan. 13 along the Missouri River stretching from Bismarck to the Garrison Dam showed a record number of bald eagles, according to Patrick T. Isakson, conservation biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

A total of 108 bald eagles were counted, breaking the previous best of 85 in 2008. “The mild winter has kept the river open and a lot of waterfowl in the area,” Isakson said, while mentioning the availability of prey is also indicative of the number of eagles wintering in the state.

The aerial survey is part of a nationwide effort to try to get an estimate of the number of bald eagles wintering in the lower 48 states. All survey routes across the country are run at the same time to avoid counting the birds twice.

Eagles are relatively easy to spot as they prefer to perch in large cottonwood trees along the river. Adult bald eagles have a white head and tail and a dark brown body, while immature bald eagles are brown with irregular white plumage. Golden eagles, which are also counted, are dark in color and have a gold cap on their head.

boating class? in January? yep….

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Now is a good time for parents with children who want to operate a boat or jet ski this summer to have them take the state’s boating basics course.

State law requires youngsters ages 12-15 to pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor. In addition, major insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a premium discount on boat insurance.

The course is available for home-study from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office. Two commercial providers also offer the course online, and links to those sites can be found by accessing the department’s website at gf.nd.gov.

While the home-study course is free, students will be charged a fee to take it online. The online provider charges for the course, not the Game and Fish Department. The fee stays with the online provider.

Upon completion of the online test, and providing a credit card number, students will be able to print out a temporary certification card, and within 10 days a permanent card will be mailed.

The course covers legal requirements, navigation rules, getting underway, accidents and special topics such as weather, rules of the road, laws, life saving and first aid.

For more information contact Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, by email at ndgf@nd.gov; or call (701) 328-6300

a little more caution…yes..on the ice

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Seems like everyday there’s a new concern in/on/around the ice. Today is no different.

Early ice fishing reports from many areas of the state have been promising.  However, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department advises winter anglers to be cautious when moving or removing permanent fish houses and travelling on state lakes.

Robert Timian, chief game warden, said an unseasonably mild winter has caused some ice houses to already break through the ice. “Record breaking high temperatures and strong winds this winter have resulted in inconsistent ice conditions in much of the state,” Timian said. “Anglers should assess the need to move their respective ice houses. If ice conditions on a lake deteriorate, they should check the weather forecast and consider removing their house.”

While snow and colder temperatures are yet to come, those conditions might come too late to help form solid ice for any length of time. “When we get into late February, warm weather and longer daylight will deteriorate ice conditions, causing shorelines that are already thin to weaken,” Timian said. “Therefore, we suggest anglers be aware of these unique winter conditions and be prepared to move, or even remove their ice houses.”

Whether the ice house is removed now or in two months, Timian advises anglers to do so before the ice begins to thaw. “Fish houses can become frozen into the ice under these conditions, causing some anglers to only take parts of the house that are easily retrievable,” he added. “This is unacceptable. The owner has a legal responsibility to remove the entire house and its contents.”

Permanent fish houses must be off the ice by midnight, March 15. Portable fish houses may be used after March 15 if they are removed daily

hunter safety classes

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Now, not in June or September is the time to find and take a class for the 2012 season.

Individuals interested in taking a hunter education class in 2012 should know that most courses are offered early in the calendar year.

To register for a hunter education course, students need to sign up online at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Many classes will be added over the next several weeks, and the rest will be added throughout the year as they are finalized.

To register, click on the online services tab, and “online course enrollment” under the hunter education heading. Classes are listed by city, and can also be sorted by start date. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class, and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required.

If circumstances dictate the registrant cannot attend the course, it is important to access the website to delete the enrollment. This will allow others to enroll because space is limited. In addition, an individual cannot register for another course until the initial registration is deleted.

In addition to enrolling for classes, the website also provides a free hunter education study guide and a tree stand safety course. Students are encouraged to use these resources to study course material.

Those who do not have access to the Internet and want to sign up for a class can call the hunter education program in Bismarck at (701) 328-6615.

State law requires anyone born after December 31, 1961 to pass a certified hunter education course to hunt in the state. Hunter education is mandatory for youth who are turning 12 years old, and children can take the class at age 11.

snow shoeing, skiing & sled dogging for the ladies

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has openings for one-day winter workshops Jan. 26-27 at Cross Ranch State Park, Center, and Feb. 24, 25 and 26 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are offered at Cross Ranch.

Snowshoeing and tracking, winter survival and cross-country skiing are available at Lake Metigoshe. The dog sledding class is full.

Women interested in the workshops 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. The cost is $50. Sign up for a class on two days and receive a $15 discount. Preregistration with payment is required. Equipment and snacks will be provided.

An information and registration form is available for download by accessing the Department’s education/outreach link, or by contacting Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095; (701) 328-6312; or email ndgf@nd.gov.

here’s to 2012

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I’d venture to say with the floods, blizzards, flizzards of 2011 few people are sad to see 2011 fade. So far for wildlife we’re setting up for a better 2012 in terms of winter’s impact on deer, pheasants, antelope and people as well. But there’s no guarantee. I think we all are a bit hesitant to sigh even while looking at the next 5-10 outlook (it’s good..if you don’t like cold or snow). Personally winter for me ends March 1, so I’m on the countdown towards 59 day’s until spring 2012 arrives. By this time last year most critters were already stressed with many utilizing fat reserves needed for the March and April final sprint t spring. Even humble North Dakotan’s shouldn’t hesitate to acknowledge that winter of 2011-2012…is…so far so good.