Click here to view!
for new events on our events calendar page!
Information is available about our upcoming annual
meeting and events for North Dakota Game and Fish
annual award meeting and workshops coming up!
Click on the link to the left or
Executive Board is looking for a person to take the
District Representative Position vacated this year
by the passing of Dale Kilwein. This position will
be a two year position to begin following the annual
meeting in Minot at the Holiday Inn Riverside Motel
on February 15th.
If you wish to fill the
position, nominate someone for the position, or have
general questions, please contact either Clayton
701-238-7897)or Terry Fasteen (TFasteen@gmail.com,
June 29th Newsletter
Game Warden, Warden Pilot Exams Set July 17
Individuals interested in taking the district game
warden or warden pilot exams scheduled for July 17
are reminded to register no later than July 13, by
through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.
The tests are scheduled for 10 a.m. at the
department's main office in Bismarck.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have
a bachelor’s degree, have a valid driver’s license
and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or
be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must have
excellent interpersonal skills in communications and
writing, and must not have a record of any felony
In addition, game warden pilot applicants must have
a commercial pilot’s license for a single engine
land with an instrument rating, and hold an FAA
Class II medical certificate. Candidates also must
have a minimum of 500 hours total flying time and
have a clean record without any felony convictions.
Job duties include day and night flights, involving
enforcement and administrative flight activities.
Responsibilities also include enforcing game and
fish laws and other related regulations.
District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and
related regulations in an assigned district and
other locations as determined by the department.
Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions,
at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In
addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist
in the areas of public relations, education
programs, and hunter and boat safety education.
Salary through training for a district game warden
is $3,600 per month, while the warden pilot position
is $3,800 per month. Upon successful completion of
training, the monthly salary ranges are $4,136 -
$6,894. Wardens also receive the state benefits
package, including travel allowance. Uniforms and
other equipment are provided.
Spring Sharptails Look Good
Statistics from the 2015 spring sharp-tailed grouse
census indicate a 22 percent increase in the number
of male grouse counted compared to last year.
Statewide, 4,346 sharptails were observed on spring
dancing grounds this year compared to 3,551 in 2014.
Male grouse recorded per square mile increased from
3.4 to 4.2. More than 1,000 square miles were
Aaron Robinson, upland game biologist for the North
Dakota Game and Fish Department in Dickinson, said
the outlook for the 2015 hunting season is still
premature as lek counts are a metric of population
trends and not a reliable predictor of hunter
“Preliminary observations indicate good residual
cover for a favorable hatch, but this is heavily
influenced by timing, duration, location of severe
precipitation and low temperatures,” Robinson said.
An indication of the fall season won’t be known
until completion of brood surveys in late summer.
Spring Pheasant Count Tops Last Year
North Dakota’s spring pheasant population index is
up 10 percent from last year, according to the State
Game and Fish Department’s 2015 spring crowing count
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor, said
the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was
up statewide, with increases ranging from about 2 to
12 percent in the primary regions holding pheasants.
“A much improved production year for pheasants in
spring 2014, coupled with the mild winter, produced
a healthy breeding population this spring,” Kohn
While the spring number is a positive indicator,
Kohn said it does not predict what the fall
population will look like. Brood surveys, which
begin in mid-July and are completed by September,
provide a much better estimate of summer pheasant
production and what hunters might expect for a fall
Kohn mentioned a higher breeding population is good
for production if the weather cooperates and nesting
habitat is available. “This spring’s weather hasn’t
been ideal, but I don’t think it has been a cause
for major concern yet either,” he said.
Of concern, according to Kohn, is the continued loss
of Conservation Reserve Program acres, variable
commodity prices and native grassland conversion.
“All of this affects the amount of nesting and brood
rearing habitat on the landscape, and as we lose
grassland habitat we lose ground nesting bird
populations,” Kohn said.
Pheasant crowing counts are conducted each spring
throughout North Dakota. Observers drive specified
20-mile routes, stopping at predetermined intervals,
and counting the number of pheasant roosters heard
crowing over a two-minute period during the stop.
The number of pheasant crows heard is compared to
previous years’ data, providing a trend summary.
BIG GAME HUNTING APPLICATION
Many applications were not available yet but are
anticipated to start showing up over the next couple
Those applications that are know are shown here.
Deer: Non-resident archery March 1st
New fishing license required: April 1 2015
Paddle fishing opens May 1st
Spring Turkey: February 11, 2015
Deer Gun and Muzzle Loader June 3, 2015
Pronghorn Antelope August 5, 2015
Swan Permits August 19th
Elk: March 16th
Deer: March 16th
Antelope: June 1st
Bighorn Sheep: May 1st
Mountain Goats: May
Elk “B”: June
Spring Turkey: February 12th
Big Game: April 7st, includes:
Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat and Bison
Applications: January 31st
Elk: Jan 31st
Deer: March 15th
Antelope: March 15th
Spring Turkey: January 31
Super Tag: July 1st
Deer, Elk, Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Oryx, Ibex,
Javelina: March 18
Spring Turkey: April 15th-opener
Deer Bow: September19th
Fall Turkey: October 3rd
Deer Rifle: November 7th
Bear: May 2
Elk: June 13
Camp Ripley Archery: August 15
Bighorn Sheep-Mountain Goats-Moose: April 30th
Elk-Deer-Fall Bear-Antelope-Fall Turkey: June 5th
Elk-Deer-Antelope-Bighorn Sheep-Desert Bighorn
Mountain Goats: March 5th
NDHEA info regarding Mentored Hunts and Family
NDHEA is pleased to be offering assistance with
funding for Mentored Hunts and Family Shooting
Family Fun Shoot/Mentored Hunt policies
click here to download
a copy of the policies
Request for Participation (RFP) to conduct an
click here to download
the RFP form
All meetings are to be held at the North Dakota Game
and Fish Department building in Bismarck.
The following meetings will be held instead in Minot
Minot Holiday Inn Riverside
2200 East Burdick Expressway
Minot ND. 58701
- Fourth Quarter-Feb, 14th 8:00 - 10:00am
- Annual Meeting is Sunday Feb. 15th 8:30am
Raffle Winners announced!!
Drawing held 6-29-2014 5:00 PM at Scheels All Sports
– Bismarck ND
Winners of this year’s gift cards are as follows
Richard Brewster - Washburn, ND
Cory Hallen - Dickinson, ND
Sheri Ellingson - Grace City, ND
Curt Walen - Carrington, ND
Larry Kukla - Jamestown, ND
Gene Just - Jamestown, ND
Larry Kaul - LaMoure, ND
Scott Pedersen - Northwood, ND
Kerry Whipp - Courtenay, ND
Dale Kilwein - Dickinson, ND
THANK YOU! too everyone who help NDHEA this
year buy purchasing tickets or helping to sell them.
The money will be used to sponsor shooting events,
mentored hunting events, promotion for safe hunting
and to supply additional teaching aids across the
Have a great summer and safe hunting season!
Catalog Available for Hunters, Landowners
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the
North Dakota Game and Fish Department have reopened
the Coyote Catalog to connect coyote hunters and
trappers with landowners who want fewer coyotes in
The Coyote Catalog is an online database similar to
the one the Game and Fish Department uses to connect
deer hunters with farmers and ranchers.
“We’ve had a lot of success matching deer hunters
with landowners,” said NDGF Director Terry Steinwand.
“We hope the Coyote Catalog works out just as well.”
NDDA officials estimate livestock producers in North
Dakota lost more than $1 million last year to
coyotes. At the same time, coyotes are a popular
furbearer species for hunters and trappers.
“I encourage landowners, especially farmers and
ranchers who have problems with coyote depredation,
to sign up for the Coyote Catalog,” said Agriculture
Commissioner Doug Goehring. “Hunting and trapping
are valuable tools in managing these predators.”
Goehring and Steinwand said the U.S. Department of
Agriculture Wildlife Services should be the first
contact for landowners experiencing coyote
depredation of livestock.
Landowners can sign up on the NDDA website at
Required information includes county and contact
Hunters and trappers can
sign up at
the NDGF website at
Periodically throughout the winter, hunters or
trappers will receive information on participating
landowners, and they can then contact landowners to
Although the Coyote Catalog does not guarantee a
good match for every participating landowner or
hunter, Goehring and Steinwand said it has great
potential to focus hunting or trapping pressure in
areas where farmers and ranchers are experiencing
coyote depredation problems.
Anyone who registered for the Coyote Catalog in the
past must register again to activate their names on
The Coyote Catalog will remain active through March
31, and then start up again next winter.
and Fish to Recommend One Deer License in 2015
A new plan under consideration by the State Game and
Fish Department would allow North Dakota deer
hunters only one license per year, starting with the
The preferred license distribution plan is the
result of a declining deer population and continuing
high license demand. “This year we had about 30,000
people who applied for a deer gun license and didn’t
get one in the lottery,” said Game and Fish wildlife
division chief Jeb Williams. “This new system will
give more people an opportunity to hunt deer each
year, compared to our current system.”
To gather input on possible changes, Game and Fish
held a series of public deer management meetings
across the state last winter. Hundreds of people
attended these meetings, and many more interested
hunters and landowners also provided written or
verbal comments on how Game and Fish might manage
deer license distribution, given the low population
of both whitetail and mule deer in much of the
Following the deer management meetings,
potential changes were also discussed at the spring
round of public Game and Fish advisory board
meetings held around the state.
“After evaluating all the input we received last
winter,” Williams said, “the general feedback we
heard is that hunters understand there is no longer
enough licenses so that everyone can get one for the
gun season, but at the same time, they don’t feel
the current system is equitably distributing
licenses, since some hunters can get two or even
three licenses when thousands of hunters get none.”
To begin to address that inequity, Game and Fish’s
preferred option for 2015 is to limit each hunter to
one deer license per year. Williams said that still
doesn’t guarantee that every gun hunter who applies
in the lottery will get a deer license, but it will
eliminate the possibility of someone getting
If deer populations rebound substantially, Williams
said the way licenses are allocated could return to
the current system. “However, we are dealing with
two dynamics that will make it difficult to do so
anytime soon,” Williams added. “We have a deer herd
that has been trending downward for several years,
and we also have a growing population of people who
possibly are interested in North Dakota’s hunting
and fishing opportunities.”
In the preferred option, a hunter who is successful
in the deer gun lottery would not be able to
purchase a bow license or receive a muzzleloader
license. However, as a way to provide additional
bowhunting recreation, a hunter with a lottery gun
license could also hunt with a bow any time during
the open archery season, but only for the deer and
unit specified on the license.
Resident hunters who apply in the deer gun lottery
and do not receive a license, will still be able to
purchase a bow license that is valid statewide for
“This is one of those things that we heard from
people who like to hunt with both gun and bow,”
Williams said. “They wanted to be able to apply for
a gun license, and if they didn’t get one, they
could still get a bow license. At the same time, if
they did draw a gun license, they wanted a chance to
hunt that deer with a bow during the archery season
“We know it’s not the same as having both a gun and
a bow license,” Williams added, “but we feel it’s a
fair compromise while we work toward rebuilding our
Another part of the preferred option is that hunters
would be able to apply simultaneously for the deer
gun and muzzleloader lotteries. The application
would allow choice of a preference, so if the
hunter’s name is drawn and both muzzleloader and
deer gun licenses are available at that time, the
computer would issue the hunter’s preferred license.
In such cases, the computer would then
remove the hunter’s name from the other lottery.
Also in that case, Williams said a hunter would
maintain the accumulated bonus points for the
application that was removed from the lottery.
In addition, Williams said hunters will not lose any
bonus points if they choose not to apply for a
Youth hunters under age 16 would be exempt under the
preferred option, and could get a bow license as
well as a deer gun or youth season license.
Gratis license holders could hunt in any open season
on their own land, but may only get one license per
Information Sought in Illegal
Taking of White-tailed Deer in Emmons County
North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game
warden Erik Schmidt is searching for answers in the
illegal shooting of four white-tailed deer in Emmons
County during opening weekend of pheasant hunting
Schmidt said two mature bucks, one a 4x4 and the
other a 5x5, were found in a bean field 1.5 miles
east of Strasburg. A doe and fawn were found in a
stubble field 5 miles southwest of Linton. It is
believed all four were shot late evening Oct. 11, or
early morning Oct. 12.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Report
All Poachers telephone number at 800-472-2121, or
contact Schmidt at 701-220-7160. RAP is offering a
The RAP line offers rewards for information that
leads to conviction of fish and wildlife law
violators. Reporting parties can remain anonymous.
Against Hunger Accepting Goose Meat
North Dakota’s Sportsmen Against Hunger program can
now accept donations of Canada geese taken during
the regular waterfowl hunting season.
Previously, the program could accept snow, blue and
Ross’s geese during the regular season, but Canada
goose donations were only allowed during the early
Canada goose season.
This new opportunity for hunters to donate goose
meat is part of a two-year pilot program between the
North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service.
“In the past couple of years we have heard from many
hunters who would like to donate geese taken during
the regular season,” said Game and Fish Director
Terry Steinwand. “We appreciate the Fish and
Wildlife Service setting up this pilot program so we
can see how well it works.”
North Dakota Community Action Sportsmen Against
Hunger program coordinator Sarah Hasbargen said the
additional donations accepted during this pilot
project will be a much-needed increase to food
pantries across the state. “We will accept as much
as hunters are able to donate,” Hasbargen said,
while mentioning donated goose meat must be received
no later than the day after the close of the season.
Provisions for donating goose meat during the
regular season are basically the same as for the
early Canada goose season. In addition, hunters can
also donate meat from geese that were taken during
the early season.
Hunters can bring their geese home and clean them
prior to delivering meat to a processor, but breast
meat brought from home without a wing or head
attached to the meat, must be accompanied by written
information that includes the hunter’s name,
address, signature, hunting license number, date
taken and species and number taken.
Hunters may also deliver geese directly from the
field to a processor, but identification must remain
attached to the bird until in possession of the
processor. Since no goose carcasses or feathers are
allowed inside processing plants, hunters must be
able to ensure proper disposal and clean-up of
The list of participating processors is available on
the Game and Fish Department website at
gf.nd.gov, and at
the NDCAP website,
Hunters interested in donating are encouraged to
call the processor before dropping off geese, to
have a clear understanding of how processors will
accept goose breasts, and their hours of operation.
The North Dakota Community Action Sportsmen Against
Hunger is a charitable program that raises money for
processing of donated goose and deer meat, and
coordinates distribution of donated meat to food
pantries in North Dakota. It is administered by the
North Dakota Community Action Partnership, a
nonprofit agency that serves low-income families
across the state.
SFor more information, visit the
or contact Sarah Hasbargen at 701-232-2452.
View the status of outdoor
related legislation here
YOUR HUNTING GEAR OUT AND FAMILY ROUNDED UP FOR
DICKINSON’S NEWEST RACES…
WHETHER YOU RUN OR WALK…JUST COME FOR THE FUN!
AUGUST 29: KIDS RACE
AND 5K (5K PRIZE FOR BEST HUNTING RELATED COSTUME)
AUGUST 30: HALF AND HALF MARATHON RELAY
REGISTRATION IS OPEN AT:
CHECKOUT OUR WEBSITE AT:
and keep up with the event on our Facebook page!
*Money raised is going toward a building to hold Hunter
Education classes in. You can find more information on
Dale was born and raised in Dickinson and was
co-owner of B&K Electric. He was very well known in the
community, contributed to many organizations and events.
He was the lead instructor of the Hunter Safety program
in Dickinson for 36 years and was the Region 9
Representative for the ND Hunter Education Association.
He had a true passion for his work but most
importantly for the Hunter Education program. Over the
years he struggled to have a place to hold classes. A
memorial account has been set up at Bank of the West.
With the funds we are going to build a facility to hold
hunter safety classes in and the opportunity for other
local organizations to use. There is a great start in
the account, but it is not enough to build a facility.
The proceeds raised from the races will go into the
account for the construction of the educational
The planned events will include a kids race, family
5k, half marathon and half-marathon relay; the runs will
have a hunting theme and take place on the Crooked Crane
Trail around Patterson Lake. We are looking to make this
an annual event and huge success with your help!
We are hoping to have 400+ participants and visitors to
participate and help to make our Memorial Run a huge
success. Please mark this on your calendar and plan on
joining us to bring Dales dream to provide Hunters
Education to all persons.
If you have any questions, would like to volunteer
your help with the event or assist with the fund raising
or provide a personal or corporate sponsorship, please
contact: Crystal @ 701-290-5728.
For information on our 501 3C to find sponsorship or
donation information, event updates, visit the website @firstname.lastname@example.org
Muscle tissue and eggs from 30 paddlefish snagged
this spring have come back clear of any lingering
effects from an oil spill in the Yellowstone River
in Montana last January.
State Game and Fish Department fisheries chief Greg
Power said Game and Fish and North Star Caviar, a
nonprofit group that processes paddlefish eggs into
caviar for sale, sent the samples to a lab for
analysis to find out whether there was any
contamination from 30,000 gallons of crude oil that
entered the Yellowstone River near Glendive
following a pipeline break in mid-January.
“Since fish below the spill could have been exposed,
and the Yellowstone River extends into North Dakota
where our paddlefish season is open, it was
imperative we sampled the edible muscle tissue and
eggs to make sure these fish were clear of
contamination,” Power said.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks found similar
results earlier this spring upon analysis of 213
fish representing species known to live in the
Yellowstone River between the spill site and the
North Dakota border. All of those fish were found
clear of any oil-related contamination.
Wildlife Action Plan Open for Comment
North Dakota’s initial
State Wildlife Action Plan
from 2005 has been updated and is available for
public comment by visiting the State Game and Fish
Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.
The primary focus of the current strategy is to
address North Dakota’s 100 Species of Conservation
Priority, developed a decade ago as the
Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy.
“We identified our state’s species of conservation
priority, and implemented conservation measures to
help keep them from becoming listed under the
Endangered Species Act,” said Steve Dyke, Game and
Fish Department’s conservation supervisor. “And in
order to receive state wildlife grant funds, we are
mandated to update the plan every 10 years.”
Public comments are being accepted through June 8.
SWAP is a collaborative effort by Game and Fish
staff, species experts, partner conservation groups,
and state, federal and local agencies from North
Paddlefish Snagging Season to
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced
today that the state's 2015 regular paddlefish
snagging season will close at 10 p.m. Central
Daylight Time, Monday, May 11, to protect the
population level of the fish. Snaggers are reminded
that Monday is a snag-and-release only day.
The 2014-16 fishing proclamation allows for the Game
and Fish director to close the snagging season early
if it appears more than 1,000 paddlefish will be
harvested. In addition, according to Greg Power,
Fisheries chief, a record high proportion of the
2015 paddlefish harvest has consisted of mostly
females, further necessitating an early season
An additional four-day snag-and-release season will
begin Tuesday, May 12 and run through Friday, May
15. Paddlefish snaggers with an unused paddlefish
tag can continue snagging during the additional
snag-and-release season, but must release all fish
immediately. Snaggers who already used their tag on
a harvested paddlefish are not allowed to
participate in the additional snag-and-release
period. Snag-and-release is legal only in that area
of the Missouri River starting on the north shore
from the Confluence boat ramp then east (downstream)
one-half mile, and that area of the Missouri River
starting on the south shore from the Confluence with
the Yellowstone River then east (downstream)
one-half mile (both areas will have boundary signs).
Paddlefish snagging is allowed only from 8 a.m. to 9
p.m. (CDT) during each day of the additional
four-day season. The use or possession of a gaff on
snag-and-release days is illegal.
Season Set, Online Apps Available
North Dakota’s 2015 deer season is set, with 43,275
licenses available to hunters this fall, 4,725 fewer
than last year, and the lowest number since 1978.
Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for the State Game and
Fish Department, said deer populations remain well
below management objectives in most units, and
continuing a conservative management approach is
needed to help with recovery efforts.
Any-antlerless (down 2,650 from last year) and
any-antlered (down 1,150) licenses make up the
majority of the reduction, while antlerless
whitetail (down 800) and antlered whitetail (down
650) account for the remainder.
On a positive note, Williams said the mule deer
population in the badlands increased for the third
consecutive year, with numbers showing the spring
mule deer index is up 24 percent from last year.
However, as was the case the past four years, there
are no antlerless mule deer licenses available in
units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. This
applies to regular gun, resident and nonresident
any-deer bow, gratis and youth licenses.
The number of licenses available for 2015
includes 1,875 for antlered mule deer, an increase
of 525 from last year; 828 for muzzleloader, down
104 from last year; and 187 restricted youth
antlered mule deer, an increase of 53 from last
North Dakota’s 2015 deer gun season opens Nov. 6 at
noon and continues through Nov. 22.
for regular deer gun, youth, muzzleloader, and
resident gratis and nonresident landowner licenses
are available through the Game and Fish Department’s
website at gf.nd.gov. Also, paper applications will
be at vendors throughout the state by mid-May. The
deadline for applying is June 3.
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 cannot be processed without this
Gratis applications received on or before the
regular deer gun lottery application deadline (June
3) will be issued an 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
Sage Grouse Counts Remain Low
Results from North Dakota’s spring sage grouse
survey indicate the number of strutting males
observed remains well below management objectives.
Therefore, the sage grouse hunting season will
remain closed in 2015.
Aaron Robinson, North Dakota Game and Fish
Department upland game bird biologist, said
biologists counted a record low 30 males on six
active strutting grounds. Last year, 31 males were
counted on the same leks in the southwest.
Sage grouse are a long-lived species with low
reproductive output, which makes population recovery
slow. Currently, Robinson said, natural reproduction
cannot keep up with natural mortality, and the
densities of active leks may be limiting hens from
finding males to breed.
“It might be that our last chance to increase the
genetic diversity of our population is if another
state is willing to provide some birds for a
translocation, but the success of such a project is
not guaranteed either,” Robinson said.
However, Robinson said the potential for a
successful nesting season is good this year due to
abundant residual grass cover brought about by last
summer’s rainfall. “The outlook for a favorable
hatch this year looks optimistic for the limited
number of birds we have in the state,” he added.
Sage grouse management in North Dakota follows a
specific plan developed by a diverse group of
participants. With the threats facing the species
and the decline in population, Game and Fish
Department biologists do not foresee a hunting
season in the near future.
Sage grouse are North Dakota’s largest native upland
game bird. They are found in extreme southwestern
North Dakota, primarily in Bowman and Slope
Fires Banned on Oahe WMA
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is
prohibiting open burning this spring on property
managed south of Bismarck and Mandan, as a means to
reduce potential for wildfires on a heavily wooded
recreation area along the Missouri River.
Bill Haase, wildlife resource management supervisor,
said all open burning, including campfires, is
banned until further notice on the Oahe Wildlife
Management Area along both sides of the Missouri
River. Haase said these woodlands are prone to
wildfires prior to spring green-up.
"The combination of mild temperatures and a high
fuel load in the river bottoms is of concern," Haase
said. "In addition, it is an area of high use by
anglers, campers and other outdoor recreationists."
Oahe WMA covers more than 16,000 acres along Lake
Oahe south of Bismarck-Mandan, in portions of
Burleigh, Emmons, and Morton counties. Burning
restriction signs are posted at all entrances to the
and Moose Seasons Set, No Bighorn Sheep Season
North Dakota’s elk and moose hunting seasons are set
with more licenses available in 2015 than last year.
However, the bighorn sheep hunting season will be
closed for the first time since 1983.
A total of 301 elk licenses are available to hunters
this fall, an increase of 40 from last year. Unit E1
has an additional 15 any-elk and 15 antlerless
licenses, and unit E3 has an increase of 10
antlerless licenses. In addition, the split season
antlerless elk only portion of E1 is eliminated to
provide additional hunting opportunity and address
late-season depredation issues.
A total of 131 moose licenses are available in 2015,
an increase of 20 from 2014. Units M9 and M10 have
more licenses than last year due to high cow
survival and calf recruitment. Hunting units M1C and
M4 will remain closed due to a continued downward
trend in moose numbers in the northeastern part of
The bighorn sheep hunting season is closed this year
due to significant sheep mortality in 2014 caused by
bacterial pneumonia. North Dakota Game and Fish
Department wildlife chief Jeb Williams said an
intensive search during last year’s rut revealed a
majority of mature rams in the badlands were among
the sheep lost to disease. “The summer 2015 survey
will provide more information as to when Game and
Fish may be able to re-establish a sheep season,”
Online applications will be available March 6 by
visiting the Game and Fish Department’s website,
gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be on
the website for printing, and at license vendors the
week of March 9. The deadline for applying is March
Elk and moose lottery licenses are issued as
once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota. Hunters
who have received a license through the lottery in
the past are not eligible to apply for that species
Now for Hunter Education Classes
Individuals interested in taking a hunter education
class in 2015 are reminded to register early as most
classes are held the first few months of the
To register for a
hunter education course,
students need to sign up online at the North Dakota
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.
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.
Individuals interested in receiving a notice by
email when each hunter education class is added can
click on the “subscribe
to news, email and text alerts”
link found below the news section on the
department’s home page. Check the box labeled
“hunter education class notification” under the
education program updates.
In addition, SMS text notifications of new classes
can be sent directly to a cell phone. Simply text
“NDGF HunterClass” to 468311 to subscribe to this
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.
and Fish to Conduct Winter Creel Survey
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has
initiated a winter creel survey in the south central
part of the state to learn who is fishing and what
“Our guys will be hitting various small district
lakes scattered throughout south central North
Dakota, primarily in Logan and McIntosh counties and
northern Kidder County, where you find clusters of
lakes,” said Scott Gangl, department fisheries
management section leader.
This region-specific creel survey is a joint effort
between the department’s south central and
southeastern fisheries districts. The survey could
last for several weeks, running into March.
“What we’re after is the size, catch rates, species
and the quality of the fishing experience,” Gangl
said. “We want to know how far people have traveled
to get to a lake and does the distance they’ve
traveled influence the size of fish they are
Creel clerks will work mostly on weekends. Anglers
who agree to be interviewed will be asked a series
of questions, and the clerks will measure harvested
fish. Once the interview is completed, anglers will
be given an orange card to complete when they quit
fishing for the day.
Boxes will be placed at access points for anglers to
quickly drop off their cards when leaving the lake.
There is no need to stop at a box unless you are
returning a card.
Mountain Lion Season Closes in
Mountain lion hunting during the late season in zone
1 is closed immediately. The zone’s late-season
quota of seven was filled after three cats were
Zone 1 includes land south of ND Highway 1804 from
the Montana border to the point where ND Highway
1804 lies directly across Lake Sakakawea from ND
Highway 8, crossing Lake Sakakawea then south along
ND Highway 8 to ND Highway 200, then west on ND
Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 85, then south on U.S.
Highway 85 to the South Dakota border.
The mountain lion season in zone 2, which is the
rest of the state outside zone 1, has no quota and
is open through March 31, 2015.
Game and Fish to Maintain Current
Deer License System
The State Game and Fish Department has decided to
not implement its proposal to limit deer hunters to
only one license for the 2015 season.
While it is still months before the 2015 season is
set, that means deer hunters will again be able to
apply for deer gun and muzzleloader lottery
licenses, and also purchase an archery license.
Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said the
decision involved several factors, including
substantial public input both for and against the
proposal, and significant costs needed to put the
new system in place.
“One of our goals is to increase the deer population
statewide, and we can still work toward that under
the current system,” Steinwand said.
Under the proposal that Game and Fish offered in
early November, in 2015 deer hunters who received a
lottery deer gun or muzzleloader license, or a
gratis license, would not have been able to purchase
an additional archery license.
Game and Fish drafted the proposal based on public
input and comments following eight special deer
meetings held in February 2014. The meetings were
set up to encourage public input on options for
changing the way deer licenses are distributed,
because of a significant reduction in the state’s
In 2014 Game and Fish allocated 48,000 deer gun
season licenses, compared to more than 140,000
licenses as recently as 2008.
In addition, Game and Fish used the recent fall
round of district advisory board meetings to further
discuss the resulting proposal. “Over the past
year,” Steinwand said, “we’ve had a thorough and
healthy discussion on the Department’s role in
For instance, in 2013 about 10,000 hunters had both
gun and bow licenses, while just over 20,000
prospective hunters who applied for a gun license
did not receive any type of deer license.
“This was a social issue more than it was a
biological issue,” Steinwand said, “but it is Game
and Fish’s responsibility to address how our
policies and regulations affect hunters as well as
wildlife. We will continue to look at all feasible
alternatives for future years that will provide
opportunity for the most hunters possible.”
Ice Awareness for Hunters, Anglers
Winter anglers and late-season hunters are reminded
to consider ice conditions before traveling onto and
across North Dakota lakes, as most small and mid-sized
waters currently give the appearance of safe foot
State Game and Fish Department boat and water safety
coordinator Nancy Boldt said ice thickness is never
consistent, especially this time of the year, and can
vary significantly within a few inches. “The edges
become firm before the center,” Boldt said. “So, with
your first step the ice might seem like it is strong
enough, but it may not be anywhere near solid enough
once you progress away from the shoreline.”
This was apparent last weekend as one hunter experienced
this while trying to retrieve a duck that had landed on
ice. “He went through up to his neck and his waders
filled with water, and the freezing temperature
instantly took his breath away,” Boldt said. “He was
extremely fortunate to be able to pull himself out, as
most people would not have been able to with the extra
Boldt said some tips include:
- Snow insulates ice, which in turn inhibits solid
ice formation, and hides cracks, weak and open water
- Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker
areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice
that forms around partially submerged trees, brush,
embankments or other structures.
- Ice thickness is not consistent and can vary
significantly even in a small area. Ice shouldn’t be
judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill
test holes as they make their way out on the lake,
and an ice chisel should be used to check ice
thickness while moving around.
- Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand
and contract, affecting its strength.
- The following minimums are recommended for
travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal
conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good
idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches
for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a
snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for
an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.
These tips could help save a life:
- Wear a personal flotation device and carry a
- Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull
yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
- If someone breaks through the ice, call 911
immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long
pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If
that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket,
empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the
victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a
human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each
person holding the feet of the person in front.
- To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with
dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a