Archive of Hunting Reports

March2012

Whooping Cranes Migrating Through North Dakota

Posted: March 26, 2012

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 at (701) 387-4397, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s main office in Bismarck at (701) 328-6300, or to local game wardens around 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.

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Game and Fish Advisory Board Meetings Announced

Posted:

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meeting in their area.

These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel. One of the main agenda items for this round of advisory meetings is North Dakota deer management and possible deer gun license numbers for fall 2012.

The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.

Any person who requires an auxiliary aid or service must notify the contact person at least five days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

District 3 – Counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.

Location: Community Center, Leeds

Host: Leeds/York Wildlife Club

Contact: Rick Darling, 466-2436

Advisory board member: Tracy Gardner, Devils Lake, 662-5639 

District 3 – Counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner

Date: April 9 – 7 p.m.

Location: Community Center, Leeds

Host: Leeds/York Wildlife Club

Contact: Rick Darling, 466-2436

Advisory board member: Tracy Gardner, Devils Lake, 662-5639

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New CRP General Sign-up, Initiatives Provide Opportunities

Posted: March 14, 2012

Producers interested in submitting bids to enroll land in Conservation Reserve Program acres have a deadline of April 6.

Kevin Kading, North Dakota Game and Fish Department private land section leader, said applications received during the current sign-up period are ranked against others according to the Environmental Benefit Index.

“Producers can receive assistance from private land biologists with the Game and Fish Department, Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever,” Kading said. “Private land biologists can help producers find the best possible combination of factors that will positively influence their EBI score, and increase their likelihood of being accepted into the program.”

The Game and Fish Department also offers additional incentives and cost-share if producers enroll their CRP acres into the department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen program to allow walk-in access for hunting. “This is an option producers should keep in mind when applying for the CRP,” Kading said.

Expired CRP acres, and land currently enrolled in CRP with an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2012 are eligible. In addition, landowners may also offer new acreage into this sign-up if cropping history and other eligibility requirements are met.

In addition, U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced on March 2 a new CRP initiative that allows producers nationwide to enroll up to 1 million acres of land in a new CRP initiative to restore grasslands, wetlands and wildlife. This new allocation of acres will be available through a continuous sign-up rather than a general signup. North Dakota has not yet received its allocation of acres for this initiative, but information will soon be available through local county USDA Farm Service Agency offices.

Producers can contact any of the following biologists for more information about the general sign-up or the new CRP initiative, or attend a local workshop listed below. Information on how producers can maximize their EBI score is also available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

NDGF Private Land Biologists

  • Ty Dressler, Dickinson – 227-7431 (Stark, Hettinger, Adams, Slope, Bowman)
  • Levi Jacobson, Bismarck – 328-6647 (Burleigh, Emmons, Kidder, Oliver)
  • Nate Harling, Devils Lake – 662-3617 (Bottineau, Rolette, Towner, Cavalier, Ramsey, Pembina, Walsh, Grand Forks, Nelson)
  • Todd Buckley, Williston – 774-4320 (Divide, Burke, Williams, Mountrail, McKenzie)
  • Terry Oswald, Jr., Lonetree – 324-2211 (Sheridan, Wells, Eddy, Foster, Benson, Pierce)
  • Renae Heinle, Jamestown – 253-6480 (Stutsman, Barnes, Lamoure, Dickey, Sargent, Griggs, Cass, Richland, Ransom, Steele, Traill, McIntosh, Logan)
  • Ryan Huber, Riverdale – 654-7475 (McLean, Mercer, McHenry, Ward, Renville)
  • Kory Richardson, Lake Ilo NWR – 548-8110 (Dunn, Billings, Golden Valley)
  • Jon Roaldson, Bismarck – 328-6308 (Grant, Morton and Sioux)

Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Biologists

  • Rachel Bush, Jamestown – 252-2521 ext. 129 (Stutsman, Barnes, LaMoure)
  • Matthew Flintrop, Dickinson – 225-3811 ext. 118 (Stark, Hettinger, Billings and other western counties)
  • Matt Olson, Forman – 724-3247 ext. 114 (Sargent, Richland, Ransom, Dickey)
  • Jaden Honeyman, Hettinger – 567-2661 ext. 113 (Adams, Bowman, Slope and other western counties)
  • Andrew Ahrens, Devils Lake – 701-662-7967 (Ramsey, Benson, Nelson)

Ducks Unlimited Conservation Program Biologists

  • Matthew Shappell, Napoleon – 754-2234 ext. 3 (McIntosh, Logan, Kidder)
  • Vacant, Turtle Lake – 448-2377 (McLean, Burleigh, Sheridan)

Pheasants Forever CRP Landowner Workshops

  • March 14 – Streeter, Friends Bar and Grill, 2 p.m.
  • March 15 – Spiritwood, Spiritwood Bar, 2 p.m.
  • March 15 – Pingree, Pingree Café, 10 a.m.
  • March 19 – Dickinson, Elks Lodge, 11:30 a.m.
  • March 20 – Mott, Pheasant Café and Lodge, 11:30 a.m.
  • March 26 – Dickinson, Elks Lodge, 11:30 a.m.
  • March 26 – Hettinger, Hettinger Research Extension Center, 1 p.m.

March 27 – Mott, Pheasant Café and Lodge, 11:30 a.m.

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WARNING

Posted: March 13, 2012

Warning Ice Fishermen – Fishing is good, ice is getting bad in some areas on Devils Lake. 

  Please Remember to Take Caution When on the Ice.

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Youth Grant Program Recruits Young Hunters

Posted: March 12, 2012

Wildlife, shooting, civic and fraternal organizations are encouraged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a grant program developed to assist in recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.

Grant funds will help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.

Past funding has enabled several groups to conduct youth pheasant and waterfowl hunts, while others have sponsored trap and other shooting events, including archery and rifle shooting.

Any club or organization interested in conducting a youth hunting or shooting event can get more information, including a grant application, from North Dakota Game and Fish Department outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at (701) 328-6332.

The deadline to apply for a 2012 grant is April 21.

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Deer Harvest Down in 2011

Posted:

As expected, North Dakota deer hunters took fewer deer last fall than in previous years, according to harvest statistics recently finalized by the State Game and Fish Department.

Slightly more than 95,000 hunters took more than 49,000 deer during the 2011 deer gun season. Hunter success was 51 percent, down from 64 percent in 2010 and well below the annual average of 70 percent during the past decade.

Randy Kreil, wildlife chief, said the final numbers were somewhat expected due to low deer numbers in many parts of the state following three consecutive difficult winters, and a past aggressive harvest approach on antlerless deer in units with deer numbers above management goals.

“There is no question our deer population has been reduced because of these factors,” Kreil said. “This mild winter is exactly what is needed for the population to start rebounding. However, hunters should expect a lot fewer licenses this fall.”

The Game and Fish Department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in the 2012 deer proclamation. These recommendations will be discussed at the upcoming Game and Fish advisory board meetings, scheduled for the week of April 9-13. The proclamation will be sent to the governor’s office for approval in late April.

A number of population indices determine license numbers, including harvest rates, aerial surveys, deer-vehicle collision reports, depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.

Game and Fish made available 109,900 deer gun licenses in 2011, with more than 97 percent issued to hunters.

Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 53 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 53 percent.

Mule deer buck success was 54 percent, while mule deer doe hunters had a success rate of 59 percent.

Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses almost exclusively harvest white-tailed deer. These buck hunters had a success rate of 50 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 54 percent.

Hunters drawing a muzzleloader license had a success rate of 35 percent, while young hunters during the youth season had a success rate of 48 percent.

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All Hunting Reports

2012
2011