Archive of Hunting Reports

June2012

Fall Turkey Applications due July 5

Posted: June 26, 2012

Applications for this fall’s turkey season must be in the mail and postmarked before midnight July 5. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply in the first lottery.

Prospective hunters can apply online, or print an application, at the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Applications can also be submitted by calling (800) 406-6409. Online or phone applications must be logged before midnight July 5.

Application forms are also available at most license vendors, county auditors and Game and Fish offices.

The fall turkey season opens Oct. 13 and continues through Jan. 13, 2013.

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Fireworks Prohibited on Wildlife Management Areas

Posted: June 20, 2012

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds citizens that lighting fireworks on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

The primary objective of a wildlife management area is to enhance wildlife production, provide hunting and fishing opportunities, and offer other outdoor recreational and educational uses. Only activities that would not disrupt the intentions of how these areas are managed are encouraged, and a fireworks display is not compatible.

Excessive noise and commotion that come with fireworks disturbs wildlife, and their explosive nature is a potential source of wildfires. Chances of a wildfire developing are greatly enhanced when explosives, such as fireworks, come in contact with tall grasses in rural areas.

A complete list of the WMA regulations is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

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Spring Duck Index Up, Water Conditions Down

Posted: June 19, 2012

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey showed an index of 4.8 million birds, up 16 percent from last year and 112 percent above the long-term average (1948-2011). The 2012 index is the third highest on record.

All species were well above the long-term average. Wigeon (+88 percent) and green-winged teal (+221 percent) were at record highs. Mallards, gadwall, blue-winged teal, shovelers, redheads and ruddy ducks exceeded the long-term average by more than 100 percent.

Only pintails, shovelers and canvasbacks were down more than 10 percent from last year, and mallards were essentially unchanged. Blue-winged teal were at their highest level since 2001, missing the record high by less than 1 percent.

“Excellent production last summer brought many breeding pairs back to the state,” said Mike Szymanski, waterfowl biologist. “Fortunately, there was still enough habitat to attract them to North Dakota.”

The spring water index was down 57 percent from 2011 and 6 percent from the long-term average. Compared to last year, Szymanski said water indices observed on individual transects were all down 50-65 percent. The water index is based on basins with water, and does not necessarily represent the amount of water contained in wetlands.

“Water conditions were good in larger wetlands, but the lack of snow this past winter and the lack of significant spring rains reduced the number of temporary and seasonal wetlands,” Szymanski said. “Undoubtedly, many wetlands dried up within days of completing the survey.”

Additionally, nesting cover in North Dakota continues to decline. During the survey, Szymanski noted many large tracts of grassland and Conservation Reserve Program land had been converted to cropland since last year. “North Dakota currently has about 2.3 million acres of CRP, which is down about 30 percent from 2007,” Szymanski added. “Projections are that more than 650,000 acres will be lost in 2012, and an additional 1.1 million acres will be lost in 2013-14. The loss of critical nesting cover will be disastrous for breeding ducks, other nesting birds and hunting opportunities in the future.”

The July brood survey will provide a better idea of duck production and insight into expectations for this fall. Observations to date indicate prospects for good production across the state given abundant breeding pairs and average wetland conditions.

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Summer Safety on the Water

Posted: June 12, 2012

Failure to wear a personal floatation device is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents.

The National Safe Boating Council warns boaters that most drowning victims had a life jacket available, but were not wearing it when they entered the water. “It is difficult to put a life jacket on once you are already in the water,” said Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. “The single most important part of safety on the water is wearing a personal flotation device.”

North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats of less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft users to wear a life jacket, Boldt said, as well as anyone towed on skis, tubes, boards or other similar devices.

Water users should make sure to wear life jackets that are the appropriate size, and in good condition. It is also important that children wear a PFD while swimming.

When purchasing a PFD, Boldt suggests considering the most prevalent water activity. Water skiers and tubers should wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than one with a zipper, because straps are stronger than zippers upon impact with water. Anglers or persons paddling a canoe should opt for a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear for an entire outing.

Water skiers and tubers are reminded it takes three to ski and tube. When a person is towed on water skis or a similar device, an observer other than the operator is required on the vessel.

It is important for swimmers to know water depth, as serious injuries can occur from diving into water. Large objects hidden below the water’s surface can lead to significant injury.

North Dakota boaters also are reminded that marine VHF radios are an important part of boat safety that should not be improperly used by operators. Boldt said they are intended for boat operators who are in distress and facing an emergency situation.

Regulations to help ensure safe boating this summer are found in the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide. A more comprehensive listing is available in the North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide or the Boat North Dakota education book. These guides are available online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, by email at ndgf@nd.gov, or at a local Game and Fish Department office.

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Fall Turkey Season Set, Apply Online

Posted:

North Dakota’s fall turkey season is set with 4,145 licenses available to hunters, a decrease of 10 percent from last year.

Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department, said harvest and population data from hunting units in the southwest and in some units in the central part of the state indicate poor production and chick recruitment from 2008-2011.

“Even though last winter was beneficial to our turkey population, we don’t know what turkey production will be like, and the number of breeding adult birds is lower than in past years,” Kohn said. “If turkey production is exceptionally good this spring, an additional 1,300 licenses may be used early this fall in specific hunting units.”

An experimental hunting season will continue for the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan. A maximum of 30 licenses will be available. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department once a person first obtains a permit from USDA-ARS.

An experimental turkey bow hunting season will continue within the city of Bismarck to help control a growing population of birds in residential areas. A maximum of 25 licenses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals who are licensed to bow hunt deer within the city. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department in Bismarck once a person has a valid city archery permit.

Hunting units 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) and 53 (Divide and Williams counties) will remain closed to fall turkey hunting in 2012 because of low turkey numbers.

The fall wild turkey season extends from Oct. 13 through Jan. 13, 2013.

Prospective hunters, including gratis applicants, can apply online, or print out an application to mail, at the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available in mid-June from Game and Fish Department offices, county auditors and license vendors.

Applications are also accepted at the department’s toll-free licensing line, (800) 406-6409. A service fee is added for license applications made over the phone.

Applications for the fall season must be postmarked no later than July 5. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply in the first lottery. Nonresidents can apply for fall turkey licenses that are still available following the first lottery.

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Boats Need Proper Registration

Posted: June 11, 2012

Boat owners are reminded to display a blue and white validation sticker with an expiration year of “13” on their watercraft.

The current three-year registration cycle runs through Dec. 31, 2013. All boat registrations with an orange decal expired Dec. 31, 2010.

For information on how to attach the number and validation sticker to a boat, refer to page 10 of the 2011-13 North Dakota Boat and Water Safety Guide.

Boat registrations can be renewed online at the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, by accessing the online services link, and “watercraft registration and renewals” under the watercraft heading.

Boat owners who need a renewal notice should contact the North Dakota Game and Fish Department by email at ndgf@nd.gov, or call (701) 328-6335.

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.

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