Archive of Hunting Reports

August2014

2 Words Describe Devils Lake in Fall: Ducks & Fish!

Posted: August 21, 2014

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“Devils Lake is very blessed,” said Kyle Blanchfield, owner of Woodland Resort, located on the shores of this popular North Dakota lake.  “We have one of the best walleye lakes in North America combined with one of the best waterfowl spots anywhere.”  The widely acclaimed fishing (walleyes, pike, white bass and perch) continues through the fall season, when sportsmen enjoy the added bonus of duck hunting.

North Dakota Wildlife Resource Management Supervisor Brian Prince said, “Based on the last 10 years, the Devils Lake area is on the upper end of duck broods.”  Assessing the Annual Duck Brood Survey and field observations, he said, “Compared to previous years, this year is looking really very good.”  Waterfowl season opens Sept. 27 for residents, and for non-residents Oct. 4.

snowgeeseBlanchfield described a typical fall hunting day.  Resort guests stay in either motel-style rooms, lodge units, or cabins (1, 2, or 3 bedrooms) with full kitchens.  Guides spend the previous afternoon and evening scouting for the very best locations.  Hunters head out to the most active fields in three different counties in the guide’s vehicles before daylight.  Hunters usually have their limits by late morning and are back at noon for lunch.

“The best part of the experience,” he said, “Is when guests take advantage of a 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. guided fishing afternoon with the experts from Mitchell’s Guide Service.  Fall is tops for big walleyes.”

He has operated the oldest waterfowl hunting operation in North Dakota for 27 years, and also owns the Northern Flight Guide Service, with hunting venues in 30 different states.  “This year, Devils Lake duck numbers are very strong.  With all the late hatches, this season will be as good as it gets,” Blanchfield said.  “Then, about mid-October to freeze-up, the snow geese arrive.”

fallwalleyewithmitchellAnother local outfitter on the water or in the field nearly every day all year long is Jason Feldner.  He owns Perch-Eyes Guide Service and Outfitting, and has been running combined fall fishing and hunting packages for 13 years.  He has a number of lodging units including houses that sleep 10, and several cabins for five hunters.  “Here, we take care of our guests morning to night, drive them to the hunting spots, and provide lodging, morning hunts and afternoon fishing,” he said.  “This cast and blast package (4 nights and 3 days) fits budgets and time available for most groups.”

Feldner’s guides field hunt for mallards and the main lake for divers.  “We go where we can put our guests on the best possible situation, even hunting potholes,” he said.  His sense of the fall waterfowl season is that the local ducks are “all over, perhaps in higher numbers than ever.”

Feldner described the walleye fishing this summer as “phenomenal,” with 150 to 200 walleyes boated per guide trip fairly common.  “Catching more than 100 walleyes in a six-hour trip is normal,” he said.  “We keep limits of 17 to 20 inch walleyes.”  Walleyes are only part of the catch, because northern pike are caught using the same tactics.  Vertical jigging or trolling crankbaits are two favorite methods.  Perch start schooling in the fall and offer another bonus.  Daily limits are 5 walleyes, 10 in possession; 5 pike, 10 in possession; 20 perch; 80 in possession.  “This amazing action lasts until mid-November, when we take a breather and gear up for ice fishing season which usually kicks-off by Dec. 10,” he said.

Details for the latest hunting and fishing news can be found at devilslakend.com.  The website also lists information about Devils Lake fishing and hunting guides and the latest reports, lake conditions, access points, history, current events, resorts, and restaurant news plus a helpful map.  The lake has expanded to 220,000 acres today compared to about 40,000 acres 25 years ago, swallowing marshes, woodlands, ponds, shelter belts, and farmlands.  This habitat created a rich environment for the food that the lake’s popular species – walleyes, perch, northern pike and white bass eat.  It also provides ample habitat for the many local and migrating ducks and geese that either live there or stop on their way south.

A 20 x 32 heated fish-cleaning station located on Hwy 20 south of the City of Devils Lake is open to the public, with two grinders, a clean-up sink and bathrooms.  Blanchfield said, “We cater to sportsmen; make your plans now.”

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2014 Waterfowl Regulations Set

Posted: August 18, 2014

North Dakota’s 2014 waterfowl season has been set, with noteworthy changes including a daily bag of one canvasback during the season, and an additional two blue-winged teal during the first 16 days of the season.

 

Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 27 for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Oct. 4. The season for swans opens Oct. 4 for both residents and nonresidents.

 

Hunters may take six ducks per day with the following restrictions: five mallards of which two may be hens, three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two pintails and one canvasback. An additional two blue-winged teal can be taken from Sept. 27 through Oct. 12. The daily limit of five mergansers may include no more than two hooded mergansers. For ducks and mergansers, the possession limit is three times the daily limit.

 

The hunting season for Canada geese in the Missouri River zone will close Jan. 2, 2015, while the remainder of the state will close Dec. 25. The season for whitefronts closes Dec. 7, while the season on light geese is open through Jan. 4, 2015. Shooting hours for all geese are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Nov. 1. Beginning Nov. 2, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.

 

Extended shooting hours for all geese are permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Wednesdays through Nov. 26, and on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from Nov. 29 through the end of each season.

 

The bag limit for Canada geese during the regular season is eight daily and 24 in possession, except in the Missouri River zone where the limit is five daily and 15 in possession.

 

The daily limit on whitefronts is two with six in possession, and light goose is 50 daily, with no possession limit.

 

The special youth waterfowl hunting season is Sept. 20-21. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents 15 years of age or younger can hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and geese statewide. Youth hunters must have a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. A licensed adult of at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field.

 

Nonresidents have the option of buying either a statewide waterfowl license or one with zone restrictions. Nonresidents who designate zones 1 or 2 may hunt that zone for only one seven-day period during the season. Nonresident hunters who chose to hunt in zone 1 or 2 and wish to use the full 14 consecutive days allowed, must use the other seven days in zone 3. Hunters in zone 3 can hunt that zone the entire 14 days.

 

In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from Oct. 11-17.

 

All migratory bird hunters, including waterfowl, must register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. Hunters purchasing a license from the Game and Fish Department can easily get a HIP number. Otherwise, hunters must call 888-634-4798, or log on to the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, provide the registration information, and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who HIP registered to hunt this spring’s light goose season or early fall Canada goose season do not have to register again, as it is required only once per year.

 

Hunters should refer to the 2014 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide for further details on the waterfowl season. Paper copies will be at license vendors in early September.

 

For more information visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Website at gf.nd.gov

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