North Dakota’s Winter Waterfowl Survey Shows Fewer Canada Geese

February 16, 2017 by  

North Dakota’s Winter Waterfowl Survey Shows Fewer Canada Geese

For a biologist, getting out in the field and collecting data is an important and usually enjoyable part of the job. While I don’t spend as much time in the field as a specific wildlife or fisheries biologist, I do have a variety of assignments that come up unexpectedly, like checking for zebra mussels and […]

North Dakota’s Watchable Wildlife Program Supports Nongame Species

February 9, 2017 by  

North Dakota’s Watchable Wildlife Program Supports Nongame Species

Looking out my urban backyard, even in the middle of a bone chilling North Dakota morning, it’s always a treat to see a few squirrels, red poles, chickadees and other backyard birds scrounging around for a little mid-winter food. I’m fortunate my kids love watchable wildlife even more than I do. Over the years I’ve […]

Top 10 Game and Fish Violations in 2016

February 2, 2017 by  

Top 10 Game and Fish Violations in 2016

Many hunters and anglers might assume that when it comes to game warden’s work, a good share of which involves checking hunters, anglers and boaters for license and regulation compliance, that the most common violations would involve hunting in general, and deer hunting more specifically. So it might come as a surprise to many that […]

Give Wildlife Plenty of Space This Winter

January 25, 2017 by  

Give Wildlife Plenty of Space This Winter

I’ve been getting peppered with questions about winter and wildlife since the snow began to fall and the wind started to blow back in late November and early December. Until just recently, the snow continued to accumulate, and the wind continued to blow it around, while temperatures plunged below zero at night more often than […]

Winter a Busy Time for North Dakota Game and Fish Department

January 18, 2017 by  

Winter a Busy Time for North Dakota Game and Fish Department

Late January is sometimes considered a time when not much is going on in North Dakota’s outdoors. But this year with new boat registrations coming in, winter deer surveys in progress and the state legislature in session, it’s a busy time at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Here’s a recap of a few […]

Time For Next Generation to Take Hunter Education Course

January 13, 2017 by  

Time For Next Generation to Take Hunter Education Course

Sunday, Jan. 8 was the official end date for archery deer, pheasant, grouse, partridge and turkey seasons in North Dakota. Just one month after that comes the application deadline for a 2017 spring turkey license, followed closely by the spring snow goose opener. What makes those dates somewhat significant beyond putting them on your calendar, […]

2016 North Dakota Game and Fish Highlights

January 6, 2017 by  

2016 North Dakota Game and Fish Highlights

Last year at this time we were at the start of a mild winter and were looking at what that might mean for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in 2016. While not everything turned out exactly as envisioned, it was a good year on many fronts. Here’s a look at some of the […]

North Dakota 2017 Hunting Season Info

December 28, 2016 by  

North Dakota 2017 Hunting Season Info

In a way, it doesn’t seem fair to start planning for 2017 fall hunting seasons even before some of the 2016 seasons have closed, but for some it’s not too early to block out dates on a calendar. Whether it’s planning vacation time or just initiating the anticipation process following recent closure of your favorite […]

Get Spearfishing This Winter

December 21, 2016 by  

Get Spearfishing This Winter

Did you spend any time on the ice last winter, spearing in North Dakota? If you did, you were part of a record 4,328 participants who registered to darkhouse spearfish, an increase of nearly 1,000 from 2014-15. One of the likely reasons for that is that North Dakota has set records for the number of […]

Ice Fishing This Season

December 19, 2016 by  

Ice Fishing This Season

Anglers are on the ice in many areas of the Midwest. Following are some considerations for better ice fishing this season. Be safe on the ice. Even if you see other people out there, keep in mind that ice will sometimes have flaws. Be careful where you’re walking and where you’re driving on the ice. […]

Plenty of Hunting Opportunities Remain in 2016

December 14, 2016 by  

Plenty of Hunting Opportunities Remain in 2016

For many, enjoying North Dakota’s outdoors in December means waiting for the ice to firm up for ice fishing, darkhouse spearfishing, or maybe muskrat trapping. But there’s no shortage of other things to do in the next few weeks while the ice is taking its time. While most of the good duck, pheasant, goose and […]

How the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Changed Waterfowl Hunting

December 7, 2016 by  

How the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Changed Waterfowl Hunting

As I write this the first winter weather of 2016 is turning an extended fall into the reality of a typical November, which means ducks and geese on the move, and in many parts of North Dakota that can create quite a spectacle – for hunters and others who just enjoy observing migrating waterfowl on […]

Hunting and Fishing Expectations

November 30, 2016 by  

Hunting and Fishing Expectations

When it comes to conversations about hunting and fishing, it’s pretty easy to understand when someone relates they caught a five-pound walleye or bagged a limit of mallards. For me, those references bring to mind a stream of different fish and fowl I’ve seen, caught or shot for a comparative point of reference. But when […]

North Dakota Game and Fish Public Meetings Scheduled

November 23, 2016 by  

North Dakota Game and Fish Public Meetings Scheduled

Several decades ago, the state legislature created an advisory board for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. One of the results of that is that each fall and spring, advisory board members host public meetings in their district. These public meetings provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask […]

Wildlife Refuges Ready To Welcome Upland Game Hunting

November 16, 2016 by  

Wildlife Refuges Ready To Welcome Upland Game Hunting

When North Dakota’s regular deer gun season closes – this year on Sunday, Nov. 20 – it’s kind of a bittersweet end to the traditional hunting calendar for a lot of folks. But for some avid upland bird hunters, the end of deer gun season is a new beginning of sorts, as most of the […]

What to Do If You See Feral Pigs in North Dakota

November 9, 2016 by  

What to Do If You See Feral Pigs in North Dakota

As thousands of deer hunters fan out across the state over the 16.5-day deer gun season, many others who didn’t draw a license will enjoy some duck and goose hunting before the waters lock up with ice. Pheasant season will continue to provide more field time, along with archery deer hunters too. The North Dakota […]

Answers To Your Deer Hunting Questions

November 2, 2016 by  

Answers To Your Deer Hunting Questions

Even if hunters are enjoying the variety of fall hunting seasons – from ducks, geese, pheasants and grouse – November is deer season, and most of the questions coming in have to do with deer or deer hunting. Hunters with further questions are encouraged to call the Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6300, from 8 […]

North Dakota Deer Season Reminders

October 27, 2016 by  

North Dakota Deer Season Reminders

North Dakota’s deer season is no longer weeks away, and if you haven’t had time to work through the list of reminders, you are not alone. That’s why every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department provides the answers to questions asked by deer hunters who want to clarify rules and regulations. Some common […]

Eight North Dakota hunters ready for bighorn sheep season

October 24, 2016 by  

Eight North Dakota hunters ready for bighorn sheep season

North Dakota’s bighorn sheep season opener on Oct. 28 will come and go with little fanfare, except from eight hunters who are excitedly gearing up for their one and only chance to hunt these special animals in the state. It’s a big deal for biologists at the State Game and Fish Department, too, because at […]

How North Dakota Works With Private Land Owners

October 12, 2016 by  

How North Dakota Works With Private Land Owners

Last week’s column on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program generated some questions about other agency efforts to work with private landowners. The PLOTS program falls under the Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Initiative, which is designed to work with private landowners on managing wildlife and […]

North Dakota PLOTS Program in 2016

October 5, 2016 by  

North Dakota PLOTS Program in 2016

Not long ago I had a conversation with caller on the current status of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s popular Private Land Open to Sportsmen program. Rather than try to explain the long history of the PLOTS program, which in its current form got its start nearly 20 years ago, I directed him […]

North Dakota Pheasants – By the Numbers

September 28, 2016 by  

North Dakota Pheasants – By the Numbers

North Dakota’s pheasant season is just around the corner, but before we take a look at the prospects for hunters on opening day, let’s glance in the rear view mirror for a recent historical recap. Last year, about 85,000 resident and nonresident hunters bagged about 590,000 roosters. That was up just slightly from the 587,000 […]

Know Where You’re Hunting

September 21, 2016 by  

Know Where You’re Hunting

I’ve learned over the years working and playing outdoors to always pack extra boots and socks, plan to leave early and get home a little bit late. Jumper cables, a tow rope and extra sandwich are worth turning around and going back to get. Beyond that, one of my go-to bits of advice refers to […]

2016 North Dakota Waterfoul Info

September 14, 2016 by  

2016 North Dakota Waterfoul Info

Let’s cut to the chase this week and get to the important details of the 2016 waterfowl hunting seasons. Technically, they already started with early goose in mid-August, and now continue on with youth weekend, the resident opener and regular opener on three consecutive weekend. The youth waterfowl weekend  is Sept. 17 and 18, and […]

North Dakota Continues Fight Against CWD

September 7, 2016 by  

North Dakota Continues Fight Against CWD

A decade ago, North Dakota still did not have its first documented case of chronic wasting disease in a wild deer. However, since every bordering state or province had at that time documented CWD in wild or farmed deer herds, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department had already adopted its first rules and regulations […]

North Dakota Hunting Regulation and License Changes

August 31, 2016 by  

North Dakota Hunting Regulation and License Changes

This time of year it seems like every week there is new information coming out about hunting seasons or regulations or license applications. Here’s a recap of some recent topics from North Dakota Game and Fish news. Small Game and Furbearer Regulations North Dakota’s 2016 small game and furbearer regulations are set and most season […]

What You Need To Know Before Bow Hunting Season Opens

August 24, 2016 by  

What You Need To Know Before Bow Hunting Season Opens

Archery deer hunting has expanded in popularity in North Dakota over the years. Even as deer numbers have fallen from record highs a decade ago, bow license sales have increased. With North Dakota’s archery deer season opening Friday, Sept. 2 at 12 noon Central time, it’s a good time for a few reminders on some […]

How Hunters Help the Harvest Information Program

August 17, 2016 by  

How Hunters Help the Harvest  Information Program

For hunters my age, the acronym HIP associated with the outdoors isn’t anything new. While anywhere beyond two decades ago, HIP might have meant “aware” or “fashionable,” to those of us familiar with the migratory bird hunting world today, it also refers to the Harvest Information Program. What is HIP? HIP is a survey method […]

Early Canada Goose Season Opens August 15

August 10, 2016 by  

Early Canada Goose Season Opens August 15

These days, spending time outdoors in August is no longer just about winding down the fishing season and starting the planning and preparation for hunting seasons that start in September and October. For hunters of my generation and older, perhaps that’s still a back-of-the-mind thought process, but for nearly a generation of young hunters, the […]

Record Walleye Fingerlings Released in North Dakota

August 3, 2016 by  

Record Walleye Fingerlings Released in North Dakota

Walleye are the most popular fish for a good share of North Dakota anglers, so it was good news when the State Game and Fish Department announced a couple of weeks ago that this summer’s walleye production effort hit record marks for both the number of fingerlings produced, and number of lakes stocked. It wasn’t […]

North Dakota Pronghorn Numbers on the Rise

July 27, 2016 by  

North Dakota Pronghorn Numbers on the Rise

Most North Dakotans can relate to the trials and tribulations of how fragile it is to grow a crop of any kind in the extremes of the Midwest. And it doesn’t matter whether the crop is thousands of acres of wheat or a few square feet of backyard tomatoes. It’s not much different with annual […]

Spring Survey Info Announced for Pheasants and Sharp-Tailed Grouse

July 20, 2016 by  

Spring Survey Info Announced for Pheasants and Sharp-Tailed Grouse

In July most people are still associating the outdoors with fishing, boating or camping, but it’s also a time when talk of hunting starts working its way into conversations. And that seems only logical, considering the early Canada goose season, the first major 2016 “fall” hunting season, opens on Aug. 15 with, officially speaking, still […]

Duck Numbers Down Slightly in North Dakota

July 13, 2016 by  

Duck Numbers Down Slightly in North Dakota

During mid-July we obviously note the sun is setting a bit earlier, the small grains are nearing harvest and the August 15 early Canada goose opener is nearing and hunters can begin to form plans for the fall hunting seasons. In the past few weeks the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has released some […]

Fishing Is Great…Even When You Aren’t Catching

July 6, 2016 by  

Fishing Is Great…Even When You Aren’t Catching

Ask me how fishing is, and I’ll reply that fishing is always great; it always has been and always will be. For me, the catching is a different story and tends to be a bit overrated, to tell you the truth. But perhaps my prowess at catching helped change my goals and fishing philosophy over […]

Be Courteous in Public Outdoor Areas This Summer

June 29, 2016 by  

Be Courteous in Public Outdoor Areas This Summer

Most people who enjoy the outdoors realize the level of enjoyment and satisfaction provided by not simply just getting away from it all or peace and quiet, but the smell or nature and the refreshing body cleanse the outdoors provides. All this for comes essentially free of charge. When the campsite is still blaring rock […]

Meadowlark Sightings Declining in North Dakota

June 22, 2016 by  

Meadowlark Sightings Declining in North Dakota

A few years ago on a Sunday drive near the edge of West Fargo, creeping along with no particular route in mind, one of my kids let out the proverbial, “look.” Instinctively I took my foot of the gas – not that slowing from 10 mph down to 5 would make much of a difference […]

Fish Stocking Taking Place Across North Dakota

June 15, 2016 by  

Fish Stocking Taking Place Across North Dakota

Starting in late May, the State Game and Fish Department’s aerated fish stocking trailers are on the road almost nonstop for several weeks, delivering the year’s crop of hatchery-raised northern pike and walleye fingerlings to lakes and rivers around North Dakota. First will come northern pike, followed a couple of weeks later by walleye with […]

How To Prevent Transport Nuisance Species in North Dakota

June 8, 2016 by  

How To Prevent Transport Nuisance Species in North Dakota

One of the many North Dakota hometowns I claim is LaMoure, in the southeastern part of the state. The James River runs by just off the western edge of town, and it was there, at a popular fishing spot called the James River Damsite, that some of the first Asian carp in the state were […]

Tips for a quick and hassle free boat launch

June 1, 2016 by  

Tips for a quick and hassle free boat launch

Even with more places to fish, boat and enjoy the water than ever before in North Dakota, the increase in opportunity also means an increase in anglers, boats and personal watercraft. It’s a unique combination that can lead to isolated problems at boat ramps when everyone has the same idea: Get on the water sooner rather […]

Keep Boating Safety In Mind This Summer

May 25, 2016 by  

Keep Boating Safety In Mind This Summer

An early spring ice-out provided a jump start to the 2016 open-water season for North Dakota anglers. Then came a period of rather cool temperatures that slowed water warm-up and delayed other forms of water recreation. Now, however, Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer is at hand, and regardless of water temperatures, […]

Deadline Looming for North Dakota Deer License Applications

May 18, 2016 by  

Deadline Looming for North Dakota Deer License Applications

North Dakota’s 2016 deer gun season opens Nov. 4 at noon and as the saying goes, if you want to participate, you need a deer license, and if you want a license, you need to draw one in the lottery. The first step to drawing a license in the lottery is applying by June 1, […]

Tagged Walleyes Provide Valuable Information

May 11, 2016 by  

Tagged Walleyes Provide Valuable Information

Earlier this spring, biologists from North Dakota and South Dakota tagged the last of some 36,000 walleyes that are part of a comprehensive and long-running study on the Missouri River System in the two states. Since 2013, North Dakota Game and Fish biologists have tagged more than 17,000 of those fish from the Missouri River […]

North Dakota Baitfish Rules

May 4, 2016 by  

North Dakota Baitfish Rules

In late March, the State Game and Fish Department issued a reminder to anglers about the state’s baitfish rules, particularly relating to live white suckers, which are illegal to use anywhere in North Dakota except the Red and Bois de Sioux rivers. Fisheries division chief Greg Power said at the time that the regulation has […]

North Dakota Paddlefish Snagging Season Starts May 1

April 27, 2016 by  

North Dakota Paddlefish Snagging Season Starts May 1

For many, the month of May conjures up images of the first tulips and annual flowers emerging, spotting the first baby goose and even swatting a mosquito. Gardens are planned and planted, jigs and spinners sorted, and we look forward to a walk after supper and spending a little more time outdoors than indoors. And […]

Mild Winter Likely Helped Some Lakes Survive Without Winterkill

April 20, 2016 by  

Mild Winter Likely Helped Some Lakes Survive Without Winterkill

It doesn’t take a biology or chemistry degree to understand fish need water, and it’s no secret the expanded wet cycle since 1993 was the key ingredient in creating a modern version of the good old days in terms of fishing in North Dakota. But reduced snowpack and consequently less fresh spring run-off the last […]

2015 Deer Hunting Success Rates in North Dakota

April 13, 2016 by  

2015 Deer Hunting Success Rates in North Dakota

The spring round of North Dakota Game and Fish Department Advisory Board meetings wrapped up over the last couple of weeks. As usual, the dominant conversations were about deer. The fall round of advisory meetings occurs during the two or three weeks right after deer gun season ends, so it’s logical that deer are the […]

Keep an Eye Out for Whooping Cranes

April 6, 2016 by  

Keep an Eye Out for Whooping Cranes

A few weeks ago my column explained the transition of documenting bald eagle “sightings” from when they were an endangered species, until now when they are no longer endangered. While bald eagles are of course still protected as a national symbol, they are common enough now that individual sightings no longer warrant a special report, […]

North Dakota Fishing Info for 2016-17

March 30, 2016 by  

North Dakota Fishing Info for 2016-17

The early arrival of spring and ice out on lakes this year is providing some additional days for open-water fishing in North Dakota this year. Along with a new license that is needed starting April 1, a new two-year fishing proclamation also kicks in April 1, with a few noteworthy changes from the last two […]

Eagle Nest Sightings on the Rise in North Dakota

March 23, 2016 by  

Eagle Nest Sightings on the Rise in North Dakota

The first robin sighting of the year is one sign queuing up the exit of winter. And while it’s true that you might spot a robin in North Dakota at any time of year, they are a welcome sign that spring is approaching and winter is on the way out. In recent years we’ve started […]

All North Dakota Hunting and Fishing Licenses To Be Electronic

March 16, 2016 by  

All North Dakota Hunting and Fishing Licenses To Be Electronic

Rummaging through drawers on one of the few cold and blustery days of winter, I came across a hidden pocket of stuff. Crushed into the back corners were a few of the “old” paper fishing and hunting licenses I used to buy at a gas station on one of those sneaky warm April days in […]

Time To Apply For Elk, Moose and Sheep Licenses

March 9, 2016 by  

Time To Apply For Elk, Moose and Sheep Licenses

It’s time again for what is affectionately called the “Big Three” application period, and this year has good news on all fronts. The State Game and Fish Department is bumping up the number of elk and moose licenses over last year, and bighorn sheep are back in the mix after a year with no season. […]

Spring Light Goose Season Up and Running

March 2, 2016 by  

Spring Light Goose Season Up and Running

In case you missed, it North Dakota’s spring light goose season opened Saturday Feb. 20 and no it’s not too early of a season. South Dakota’s opened February 15 and Minnesota’s March 1. The first I heard of reports of Canada geese were the weekend of February 20th and even prior to that some reports […]

Why States Conduct Game Surveys

February 24, 2016 by  

Why States Conduct Game Surveys

My job as an outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is varied. I spend a fair amount of time doing media work, but I’m also helping out frequently with other Game and Fish functions such as checking on possible fish kills or fishing access areas, or conducting upland or small game […]

Managing North Dakota’s Mountain Lion Population

February 18, 2016 by  

Managing North Dakota’s Mountain Lion Population

Charismatic megafauna. The first time I heard that term was not in college biology classes or early in my career with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, but at a district advisory board meeting some years ago when a former Game and Fish administrator used it in reference to mountain lions. It’s a term […]

Waterfowl Season Setting Process Changing

February 10, 2016 by  

Waterfowl Season Setting Process Changing

Many people who hunt waterfowl are familiar with a season-setting process that in the northern tier of states is finalized only a few weeks before opening day. Starting this year, however, the process is changing. What was previously a two-cycle regulatory practice – one for waterfowl and one for other migratory birds (doves, cranes) – […]

How To Start A Career In Natural Resources

February 3, 2016 by  

How To Start A Career In Natural Resources

January and February typically generate a few phone calls and emails from parents, teachers, school counselors and high school and college students about careers in the outdoors. I had a conversation with a counselor recently that might help answer some of those questions. The counselor has a student who loves to hunt and fish, and […]

Now is the Time to Get Your Hunter Education

January 28, 2016 by  

Now is the Time to Get Your Hunter Education

Every year, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department certifies between 5,000 and 6,000 hunter education students. This is the time of year when many of those students are looking for classes so they can legally hunt when their chosen season comes around. It’s particularly important for youngsters who will turn 12 prior to the […]

Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment Period Open

January 20, 2016 by  

Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment Period Open

Even after three decades, I still run into people who don’t realize that the Conservation Reserve Program is a federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At its peak in 2007, 36.7 million acres were enrolled in CRP nationally. North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota were among the leaders in CRP enrollment, and […]

Tentative 2016 Opening Dates in North Dakota

January 13, 2016 by  

Tentative 2016 Opening Dates in North Dakota

With most 2015-16 hunting seasons now in the books, many of us are already making plans for next season, whether it’s scheduling vacation, or simply marking a date on a calendar to make sure to NOT schedule anything else for that time. To help hunters get started on those long-range plans, the North Dakota Game […]

2015 and Beyond – Whitetail and Pronghorn Numbers

January 6, 2016 by  

2015 and Beyond – Whitetail and Pronghorn Numbers

Last week I covered some highlights from the 2015 outdoors scene with a look at pheasant and sharp-tailed grouse populations, plus record fishing license sales. While these were some of the many positive outdoor stories from the past year, there’s seldom a year of “perfect” conditions when most or all species are trending higher across […]

2015 and Beyond – Fishing, Pheasant and Grouse

December 30, 2015 by  

2015 and Beyond – Fishing, Pheasant and Grouse

I’ve always enjoyed my final column of the year and first column of the next year, as a kind of closing one door and then looking ahead to what may or may not be coming for the next year. This year, instead of one review and one preview, I’ll cover the past and future for […]

North Dakota Ice Fishing Regulations

December 23, 2015 by  

North Dakota Ice Fishing Regulations

This year winter has kind of softly tiptoed into the Midwest, to the joy of pheasants and deer and somewhat to the dismay of ice anglers and everyone else who likes or needs snow. However, it’s late December and we’re finally getting some better ice fishing conditions, so it’s a good time for a refresher […]

How to stay safe while ice fishing

December 16, 2015 by  

How to stay safe while ice fishing

Walking out of church a couple of weeks ago I overheard a conversation in which the participants were lamenting the December sun and warmer than average start to winter. The gist of the dialogue was something like “…it’s not nice enough to golf and not cold enough to ice fish….” Such are the struggles when […]

Mule Deer, Salmon and Upland Hunting Updates

December 9, 2015 by  

Mule Deer, Salmon and Upland Hunting Updates

With the busy fall hunting seasons I often wish I was able get more important updates worked into my weekly column. From deer to pheasants, ducks and geese – did I forget fall fishing? There’s just such a frantic pace of information and I guess that’s a good thing. Here are a few items that […]

Winter Boat Maitenance

December 2, 2015 by  

Winter Boat Maitenance

Let’s face it, while many people put an unofficial end to open-water fishing months ago, others enjoyed the warm fall and extended their boating and fishing even into November. Then with the rush of deer season, perhaps the annual chore of winterizing the boat is still on the “to do” list. For the most part, […]

Darkhouse Spearfishing Growing in Popularity

November 25, 2015 by  

Darkhouse Spearfishing Growing in Popularity

It’s almost December, and if there’s a transition time for outdoor activities, this is it. I felt it the last week of deer season as rain turned to snow, and the wind blew out the extended fall and brought in more “normal” temperatures. When that happens, it doesn’t take long for serious ice to start […]

Managing the Deer Population for 2016 and Beyond

November 19, 2015 by  

Managing the Deer Population for 2016 and Beyond

As the sun sets on the 2015 deer gun season, the State Game and Fish Department is already well into the process of thinking about next year and beyond. Agency biologists and administrators are close to finalizing a new plan that will guide deer management for the next five years, with a goal of increasing […]

Diseases That Can Affect Deer Populations

November 11, 2015 by  

Diseases That Can Affect Deer Populations

With deer season in full swing, it’s a good time to take a look at a couple of diseases that can influence the state’s deer populations. As we all know, wildlife can get diseases, just like humans. In a recent North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Dr. Dan Grove, the Department’s wildlife veterinarian, shared […]

How to Care For Your Deer in the Field

November 4, 2015 by  

How to Care For Your Deer in the Field

For many deer hunters there’s no spring, summer, fall or winter – only deer season and preparing for deer season. That’s a testament to the level of respect and importance many hunters attach to North Dakota’s deer hunting heritage. In the coming weeks we’ll see pictures, hear stories and weave memories like the farm-to-market dusty […]

Q and A on Deer Hunting Rules and Regulations

October 28, 2015 by  

Q and A on Deer Hunting Rules and Regulations

Every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department receives questions from deer hunters who want to clarify rules and regulations. Some common questions are listed below. Q – What is the proper procedure for tagging a deer? A – The law says upon taking possession of your deer you need to immediately tag it. […]

Pneumonia Outbreak Means No Bighorn Sheep Season

October 21, 2015 by  

Pneumonia Outbreak Means No Bighorn Sheep Season

This is the first fall in many years that North Dakota has not had a bighorn sheep hunting season. Even though the number of licenses has always been low, typically ranging from three to six a year over the last two decades, interest was always high, with odds of receiving one of these once-in-a-lifetime licenses […]

Pheasant Numbers on the Rise in North Dakota

October 14, 2015 by  

Pheasant Numbers on the Rise in North Dakota

Even with reduced deer gun hunting opportunities the past several years, I’ll still argue that deer hunting is king in North Dakota in terms of popularity. More than 70,000 prospective hunters continue to apply for regular deer gun season licenses, maintaining the popularity of deer hunting even though fewer than half the hunters who applied […]

Think Safety This Hunting Season

October 7, 2015 by  

Think Safety This Hunting Season

What are the most important reminders as fall hunting seasons are in full gear? Knowing the limits? Having the right license? Taking a kid hunting? These are all good, but the list below should occupy the top spot. 1. Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm. 2. Control the direction of […]

Fall Hunting Expectations

September 30, 2015 by  

Fall Hunting Expectations

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about our attitudes and perceptions. The back-and-forth went from complaining about the weather to a fear of flying, and it got me to thinking about hunting. A bright sunny day with no wind is usually not very good for duck hunting in October, but such […]

PLOTS Signs a Boon for North Dakota Hunters

September 23, 2015 by  

PLOTS Signs a Boon for North Dakota Hunters

Next to sunflowers, Private Lands Open to Sportsmen signs are probably the most visible yellow objects found across the prairies of North Dakota this autumn. Over the past years, PLOTS signs have become synonymous with quality habitat open for hunting access. The signs mark the boundaries of parcels of private land that landowners have opened […]

Here’s why 1 in 4 North Dakotans Over 16 Bought a Fishing License for 2014-15

September 16, 2015 by  

Here’s why 1 in 4 North Dakotans Over 16 Bought a Fishing License for 2014-15

I bought a fishing license this year, just like I have every year since I turned 16. I bought a license for my wife, and my kids still aren’t old enough to need one (16 or older) but we all fished the past year, just like we do every year. I’m not sure I’d say […]

North Dakota’s 2015 Waterfowl Season Set

September 9, 2015 by  

North Dakota’s 2015 Waterfowl Season Set

One of the final pieces of North Dakota’s fall hunting picture is the setting of waterfowl season. While the moose and elk season was set way back in March, followed by deer, pronghorn, small game and fall turkey, waterfowl must wait until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service establishes the frameworks under which states can […]

Report Poaching Violations to the Proper Authorities

September 2, 2015 by  

Report Poaching Violations to the Proper Authorities

For all the good stories I’m told about an angler’s memorable catch or hunter’s tale of hits or misses, I also hear a fair share of stories without laughs or smiles. These are the stories of illegal activity or suspect practices that people witness or hear about all to frequently. It’s these kinds of stories […]

Hunting Out of State? Check the Chronic Wasting Disease Guidelines

August 26, 2015 by  

Hunting Out of State? Check the Chronic Wasting Disease Guidelines

It was a hot August Saturday and I was at the pool with the kids. It was even too hot to fish. Ironically the conversation turned from water and fish to big game during the dog days of summer. My friend was looking at a possible trip to Wyoming or Montana, and even planning years […]

Expect changes with federal duck stamp this year

August 19, 2015 by  

Expect changes with federal duck stamp this year

In the coming weeks when thousands of North Dakota hunters will go through the annual ritual of buying a federal duck stamp, most people will notice a change or two. One of those changes is a price increase from $15 to $25 passed by Congress and signed into law late last year. It was the […]

How to get in more fishing this summer

August 12, 2015 by  

How to get in more fishing this summer

Usually in August comes the inevitable “I didn’t…” syndrome. You know, “I didn’t fish enough,” or “I didn’t spend enough time on the water.” Before you spend the last precious days/weeks of summer moping around, grousing about time slipping through your fingers, here’s a few tips to help people with even the most harried schedules […]

August goose hunting

August 5, 2015 by  

August goose hunting

With back-to-school ads, high school sports and college students all shifting from summer into fall mode, I’ve started to hear some anglers transition from summer fishing to hunting talk. Which isn’t all that surprising, considering the early Canada goose season opens Aug. 15. What may be surprising is that this early season for resident geese […]

Fall Pronghorn Season is On Its Way

July 29, 2015 by  

Fall Pronghorn Season is On Its Way

I’ve hunted pronghorn in southwestern North Dakota, and seen them in the wild in McIntosh County and Sargent counties, east of the Missouri River and well away from their population center in the state. I’ve also heard of people spotting them in Steele and Traill counties in years past, and no doubt they’ve been sighted […]

Shorefishing is a Surefire Good Time

July 22, 2015 by  

Shorefishing is a Surefire Good Time

Greg Power is the Fisheries Division Chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, so when he speaks of fish or fishing, I stop and listen. The other day I heard him state, “…Lake Sakakawea has more shoreline than the state of California….” I stopped and thought about that for a moment, and then […]

Pheasant Population Counts Up Statewide

July 16, 2015 by  

Pheasant Population Counts Up Statewide

Most hunters don’t apologize if their conversations drift to the coming fall hunting season while they are still enjoying summer fishing, camping or one of many other outdoor activities. We’re prone to keeping one eye on the bobber and another on the calendar while our imagination ponders what the fields and skies might hold this […]

Should Fish Length Limits Be Introduced in North Dakota?

July 8, 2015 by  

Should Fish Length Limits Be Introduced in North Dakota?

Throughout the last 20-plus years, since the drought-busting summer of 1993, many fishing waters in North Dakota have had fish populations that peaked, declined and then peaked even higher. Within that same time period, State Game and Fish Department biologists have had many discussions internally, and with concerned anglers, about whether some type of “length […]

Getting Outside for Some Summer Fishing

July 2, 2015 by  

Getting Outside for Some Summer Fishing

Each July, I promise myself to fish more the rest of the summer. It’s usually because I’m wondering where the first month of summer went and I realize I haven’t gotten out as much as intended … thus far. I do know I’ve never made it to fall freeze-up and said I’ve spent way too […]

Looking Ahead to Fall Hunting Season

June 24, 2015 by  

Looking Ahead to Fall Hunting Season

Here it is barely summer–the calendar says summer began June 21– and a lot of us are already looking ahead to what the fall hunting season might provide. While some prospects are risky to try to pin down just yet, spring weather conditions can give us some ideas about how various species have fared so […]

Stay Safe This Boating Season

June 17, 2015 by  

Stay Safe This Boating Season

I grew up in the 1980s when recommendations for seatbelt use were turning into laws, and people were trying to adjust to the process of having to click in before driving off. And who would argue about that? It’s impossible to plan the best time to wear or not wear a safety belt, so it […]

How to Become a North Dakota Game and Fish Warden

June 10, 2015 by  

How to Become a North Dakota Game and Fish Warden

One of the more common questions asked of any Game and Fish employee, whether it’s over the phone, through friends, via email, or at the grocery store, is: “How do you get a job as a game warden?” I get variations of this question frequently when the topic of my occupation comes up in conversations […]

What to Do with an Abandoned or Injured Young Animal

June 3, 2015 by  

What to Do with an Abandoned or Injured Young Animal

This is the time of year when North Dakota Game and Fish Department game wardens, biologists and other staff throughout the state handle an influx of calls about young animals. From seemingly abandoned deer fawns, to birds that fell from a nest, to a mother duck trying to lead her brood across a crowded city […]

How to Have a Successful Launch and Load This Summer

May 28, 2015 by  

How to Have a Successful Launch and Load This Summer

Through trial and error as kids or adults, many of us learn skills that stick with us the rest of our lives. One of those skills that is quite useful this time of year and into the summer is backing a boat trailer down a ramp. While I don’t spend as much time in or […]

Some Thoughts on the 2015 Deer Hunting Season

May 20, 2015 by  

Some Thoughts on the 2015 Deer Hunting Season

The late Dean Hildebrand, North Dakota Game and Fish Department director from 1996 through 2005, had a number of quotes that typically connected his small town North Dakota roots to the management of hunting, fishing and conservation in the state of North Dakota. One of those that is appropriate now, since details of the 2015 […]