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 […]

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 […]

Hunting and Fishing Bills in North Dakota

May 13, 2015 by  

Hunting and Fishing Bills in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   The 2015 North Dakota legislative session recently wrapped up. While the number of bills related to hunting, fishing, trapping and outdoor recreation was down somewhat from previous years, it was still a busy session as the North Dakota Game and Fish Department tracked 23 outdoors-related bills, 12 of which were passed […]

Fishing Season Travel Checklists

May 6, 2015 by  

Fishing Season Travel Checklists

by Doug Leier To the delight of many anglers, spring fishing this year got an early start, and few seasoned residents of North Dakota will ever lament a shorter winter. From the Red River and Devils Lake to the Yellowstone, there was no shortage of open water. And, with lower fuel and transportation costs than […]

Paddlefish Snagging Season in North Dakota

April 29, 2015 by  

Paddlefish Snagging Season in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   One of my first work details after I became a game warden in 1996 was as part of a detail during the paddlefish snagging season. And since then I’ve watched them, weighed them, even tried the caviar, but I’ve never landed one of the prehistoric native fish that can weigh well […]

Spring Fishing Opportunities

April 22, 2015 by  

Spring Fishing Opportunities

by Doug Leier   My first open-water cast of the 2015 fishing season came before spring turkey season, and even before Easter. While the first fish of the year didn’t happen on the same trip, it was reason to smile. Just getting outdoors in early April without mud boots or winter jacket was enough to […]

Whopping Crane Populations and Preservation

April 15, 2015 by  

Whopping Crane Populations and Preservation

by Doug Leier   The spring snow goose season opened in mid-February and honestly leading up to it the open winter and unseasonably warm weather had hunters and biologist alike thinking, “..this just might be the year birds are here before March…” As luck and meteorologists would have it a more typical weather cycle settled […]

Deer Hunting Numbers in North Dakota

April 8, 2015 by  

Deer Hunting Numbers in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   One of the primary benchmarks that North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists use to assess deer populations and hunter satisfaction is the success rate by gun hunters. Over time, a success rate of around 70 percent means hunters are generally satisfied with deer numbers and hunting opportunities. Last year, the […]

Youth Wildlife Programs in North Dakota

April 1, 2015 by  

Youth Wildlife Programs in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   My interest in fishing and hunting began long before specific opportunities we’re designed to encourage young hunters and anglers. The 1980s didn’t have youth deer, waterfowl and pheasant seasons, or special turkey licenses, just to name just a few. I do remember that the local Jaycee’s sponsored some youth BB gun […]

Licensing and Certification for Spring Light Goose Season 2015

March 25, 2015 by  

Licensing and Certification for Spring Light Goose Season 2015

by Doug Leier Signs of spring honestly began weeks ago. For me, the first bald eagle pairs setting up their nests in February is proof that winter is losing its grip, and this year the turn of March brought unseasonably mild and record-breaking temperatures. The annual college basketball championship game and the first pitch of […]

North Dakota Big Game Hunting

March 24, 2015 by  

North Dakota Big Game Hunting

by Doug Leier   While it’s a long way from the nearest big game hunting season, the last month or so has had its fair share of North Dakota big game hunting news. Harvest statistics for moose, elk and bighorn sheep came out in February, followed by 2015 moose and elk season details in early […]

Game Warden Statistics for North Dakota

March 11, 2015 by  

Game Warden Statistics for North Dakota

by Doug Leier   Every year the North Dakota Game and Fish Department provides a report on the number of citations issued by state game wardens the previous year. The statistics for 2014, recently published in the February 2015 issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine, carry some not-so-positive news: Game wardens cited a record number […]

Licensing and Regulation Reminders for Spring Season

March 4, 2015 by  

Licensing and Regulation Reminders for Spring Season

by Doug Leier   A couple of decades ago March was typically sort of a down time for outdoor activity in North Dakota, but that’s no longer the case. With fishing season for game fish now open year-round instead of closing around the first weekend in March, plus the advent of the spring light goose […]

Watchable Wildlife Program Projects

February 12, 2015 by  

Watchable Wildlife Program Projects

by Doug Leier   When you stop and focus as you are driving or walking across North Dakota, you’ll realize the majority of wild animals don’t fall into the “game” or “hunted” category. And yet, the few species for which hunting or fishing is allowed attract the lion’s share of concerns from people who enjoy […]

Wild Turkey Hunting Season 2015 Licenses

February 4, 2015 by  

Wild Turkey Hunting Season 2015 Licenses

by Doug Leier   Even with my North Dakota outdoors lineage, I’m guilty of sometimes losing sight of how fortunate we are to enjoy such a variety of opportunities. One of those is wild turkey hunting, both in spring and fall. Right now a lot of positive attention is directed at high duck, goose, walleye, […]

News and Notes for ND Hunters and Anglers

January 28, 2015 by  

News and Notes for ND Hunters and Anglers

By Doug Leier Every so often I catch myself with a few pieces of news and notes that might not generate a full column, but are worthy of passing along as reminders. Here’s what I’ve got for you this week. Tracking North Dakota Legislation For starters, with the 2015 North Dakota legislative session underway, tracking  […]

Proposed Opening Days for 2015 Hunting Season

January 21, 2015 by  

Proposed Opening Days for 2015 Hunting Season

By Doug Leier Most hunting seasons wrapped up with the Jan. 4 closure of small game and archery deer seasons. While those coveted opening days are now more than half a year away, it’s never too early to start looking ahead to fall 2015. For many hunters, the long- and short-term planning is part of […]

Don’t Forget These Rules When You’re Out on the Ice

January 14, 2015 by  

Don’t Forget These Rules When You’re Out on the Ice

By Doug Leier Some years in mid-January, ice fishing is just getting into full swing. But that’s certainly not the case this winter. Because of a prolonged cold spell that hit right after the deer opener, some folks have been on the ice since before Thanksgiving. On the other hand, many hunters have just recently […]

A Look Ahead to 2015

January 8, 2015 by  

A Look Ahead to 2015

By Doug Leier Looking ahead to 2015, it’s hard not to get excited, or stay excited, about the excellent fishing prospects that lie ahead for North Dakota. None of us who are anglers today have ever lived through a time when the state has had more fishing waters than it does right now. Many of […]

A Look Back on 2014

January 2, 2015 by  

A Look Back on 2014

By Doug Leier It’s that time of year again when a lot of us take a look back at the past 365 days. For me it’s an enjoyable exercise as I can sift through my weekly columns to see how the year unfolded from an outdoors perspective. And it’s nice to have that printed record […]

Respect Our Outdoors – Don’t Litter!

December 25, 2014 by  

Respect Our Outdoors – Don’t Litter!

By Doug Leier Many of my outdoors destinations tend to attract higher use than a secluded badlands nook, a Turtle Mountains hideout or even a tucked away Missouri Coteau wetland. I spend plenty of time fishing at busy public access points, and hunting public land where sometimes there might be others who have the same […]

Are You Ready for Some Ice Fishing?

December 3, 2014 by  

Are You Ready for Some Ice Fishing?

By Doug Leier November for many outdoorsmen and women is a gradual transition from October’s ducks and geese into deer and late-season pheasant hunting. But this year, the second week of November came with near-record cold and early ice that signaled dread for those who lament long Midwest winters, but probably warmed the hearts of […]

Want to be a Game Warden? You’ve Got Your Chance on December 29

November 26, 2014 by  

Want to be a Game Warden? You’ve Got Your Chance on December 29

By Doug Leier Leading off with, “It seems like yesterday,” is a pretty good qualifier to acknowledge I’m not a kid anymore. Fact is, it’s been 20 years since I took my final college exam, and also took the North Dakota Game and Fish Department game warden exam, which is the first step in the […]

North Dakota Deer Hunting FAQ

October 29, 2014 by  

North Dakota Deer Hunting FAQ

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. You must obtain an application for a duplicate license from the Game and Fish Department – by calling (701) 328-6300 or printing it off the website at gf.nd.gov […]

Hunting Highlights from 125 Years of Statehood

October 22, 2014 by  

Hunting Highlights from 125 Years of Statehood

By Doug Leier As North Dakota gives pause to acknowledge its 125th anniversary of statehood, much will be made of its history, and thoughts of how the state will age into the future. And some of that history will revolve around wildlife and the outdoors, from the fur trade that attracted early explorers, to decimation […]

Make the Most of Your PLOTS Experience This Fall

October 17, 2014 by  

Make the Most of Your PLOTS Experience This Fall

By Doug Leier The popularity of North Dakota’s Private Land Open to Sportsmen program has created somewhat of an expectation for hunters. This year, the state has roughly 735,000 acres in the program and many hunters use these areas for at least some of their hunting experiences. And that’s basically the primary intention of PLOTS […]

How a Simple Band Helps Scientists Study Bird Behavior

October 8, 2014 by  

How a Simple Band Helps Scientists Study Bird Behavior

By Doug Leier I’ve learned through watching, listening and observing my kids how routine questions can often perplex adults. It’s easy to just brush it off with a quick reply of “I don’t know” or some other redirection response. Often I’ll patiently try to explain why food, habitat and weather conditions cause different bird species […]

The Many Hats of Game & Fish

October 1, 2014 by  

The Many Hats of Game & Fish

By Doug Leier My job as an outreach biologist is everything from working with local media and civic and school groups, to checking on possible fish kills, and even surveillance of moose or other critters in places we’d rather not have them. I enjoy the variety and never pursued a career in natural resources with […]

How to Report a Game Violation

September 18, 2014 by  

How to Report a Game Violation

By Doug Leier With fall hunting seasons rolling out almost every week now since Labor Day weekend, I field, hear and read many discussions on rules, regulations, poaching and “what if” scenarios. Sometimes they’re as simple as what to do or who to call if you witness something suspicious, like someone shooting at ducks during […]

Don’t Forget to Participate in the 2014 Upland Game Wing Survey

September 10, 2014 by  

Don’t Forget to Participate in the 2014 Upland Game Wing Survey

By Doug Leier As a life-long resident of North Dakota, I take pride in knowing that hunters contribute more to our outdoor heritage than just license dollars. Something as simple as voluntarily reporting violations goes a long way to assist game wardens in doing their jobs, and many poachers are caught each year because hunters […]

Sometimes I Miss Mending Fences…

September 4, 2014 by  

Sometimes I Miss Mending Fences…

By Doug Leier Like a lot of people my age and older, my early impression of a wildlife professional was the Marlon Perkins/Jim Fowler “Wild Kingdom” type who millions of people got to see working directly with wild animals in exotic places. At age 18, in my first summer of field work for the U.S. […]

2014 Hunting Season Officially Opens in North Dakota

August 27, 2014 by  

2014 Hunting Season Officially Opens in North Dakota

By Doug Leier The first official hunting season of 2014 has been open since Aug. 9 when the fall crow season began. While I’d venture to guess that very few people gathered the evening before to strategize for the crow opener in the same way they will for waterfowl (residents Sept. 27) pheasant (Oct. 11) […]

2014 PLOTS Guide Now Available Online

August 21, 2014 by  

2014 PLOTS Guide Now Available Online

By Doug Leier The much anticipated annual North Dakota Private Land Open To Sportsmen or PLOTS Guide is now available. The printed version likely won’t hit the usual outlets such as license vendors, county auditor offices and Game and Fish Department offices until the first week of September, but the online version has already generated a flurry of activity. In just the first day after […]

Game & Fish Department Unveils New Mobile Mapping Apps

August 13, 2014 by  

Game & Fish Department Unveils New Mobile Mapping Apps

By Doug Leier I’ve tried to really determine if my wandering outdoor excursions are a genetic characteristic or just learned behavior that I enjoy. Some of my favorite trips out hunting, fishing or just exploring are nothing more than coincidence or luck. Many times, we’ll set off without even a predetermined plan of north, south, […]

North Dakota Game & Fish Helps Keep Fish Population Robust

August 6, 2014 by  

North Dakota Game & Fish Helps Keep Fish Population Robust

By Doug Leier The well documented and discussed wet cycle and expansion of fisheries is not new to most anglers, or even people who don’t fish. Anyone over the age of 25 can attest to the continuing growth and expansion of water and fisheries in North Dakota. While the slow accumulation of new water on […]

Catch and Release Fishing Tips for the Everyday Angler

July 30, 2014 by  

Catch and Release Fishing Tips for the Everyday Angler

By Doug Leier In a day and age where society churns out new acronyms about as fast as smartphone apps, it’s no wonder that people start to forget what FFA or KFC even stand for anymore. In some ways, when CRP is synonymous with habitat and ANS is quickly associated with threats to aquatic habitat, […]

Fall Proghorn Season is On in North Dakota

July 24, 2014 by  

Fall Proghorn Season is On in North Dakota

by Doug Leier I cross-reference many outdoor signature dates with kids and sports. For whatever reason, my mind keeps sports milestones less convoluted than birthdays and anniversaries. So believe me when I tell you, the last time North Dakota hunters were offered a chance to draw a pronghorn license, my beloved Minnesota Twins were still in the Metrodome, and they made the […]

2014 Sage Grouse Hunting Season Called Off

July 16, 2014 by  

2014 Sage Grouse Hunting Season Called Off

By Doug Leier North Dakota won’t have a sage grouse hunting season in 2014. That news probably doesn’t surprise anyone who pays attention to the state’s outdoor world. Sage grouse are North Dakota’s largest native upland game bird, found only in the extreme southwestern part of the state, primarily in Bowman and Slope counties. There […]

8 Tips for a Successful Launch and Load

July 9, 2014 by  

8 Tips for a Successful Launch and Load

By Doug Leier I’ve always found it interesting how some skills in life stay with us no matter how many years of rust we allow to accumulate. Things like riding a bike or driving a manual transmission vehicle, or perhaps water skiing, tying a hook on a line or filleting a fish, are once-used physical […]

Why I`d Rather be Fishing

July 2, 2014 by  

Why I`d Rather be Fishing

by Doug Leier There’s a cross-section of people with whom I really connect this time of year – those folks who are participants in summer sports, and those folks who fish. While I am an avid sports fan, I don’t golf and haven’t played softball in nearly 20 years, but I connect with the people […]

How to Get Your Kids Hooked on Fishing

June 25, 2014 by  

How to Get Your Kids Hooked on Fishing

by Doug Leier Over the years I’ve detailed my successes and failures of getting my kids “hooked on fishing.” Call me a bit disconnected, but I don’t see how kids cannot enjoy fishing. And I’ve never heard my kids say they don’t want to go fishing. It’s actually the complete opposite, as no matter the […]

Slot Limit Regulations – What Purpose Do They Serve?

June 18, 2014 by  

Slot Limit Regulations – What Purpose Do They Serve?

by Doug Leier I’m no master angler, but I do understand how anglers will successfully use a technique, lure or presentation on one lake, and then try that same strategy on another body of water. In similar fashion, fisheries managers often hear from anglers who fish in other states who wonder why specific regulations are […]

Fishing the Waters of North Dakota

June 11, 2014 by  

Fishing the Waters of North Dakota

by Doug Leier In 1988 I was a sophomore in high school. I was more than happy to catch a few perch, walleye or northern pike, and sometimes even bullheads. It seems I never had a problem finding the yellow-bellied, numerous-yet-undesirable fish, even when the number of fishing waters was half what it is now. […]

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!

June 4, 2014 by  

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!

by Doug Leier I’ll be the first to admit that following a long and cold winter and a short spring counted in days or weeks and not months, we almost feel like we’re trying to play catch up before we miss out on summertime outdoor fun. From fishing, boating and swimming, to camping, hiking and […]

Get Your ND Deer Hunting License Before June 4th Deadline

May 28, 2014 by  

Get Your ND Deer Hunting License Before June 4th Deadline

by Doug Leier Yes, I know it’s late May and for most people it’s the season for fishing, camping, boating and just soaking in the sights, sounds and warmth of spring. But for North Dakotans, it’s also the last week or so leading up to the 2014 deer license application deadline on June 4. So, while […]

Invasive Species Threatening Aquatic Habitats in North Dakota

May 14, 2014 by  

Invasive Species Threatening Aquatic Habitats in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   You’ve made your list and are checking it twice; anticipation for fishing is growing faster than your lawn this spring. Current license – got it. Life jackets – check. Next stop, open-water fishing 2014. The only thing holding you back from a day on the water is Mother Nature, but that’s spring […]

One-Over Limit and Spring Fishing in North Dakota

April 23, 2014 by  

One-Over Limit and Spring Fishing in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   As air temperatures warm up during a North Dakota spring, fishing usually heats up as well. And heading into this spring, most anglers will agree that fishing in North Dakota the past couple of years is as good as it’s ever been. It could get even better this year. But even […]

Paddlefish Snagging Season in North Dakota

April 16, 2014 by  

Paddlefish Snagging Season in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   In my early years with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, I was a district game warden. Prior to assuming responsibility for a district, new wardens learn different required skills from experienced wardens at stations around the state. My primary training warden was Kurt Aufforth, who at the time was […]

Recapping the Deer Management Meetings

April 9, 2014 by  

Recapping the Deer Management Meetings

by Doug Leier   Most of us would already assume that April is a busy month for fisheries biologists, as ice-out brings pike spawning, then walleye spawning and initiation of all the other management work that corresponds to open water. Perhaps not so well known is that April is also a busy month for big […]

Watchable Wildlife in North Dakota

April 2, 2014 by  

Watchable Wildlife in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   Pheasants, ducks, geese, deer and other game animals get much of the wildlife press in North Dakota, but if publicity was based on numbers alone, the state’s “other” wildlife would capture the headlines more frequently. Biologists categorize more than 80 percent of North Dakota’s wildlife species as nongame, or those that […]

Spring Season Fishing and Hunting

March 26, 2014 by  

Spring Season Fishing and Hunting

by Doug Leier   I’ve always enjoyed the arrival of spring. I’ve lived in a number of towns and areas in just about every corner of North Dakota, and whether it’s Williston, Bottineau, Bismarck or West Fargo, each has its own special draw. While all of us in the Midwest are fortunate to have four […]

Spring Light Goose Season Regulations

March 19, 2014 by  

Spring Light Goose Season Regulations

by Doug Leier   In case you missed it at the time, when temperatures were sub-zero and the countryside was white, North Dakota’s spring light goose season opened Feb. 15 and continues through May 18. At the same time, while most people probably wouldn’t have anticipated the first sightings of light geese until later in […]

Hunting and Fishing License Fee Increases to take effect

March 12, 2014 by  

Hunting and Fishing License Fee Increases to take effect

by Doug Leier   Just about this time last year, the North Dakota legislature was working through a bill that would raise fees for many of the state’s hunting and fishing licenses. Eventually, Senate Bill 2231 passed the state senate overwhelmingly by a 39-6 vote, and the house followed suit with a vote of 77-15. […]

New Fishing Guide Changes in North Dakota

March 5, 2014 by  

New Fishing Guide Changes in North Dakota

  by Doug Leier North Dakota’s fishing regulations are different than any other set of regulations the State Game and Fish Department produces. While they all cover laws, limits and season lengths, the fishing regulations cover a two-year period, while the others are developed annually. Fortunately, for pretty much all of the regulations guides that […]

Hunt is on for Private Land Open to Sportsmen program

February 26, 2014 by  

Hunt is on for Private Land Open to Sportsmen program

by Doug Leier   Most North Dakota hunters probably aren’t thinking much about the Private Land Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program right now, but late winter is a busy time for the people who are responsible for the annual PLOTS guide printed in late August each year. As a little refresher, PLOTS is a North […]

Mid-Winter Waterfowl Numbers

February 19, 2014 by  

Mid-Winter Waterfowl Numbers

by Doug Leier   One of the most interesting facets of being an outreach biologist is the variety of work involved. A few weeks back I assisted with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s mid-winter waterfowl survey, as I’ve done in the past, and which biologists across the nation do each year. While the […]

Deer Management Meetings in North Dakota

February 12, 2014 by  

Deer Management Meetings in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   For the last decade or so, North Dakota has had around 100,000 active deer hunters, plus or minus a few thousand in any given year. All of us should be interested in the upcoming series of deer management meetings the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled around the state […]

Winter Fishing: Contour Maps & Fishing Waters Access

February 5, 2014 by  

Winter Fishing: Contour Maps & Fishing Waters Access

by Doug Leier   Like a lot of people, I’m often guilty of following a routine. That’s particularly true when it comes to choosing fishing spots. Year after year I can fish the same lakes, recall past visits, and assess the current state – whether the water is up or down, or whether there are […]

Pike and Perch Fishing in North Dakota

January 29, 2014 by  

Pike and Perch Fishing in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   I’ve always enjoyed my own little internal debates, like would I rather have a 12-ounce hamburger steak for a little less price than an 8-ounce ribeye? And the same concept applies to the outdoors. Would you rather catch 15 decent perch, or three big pike during a few hours of ice […]

Winter Wildlife Survival in North Dakota

January 22, 2014 by  

Winter Wildlife Survival in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   It’s that time of year again when lots of people start wondering about how North Dakota’s wildlife is surviving the winter. Not that wild animals don’t have struggles the rest of the year, too. Finding enough to eat, or not getting eaten, are daily challenges year-round, but mix in a countryside […]

Coyote Catalog Seeks Landowner Participation

January 15, 2014 by  

Coyote Catalog Seeks Landowner Participation

by Doug Leier   For as often as I hear people lament the electronic age we live in, there’s always a flip side. While I’ll never spend more time looking at my phone than at a bobber, I’ll also never intentionally leave the phone at home either, because it provides nearly instant emergency access and […]

Hunter Education and Certification in North Dakota

January 8, 2014 by  

Hunter Education and Certification in North Dakota

by Doug Leier Since pheasant, grouse and archery deer seasons just ended a couple of weeks ago, don’t blame hunters if they aren’t already planning for next fall. But if you have a child, friend or relative who will need a hunter education certificate in order to purchase a hunting license in 2014, now is […]

Fishing & Hunting North Dakota in 2014

December 30, 2013 by  

Fishing & Hunting North Dakota in 2014

by Doug Leier   Looking ahead to 2014, it’s hard not to get excited, or stay excited, about the excellent fishing prospects that lie ahead for North Dakota. None of us who are anglers today have ever lived through a time when the state has had more fishing waters than it does right now. Many […]

Wildlife Population in 2013 Review

December 23, 2013 by  

Wildlife Population in 2013 Review

by Doug Leier My short-term memory is sharp enough to recall that the 2013 winter lasted a little too long for my liking, and unless April cross-country skiing or snowmobiling are a draw, I’d suggest ice anglers had plenty of time from last December through March to give way to spring. But in 2013, spring […]

Habitat Maintenance and Effects on Wildlife Populations

December 18, 2013 by  

Habitat Maintenance and Effects on Wildlife Populations

by Doug Leier For years, North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists have stressed the importance of habitat in maintaining healthy wildlife populations in the long term. At the recent round of Game and Fish advisory board meetings, that topic got a lot of emphasis, and brought to light many discussions on the “good old […]

Winter Wildlife Management: Artificial Feeding and Habitat

December 11, 2013 by  

Winter Wildlife Management: Artificial Feeding and Habitat

by Doug Leier Wildlife management has changed over time. One prime example is the historical practice of feeding wildlife – deer, birds and just about everything in between, especially during winter when people perceive a shortage of food. This practice was once embraced by most wildlife professionals, and the traditional thought process made sense to […]

Finding Hunting and Fishing Hot Spots: Technology vs. Traditional

December 4, 2013 by  

Finding Hunting and Fishing Hot Spots: Technology vs. Traditional

by Doug Leier I’m pretty certain my wife and kids tire of my stories from “back in the day” or “how things used to be.” More often than not, it’s a discussion about how technology and electronic advances keep people from getting outside, or the capability to visit with new “friends” while waiting in checkout […]

Late Season Hunting & Fishing Opportunities

November 27, 2013 by  

Late Season Hunting & Fishing Opportunities

by Doug Leier For many hunters, November is a peak and valley, the best of times and the worst of times. As North Dakota’s popular deer gun hunting season opens and closes, thousands of hunters begin and end their hunting activities within the 16 ½ days the regular season takes place. While most of the […]

Weather Pattern Effects on Fall Fish Reproduction in North Dakota

November 20, 2013 by  

Weather Pattern Effects on Fall Fish Reproduction in North Dakota

by Doug Leier   The long winter and tardy spring of 2013 disrupted a lot of outdoor activities, including farm and construction work and baseball games and track meets. The weather also influenced North Dakota wildlife, particularly upland game birds, which experienced a relatively poor reproduction year that State Game and Fish Department biologists partly […]

Sportsmen Against Hunger programme helps communities

November 14, 2013 by  

Sportsmen Against Hunger programme helps communities

by Doug Leier   In 2013, North Dakota has fewer deer licenses than in any year since 1983, and anyone who was lucky enough to receive a license can only have one for the deer gun season. That’s a big change from even five years ago when the state allocated more than twice as many […]

Safety First this Deer Hunting Season

November 6, 2013 by  

Safety First this Deer Hunting Season

by Doug Leier   It’s a safe assumption that few hunters ever leave home thinking, “I just might end up in a hunting accident today.” That’s no different than a farmer doing field work or a family just going for a Sunday drive. We seldom assume the worst, but we also buckle up our seat […]

Deer Hunting Q&A – Rules and Regulations

October 30, 2013 by  

Deer Hunting Q&A – Rules and Regulations

by Doug Leier 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. I can’t find my deer license. What should I do? You must obtain an application for a duplicate license from the Game and Fish Department […]

Bighorn Sheep Population & Gun Season in North Dakota

October 23, 2013 by  

Bighorn Sheep Population & Gun Season in North Dakota

by Doug Leier Most everyone who hunts in North Dakota, whether they actually hunt deer or not, knows the opening day for deer gun season is Friday, Nov. 8. I’d also venture to guess that unless you were one of the four hunters who have a North Dakota bighorn sheep license for this fall, or […]

Game and Fish Studies across North Dakota this fall

October 16, 2013 by  

Game and Fish Studies across North Dakota this fall

  by Doug Leier State Game and Fish Department biologists conduct a variety of studies every year. The familiar ones are those that provide counts or indexes that factor into season setting and limits, and also set hunter and angler expectations. Sometimes, it’s fairly obvious why fish or game populations are up or down. In […]

License Reminder before Deer Gun Season Opens

October 9, 2013 by  

License Reminder before Deer Gun Season Opens

by Doug Leier Seasonal periodic reminders urging thousands of deer hunters to take a few minutes to locate their 2013 deer license are being made by the State Game and Fish Department. The primary reason for the reminders is that it’s not uncommon for hunters to misplace or accidentally toss a license between the time […]

Pheasant numbers down leading up to season opening in North Dakota

October 2, 2013 by  

Pheasant numbers down leading up to season opening in North Dakota

by Doug Leier Parallels are often drawn between sports and the outdoors because it sometimes helps to look at situations from different perspectives. Each season it seems, begins with promise, hope and optimism, along with predictions and prognostications. It’s a scenario that applies to your local high school or college football team, birds, deer or […]

Big Game Transport Regulations to Prevent Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease

September 25, 2013 by  

Big Game Transport Regulations to Prevent Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease

by Doug Leier With all the archery deer hunting activity and the coming spike with deer gun season, it’s a good time to remind hunters of specific regulations on transporting deer and other big game. Keep in mind, these are specific to North Dakota and with the mobility of hunters taking the fields in other states, […]

Waterfowl Hunting Season Opening in North Dakota

September 18, 2013 by  

Waterfowl Hunting Season Opening in North Dakota

by Doug Leier Many hunters these days are bemoaning a downward population trend for deer and pheasants in North Dakota. On the other hand, for 2013 at least, duck and goose populations are in good shape and can provide opportunities that hunters may not want to overlook. Opening day for North Dakota residents is September […]

Waterfowl Hunting Rules and Regulations: Aquatic Nuisance Species

September 11, 2013 by  

Waterfowl Hunting Rules and Regulations: Aquatic Nuisance Species

Doug Leier For good reason, the State Game and Fish Department makes every effort to explain waterfowl hunting rules and regulations that hunters will need to know as they take the field this fall. This includes daily bag limits, species restrictions, season lengths, special zones and hunting hours. Most of these areas of interest are […]

Maintaining Public Hunting Lands & Wildlife Management Areas

September 9, 2013 by  

Maintaining Public Hunting Lands & Wildlife Management Areas

Doug Leier For most of us, the road traveled matters little once we’ve arrived at our destination. Seldom do we realize – or appreciate – when beginning a pheasant hunt across the prairie, the time and energy it takes to provide access to a public hunting spot. When you get to spend a few hours […]

Survey Estimates – Hunting Seasons Management

September 4, 2013 by  

Survey Estimates – Hunting Seasons Management

Doug Leier If you catch a conversation between hunters and hear a reference to HIP, chances are they are discussing the Harvest Information Program and not what their kids or teenage neighbors are into. HIP is a survey method developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a means to collect more reliable estimates […]

Wildlife Surveys & Fall Flight Forecasting

August 29, 2013 by  

Wildlife Surveys & Fall Flight Forecasting

By Doug Leier Hunters are not much different than sports fans when it comes to looking forward to upcoming seasons and learning about expert analysis and predictions. Fall flight forecasts for waterfowl and results from upland game brood surveys will pique the interest of hunters and wildlife managers alike. Along the way, from crow and […]

Early Canada Goose Season Licensing

August 22, 2013 by  

Early Canada Goose Season Licensing

Doug Leier North Dakota’s early Canada goose season has been around for more than a decade and has gone through many evolution’s since it started in 1999. The big change this year is that hunters of all ages, both resident and nonresident, will for the first time need a special license. It’s a specific effort […]

The 2013 North Dakota legislature

May 31, 2013 by  

The 2013 North Dakota legislature

HB 1264 – Addresses the issue of Canada goose depredation that occurs during the spring and summer months in North Dakota…

Big Waters, Big Fish

May 22, 2013 by  

Big Waters, Big Fish

A similar trend also exists for walleye. More than 95 percent of the 490 Whoppers in the past five years came from big waters.

Zebra Mussel Problems

May 22, 2013 by  

Zebra Mussel Problems

Potential for spreading invasive species like zebra mussels, Eurasian water milfoil or who knows what from one water body to the next.

Spring bighorn sheep survey

April 27, 2013 by  

Spring bighorn sheep survey

Even with the small population of bighorn sheep, interest in their status remains high. This is verified ever year when thousands of hunters, knowing the odds of drawing a license will likely be more than 2,000 to one, show their support for the sheep program by applying in the lottery.

North Dakota Outdoors

April 17, 2013 by  

North Dakota Outdoors

We know that hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation are an important quality of life factor for many North Dakotans

Changing Seasons

April 8, 2013 by  

Changing Seasons

Since North Dakota does not have a fishing season opener, you can head out any time the weather and your schedule allow.

Purple Martin Association of the Dakota’s

March 28, 2013 by  

Purple Martin Association of the Dakota’s

Over time, purple martins started to lose their native nesting cavities because of forest clearcutting and other habitat loss such as clearing of tree snags.

The spring snow goose season

March 20, 2013 by  

The spring snow goose season

The spring season is only open to light geese – snows, blues, and Ross’s. Species identification is important because white-fronted and Canada geese travel with light geese. The season is closed to whitefronts, Canada geese, swans and all other migratory birds.

Wildlife Winter Survival

January 10, 2013 by  

Wildlife Winter Survival

By Doug Leier Many animals have adaptations that help them get through winter, but in some years even those natural defenses are not a sure hedge against death. Some have thick winter coats, and their metabolism slows down. Bears hibernate. Sharp-tailed grouse have feathers out to their toes and other feathers that protect their nostrils from […]

Outdoor Photography Tips

September 5, 2012 by  

Outdoor Photography Tips

By Doug Leier If you hunt or fish, chances are you take pictures of your catch or bag. It’s easy these days because small cameras or mobile phones capable of taking photos and video are convenient to bring along, and the automatic settings are almost fool-proof. Notice I wrote “almost” fool-proof and not “totally” fool-proof. […]

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