Top 10 Game and Fish Violations in 2016

February 2, 2017 by  

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 fishing and boating related violations are typically at or near the top of the list when the North Dakota Game and Fish Department publishes its annual summary of citations issued by state game wardens.

In 2016, the number one citation, at 317 total, was “failure to carry license on person.” Most of those, according to Game and Fish Chief Warden Robert Timian, were people who were fishing and didn’t have their license with them. Another 226 people were cited for “hunting, fishing and trapping without a license,” with most of those also related to fishing.

Coming in at the number two spot for 2016, with 228 citations, was “inadequate number of personal floatation devices,” on board a boat, which is typically one of the top two or three violations every year.

Rounding out the top five citations for 2016 were “exceeding limit of fish,” at 119, and “aquatic nuisance species violations” at 115.

The two most prevalent citations related to hunting were “using gun able to hold more than three shells (mostly for upland game hunting),” at 60, and 50 citations for “loaded firearm in motor vehicle.”

Loaded guns in vehicles is often the most cited offense for hunters on an annual basis.

One of the notable statistics from the 2016 list was the ANS citations, which topped the 100 mark for the first time, and has nearly tripled since 2013.

In a recent edition of “Outdoors Online,” the Game and Fish Department’s weekly webcast, Timian said the state has some new rules related to ANS, such as having to remove the plug from a boat, and draining all water before transporting away from a water body, that have contributed to the rise in ANS violations.

“So as those new regulations take place over time,” Timian said, “we are putting more enforcement time into that because it is an important issue for the state to slow or prevent the spread of ANS.”

Game and Fish continues to work on education and information to increase compliance for all outdoor recreation, Timian said, adding that despite the citation increase, compliance with ANS regulations is still pretty good. “You also have to look at, are we checking a lot more boats and a lot more people?” he said. “So it is really more of, what is the violation rate, not necessarily just the number of citations.”

One final note on the citations for 2016; Timian said the total number of citations was down from the previous year, but that was probably not a reflection of fewer violations among hunters and anglers, but rather that at times during the year the enforcement division had up to three vacant positions.

At the start of 2017 the warden force is again at full strength.

Top 10 Violations for 2016

  1. Failure to carry license on person – 317
  2. Hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license – 226
  3. Exceeding limit of fish – 119
  4. ANS violation – 115
  5. Failure to display boat registration – 63
  6. Using gun able to hold more than 3 shells – 60
  7. Failure to obey regulations on wildlife mgmt. area – 59
  8. Fishing with excessive lines – 57
  9. Water skiing violations – 57
  10. Loaded firearm in motor vehicle – 50

Citations 2016 – Top 10 Counties

  1. Ramsey – 199
  2. McKenzie – 184
  3. Williams – 159
  4. Burleigh – 138
  5. McLean – 106
  6. Benson – 89
  7. Mountrail – 80
  8. Morton – 73
  9. Ward – 64
  10. Sargent – 62

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