CRP Loss

August 20, 2012 by  

CRP Loss

Doug Leier Throughout the years I’ve been writing, I’ve continued to highlight the Conservation Reserve Program, and for good reason. It’s not by sheer accident that North Dakota’s wildlife populations have experienced a contemporary revival that rivals most hunters’ recollections of “the good old days.” Many factors influence wildlife populations, and weather and habitat are […]

Where to Hunt?

August 9, 2012 by  

Where to Hunt?

By Doug Leier Even though I couldn’t squeak more than a “C” out of college calculus, I’ve always enjoyed thinking through complex questions. It’s the easy ones that sometimes seem to trip me up. And in my position as a State Game and Fish Department outreach biologist, and as a district game warden before that, […]

August Goose Opener

August 6, 2012 by  

August Goose Opener

By Doug Leier Even if you don’t have kids in school, the circadian rhythm, as I refer to it, is evident. When school is out, summer starts. When practices for fall sports begin, the sand is almost out of the summer hourglass. Some North Dakota schools didn’t hold graduation until early June, and by the […]

North Dakota Fishing Facts

July 18, 2012 by  

North Dakota Fishing Facts

Doug Leier No matter the course in life, when we sit down and look at the details of the years it inevitably leads to some arguments on when and where an event took place, or if it even really actually happened. Anglers are famous for embellishing stories of the one that got away (after fighting […]

North Dakota Fishing Questions

July 11, 2012 by  

North Dakota Fishing Questions

Doug Leier Even though fishing season is open year-round in North Dakota, judging by phone calls and emails the month of July sees a good share of fishing activity. Whether it’s planning an annual fishing outing with friends and family, part of an anniversary or community celebration, or simply an individual with questions, there are […]

Save Our Lakes Program

June 28, 2012 by  

Save Our Lakes Program

By Doug Leier With all due respect to the big boys of North Dakota fishing – the Missouri River, Lake Oahe, Lake Sakakawea and Devils Lake – I’ve always smiled a bit bigger while landing a fish in the hundreds of “Mom and Pop” fisheries of our home state. Each angler knows how they need […]

Illegal Fish Stocking

June 13, 2012 by  

Illegal Fish Stocking

Doug Leier Even with gas prices hovering between three and four dollars a gallon, I see trucks towing boats moving across North Dakota on a regular basis. While at one time this flow of boats was heavily weighted toward vehicles from North Dakota heading primarily east, over the last decade or more things have evened […]

Lakes for Walleye Fishing – Expanding Fisheries in North Dakota

June 11, 2012 by  

Lakes for Walleye Fishing – Expanding Fisheries in North Dakota

Lakes for Walleye Fishing – Expanding Fisheries in North Dakota by Doug Leier If you’re into numbers, around 140,000 North Dakota residents were licensed to fish last year, and that doesn’t include all those under age 16 who don’t need a license. Put in that context, the angling community in North Dakota is stronger in […]

Deer Hunting Licenses – Reduced

May 17, 2012 by  

Deer Hunting Licenses – Reduced

by Doug Leier North Dakota’s lower deer and pheasant populations in recent years have generated many discussions. In terms of recent history the numbers are smaller, but compare the deer license allocation from the 1970s, or pheasant harvest numbers from the early 1980s, and hunters have a little more to consider. Wildlife populations will always […]

North Dakota Fishing License – Free Fishing Days

May 10, 2012 by  

North Dakota Fishing License – Free Fishing Days

by Doug Leier It’s hard to believe when I glance at the calendar that it’s May, and not June or maybe July. The early arrival of spring-like temperatures after a milder winter can do that. So while open water fishing has been viable since mid-March, between work, school and other responsibilities not everyone has yet […]

Best Fishing Times

May 7, 2012 by  

Best Fishing Times

by Doug Leier “Best fishing times?” I’m the first to admit I’m not a professional angler. When it comes to tips and tactics on how to land a lunker walleye or fill a stringer in short order, I’ve got more questions than answers. At times, I casually refer to myself as the human cold front […]

Early Pike Spawning

April 30, 2012 by  

Early Pike Spawning

by Doug Leier As far as I can tell, few people are complaining out loud about the early arrival of spring in 2012. Since 2009 it’s almost felt like we’d skipped a season, or replaced spring with “flood” season. This year, it started to feel like spring in February and March and it’s almost as […]

Silver Carp Facts & Other Aquatic Nuisance Species

April 13, 2012 by  

Silver Carp Facts & Other Aquatic Nuisance Species

by Doug Leier Last fall, an angler caught a silver carp in North Dakota’s portion of the James River near LaMoure. A couple of weeks later, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists caught another one in a net, nearly 50 miles farther upstream in the James, near the dam at Jamestown Reservoir. That […]

Facts about Bald Eagles

April 5, 2012 by  

Facts about Bald Eagles

Facts about Bald Eagles by Doug Leier When the phone rings and the caller on the other end of the line is excitedly relaying an unusual wildlife observation, I do my best to join the adrenaline rush brought on by a possible rare or uncommon sighting. While some may downplay a turkey vulture observation or […]

North Dakota Fishing Regulations

April 5, 2012 by  

North Dakota Fishing Regulations

by Doug Leier I don’t necessarily consider myself old, but I do know I’m old enough to remember the drought of the late 1980s and early 1990s when Devils Lake was hardly visible from Minnewaukan, and one day I walked across the parched bottom of Hobart Lake in Barnes County. Since a wet cycle started […]

Birding in North Dakota

March 23, 2012 by  

Birding in North Dakota

by Doug Leier I’ve had the opportunity to hunt many different places and species across North Dakota, much of it a result of having lived in more than 10 different zip codes across the state. It’s those places, and the people who go with them, that often account for the best memories. While we always […]

Walleye Ice Fishing Tips

March 20, 2012 by  

Walleye Ice Fishing Tips

Walleye Ice Fishing Tips by Doug Leier Winter began Dec. 21 and ends March 21. Or so says the calendar, if you prefer a specific date, rather than a change in weather, to note the arrival and departure of seasons. For many, winter didn’t really feel like winter until the snow and storms of late […]

North Dakota Hunting & Fishing Licenses

March 12, 2012 by  

North Dakota Hunting & Fishing Licenses

by Doug Leier In North Dakota, your fishing license, along with several other licenses including general game, small game and furbearer, will expire March 31. In the weeks following, tens of thousands of North Dakotans will renew their licenses throughout spring with the onset of open water fishing, carrying on the tradition of anglers and […]

Trapping the Muskrat, Bobcats, Coyotes and other predators in ND

March 5, 2012 by  

Trapping the Muskrat, Bobcats, Coyotes and other predators in ND

by Doug Leier My son and daughters have seen urban trapping first hand –in a backyard live-trap. Beyond that, my son also loves to help my dad check coyote and muskrat traps, the same way I did. While my dad and son are certainly not alone in their interest in trapping, trappers in North Dakota […]

Spring Snow Goose Hunting

February 22, 2012 by  

Spring Snow Goose Hunting

by Doug Leier Since 1999 North Dakota hunters have had a spring hunting opportunity besides turkey. While overall interest and participation in turkey hunting overshadows the spring light goose season, those with a decade of spring snow goose hunting experience, and first-time participants alike are looking forward to the 2012 season, which opened Feb. 18. […]

Natural Resources Jobs

February 15, 2012 by  

Natural Resources Jobs

By Doug Leier Between the phone and my email inbox, I get a lot of questions. This time of year, the most popular are: “Where are the fish biting?” and “How are the pheasants doing?” The answers are: “Beneath the ice,” and “Pretty good, but a few weeks of winter still remain.” Another frequent question […]

Deer Hunting – North Dakota Winter Gathering

February 1, 2012 by  

Deer Hunting – North Dakota Winter Gathering

by Doug Leier As a biologist I deal with aspects of fish and wildlife behavior on a routine basis. Hardly a week goes by that I don’t get at least one phone call or email from someone who witnessed an odd, strange, or erratic animal behavior, or saw something in an unusual location. Especially when […]

Sage Grouse Hunting – Management

January 25, 2012 by  

Sage Grouse Hunting – Management

by Doug Leier Sage Grouse Hunting Because of a long-term population decline throughout their native range, in 2010 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considered listing sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act. Since sage grouse inhabit the extreme southwestern part of North Dakota, this development was of particular interest within the State Game and […]

Outdoor Activities Sharing Memories

January 23, 2012 by  

Outdoor Activities Sharing Memories

by Doug Leier Over the holidays I bumped into an old high school friend, and true to form for a couple of guys who love the outdoors and also have young families, we began sharing memories of outdoor activities. Living in Montana, Jon has had the opportunity to hunt elk in the same manner we […]

Hunting seasons – Banquets & Board Meetings

January 12, 2012 by  

Hunting seasons – Banquets & Board Meetings

by Doug Leier While many hunters and anglers associate spring and summer with fishing season and fall with hunting season, truth be told, in North Dakota fishing is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days each year. And while hunting season is generally considered a fall season, with small game […]

Fall Turkey Hunting – Small Game – Deer Questionnaires

January 4, 2012 by  

Fall Turkey Hunting – Small Game – Deer Questionnaires

by Doug Leier After a couple of cups of coffee and the usual bantering about weather at my favorite corner convenience store, a recent discussion turned to Game and Fish Department surveys. Not the kind for which biologists annually count deer or ducks, but the kind that just about every hunter or angler receives from […]

Ice Fishing – Abundant Opportunities in ND

January 2, 2012 by  

Ice Fishing – Abundant Opportunities in ND

by Doug Leier The older I get the faster time seems to pass. My neighbor and friend Mick explained a few years ago it’s a function of the percentage of life. Case in point is remembering the vivid details of my first trip to the old outdoor movie theatre in Valley City more than three […]

Awaiting a new Deer Hunting Season in ND

December 21, 2011 by  

Awaiting a new Deer Hunting Season in ND

by Doug Leier For a lot of North Dakotans, the end of 2011 can’t come fast enough. While none of us can predict exactly how the coming year will unfold, for the state as a whole, and most wildlife in particular, 2012 just has to bring improvement, doesn’t it? As a biologist, I’m always interested […]

Ice Fishing for Northern Pike – Darkhouse Spearing

December 14, 2011 by  

Ice Fishing for Northern Pike – Darkhouse Spearing

by Doug Leier When it comes to trying something new, I’ll admit I usually need a good reason to change or replace anything in my routine. From breakfast to fishing, after nearly four decades on earth I still gravitate toward my preferred options – sausage and eggs for breakfast and worms and bluegills for fishing. […]

Recreational Fishing – Fish Transportation

December 8, 2011 by  

Recreational Fishing – Fish Transportation

by Doug Leier In the early 1990s I was attending junior college in Bottineau, and enjoyed many trips to other parts of the state to visit friends and relatives. It was a great time to explore different corners of the state around Bismarck, Fargo and Napoleon, but a couple of observations during that time are […]

Mild Fall Hunting

November 27, 2011 by  

Mild Fall Hunting

by Doug Leier Each year without even having to review, I can count on a few standard column topics finding their way onto my screen, like spring fishing, deer season questions and answers, and the pheasant outlook. At the end of the year I take a look back at the previous seasons and often look […]

Deer Hunting – CWD Q & A

November 17, 2011 by  

Deer Hunting – CWD Q & A

by Doug Leier Chronic Wasting Disease Questions and Answers In the last two years, two North Dakota deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. These are the first two positive cases discovered in the state among thousands of deer tested over the last decade or so. Here’s a closer look at CWD with some […]

Deer Hunting Tips – Meat Preparation

November 10, 2011 by  

Deer Hunting Tips – Meat Preparation

by Doug Leier Each year it seems I somehow wind up as part of a large number of hunters who receive a recycled email joke about making beef taste like venison. Most who read it find themselves nodding their head and chuckling, as the masses who’ve hunted deer can relate to the uneasy truthfulness of […]

Where I Hunt

October 13, 2011 by  

Where I Hunt

By Doug Leier I live in a great neighborhood. While most people think their neighborhood is the best, I know mine is. I’m not trying to pick a fight, but it’s the best I could ask for, with a mixture of ages and backgrounds probably not much different than many neighborhoods in the state. When […]

Fall in ND

September 28, 2011 by  

Fall in ND

By Doug Leier Most kids grow up looking forward to the Christmas season. Even before Thanksgiving turkey is served they are counting the days before they can open their share of the wrapped boxes beneath the tree. Many hunters feel that way about October. While September offers its archery and dove and grouse and crane […]

PLOTS Guide

September 21, 2011 by  

PLOTS Guide

Doug Leier Over the past two decades the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has emphasized wildlife habitat enhancement and hunting access on private land through its Private Land Initiative. Most North Dakota hunters are familiar with the Private Land Open to Sportsmen program, which provides walking hunting access to more than a million acres […]

ND Flooding

August 31, 2011 by  

ND Flooding

By Doug Leier You don’t have to live in Minot, Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City or Devils Lake to have battled through drifts of snow and waves of floods through the past several months. Like many North Dakotans I’ve spent my share of time working in and through these floods since last spring, everything from sandbagging […]

ND Fishing Questions

August 11, 2011 by  

ND Fishing Questions

By Doug Leier Questions tend to flow with the seasons and while hunting is starting to gain ground, fishing continues to lead my list of phone, email and random inquiries. Here’s a sample of some the North Dakota Game and Fish Department typically receives, with answers from the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. Why […]

Littering Problems

June 8, 2011 by  

Littering Problems

By Doug Leier Most of us who spend time outdoors occasionally wind up in a spot that makes us think we are the only human to have ever stood or floated in that exact location. Realistically, at least in this part of the world, that’s probably not true. If the natural setting is not altered, […]

Boating Safety

May 31, 2011 by  

Boating Safety

By Doug Leier Many anglers and recreational boaters enjoy reading through information and testimonials on the latest electronics and power options for a boat or personal watercraft. It’s a good thing to invest time into finding out ways to more efficiently use every last second of fun outdoors. While honestly no one would expect the […]

Fishing Paddlefish

April 20, 2011 by  

Fishing Paddlefish

By Doug Leier Given North Dakota’s geographic location, sort of on the fault line between east and west, and north and south, it’s easy to understand the state’s diversity of fish and wildlife species. Few states can claim such a variety of critters in terms of roosters, bucks, ducks and pike. In fact after a […]

Aquatic Nuisance Species

April 13, 2011 by  

Aquatic Nuisance Species

By Doug Leier It feels like just yesterday, when in fact it’s been over a year and a half, since the first official discovery of zebra mussels in the Red River watershed. First, these aquatic nuisance species were found established in a Minnesota lake upstream of the Red River. Then, to no one’s surprise, they […]

Good North Dakota Fishing

March 30, 2011 by  

Good North Dakota Fishing

By Doug Leier The late Dean Hildebrand was North Dakota Game and Fish Department director from 1996 through 2005 and he had a well-developed vocabulary of catch phrases and sayings. One description I heard repeatedly for years was his exclamation that, “We’re living in the good old days when it comes to hunting and fishing.” […]

Fishing Trivia

March 23, 2011 by  

Fishing Trivia

By Doug Leier If you asked my wife about my ability to recall seemingly useless fishing trivia data, she would likely say that it is times annoying. I’m not bragging about it, not a chance, but I’ve never understood how I can easily forget the whereabouts of my keys, cell phone, the remote control and […]

Wildlife Biology Career

March 16, 2011 by  

Wildlife Biology Career

By Doug Leier Sooner or later – most likely later – what feels like spring will arrive. Just looking at the calendar makes that a pretty safe prediction, but I also know that spring is getting closer because of a bump in the volume of calls I get from students and parents looking for guidance […]

March in ND

March 6, 2011 by  

March in ND

By Doug Leier We’re each afforded our own perspective on the beginning of spring. Sports fans point toward baseball’s spring training, turkey hunters anxiously await the April 9 gobbler season opener, and you could fill up pages with other events or notable milestones that people consider as an unofficial arrival of spring The calendar, of […]

ND Non-Game Species

February 24, 2011 by  

ND Non-Game Species

By Doug Leier Biologists categorize more than 80 percent of North Dakota’s wildlife species as nongame, or those that don’t answer to the name of rooster, buck or sprig. And yet, the few species for which hunting or fishing is allowed attract the lion’s share of concerns from people who enjoy the outdoors. This winter […]

The Plight of the Partridge

February 22, 2011 by  

The Plight of the Partridge

By Doug Leier When it comes to winter and wildlife, we give much time and attention to pheasants and deer. While I won’t begrudge the attention for arguably the two most popular hunted species in North Dakota, there’s a host of other critters working their way through winter with us as well. Some, like the […]

North Dakota Bald Eagles

February 10, 2011 by  

North Dakota Bald Eagles

The recovery of the bald eagle is one of the most visible conservation recovery success stories for our nation. While the plight of whooping cranes and California condors is well documented and well known, these birds have struggled to gain ground and are still rooted on the endangered species list. The bald eagle, on the […]

Feeding Wildlife in the Winter

February 2, 2011 by  

Feeding Wildlife in the Winter

By Doug Leier I haven’t checked my archives, but even if I wrote last year about the human desire to feed wildlife during a difficult winter, it’s a topic that bears another look. Years ago in specific scenarios, feeding of wildlife didn’t send up red flags to biologists. Nowadays, however, the best information available tells […]

Snowmobiles Deer Hunting

January 25, 2011 by  

Snowmobiles Deer Hunting

By Doug Leier Every about this time, at least in those years when North Dakota’s landscape is covered with snow, the State Game and Fish Department and other agencies work to remind outdoor recreationists to keep an eye out for wildlife. We could almost get by without even mentioning it. Most people who cross-country ski […]

Looking Ahead

January 11, 2011 by  

Looking Ahead

By Doug Leier Looking ahead to 2011 in the outdoors world is kind of like assessing the preseason prospects of your favorite sports team. We kind of have an idea of what to expect, but unpredictable variables like major storms, timely rains or extended dry periods – or injuries in the case of sports – […]

Crossbow Hunting

January 3, 2011 by  

Crossbow Hunting

Doug Leier For most of us, crossbows are not a real common topic in hunting discussions. You’ve probably seen them on an outdoors television program or maybe in person at a trade show or other event, but overall use of a crossbow is not that common around the country, most likely because they are not […]

Late Season Pheasant Hunting

December 10, 2010 by  

Late Season Pheasant Hunting

By Doug Leier For those of us who like to spend as much time as possible on the outside of the window, October is a sort of early Christmas present. Hunting seasons for just about everything are open, and fall fishing can be just as hot as summer, but without humidity and mosquitoes. While crunching […]

Greenheads

October 20, 2010 by  

Greenheads

By Doug Leier North Dakota has such an array of duck species nesting in the state there’s a good chance most hunters will remember a teal, gadwall, pintail or shoveler as their first duck and instead of a mallard. And there’s nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with bragging about the first duck regardless of […]

2010 Duck Season

September 29, 2010 by  

2010 Duck Season

By Doug Leier The NFL season opened a few weeks back with many teams having high expectations for a banner year. Such is the case for the North Dakota waterfowl season, which opens Sept. 25 for residents and Oct. 2 for nonresidents. High expectations, however, are not always realized due to factors that no one […]

Hunter Safety

September 2, 2010 by  

Hunter Safety

By Doug Leier For many of us, the transition from summer recreation to fall isn’t as gradual as we’d like. Many of my hunting friends are involved in other activities like softball and golf, and the only valid comparison between those and hunting is about the same as the comparison between fishing and hunting: they […]

Fall Fishing Bonanza

August 25, 2010 by  

Fall Fishing Bonanza

By Doug Leier It comes as no surprise that when August begins losing to September, for many North Dakota residents hunting starts to win out over fishing in the competition for free-time activities. But I’d also suggest, if you’ve bagged plenty of days pounding the North Dakota prairie, without experiencing the thrill of fall fishing, […]

CRP Signup Time

August 18, 2010 by  

CRP Signup Time

By Doug Leier Whether we like it or not, it’s part of human nature to take for granted things that become part of our lives or benefit us over the long term. The only way we can truly appreciate the value of what we have, is to have less of it. In the outdoor world, […]

Freshwater Shrimp

August 4, 2010 by  

Freshwater Shrimp

By Doug Leier As a child growing up in northwestern North Dakota, seafood was a special treat, to the point that even fish sticks were considered a pretty rare dinner at home.. Thirty-five years ago “fresh” North Dakota seafood came frozen in a box and was usually deep fried. One of my fondest memories of […]

Looking to Fall in ND

August 3, 2010 by  

Looking to Fall in ND

By Doug Leier With the Vikings into training camp, regardless of who plays quarterback for the Purple this fall, most experts agree it should be a good season. The same goes for North Dakota’s primary gamebird species this fall. That said, there’s no guarantee and we really won’t know until hunters or football players take […]

Hunting Sage Grouse

July 20, 2010 by  

Hunting Sage Grouse

By Doug Leier While it won’t become official until the annual small game hunting proclamation is finalized later this month, it’s a certainty that North Dakota will not have a sage grouse season again this fall. This will mark the third year in a row that the state has not had an open season on […]

Livewell Maintenance

July 20, 2010 by  

Livewell Maintenance

By Doug Leier For the better part of 10 years I’ve written a weekly column, none of which have explored the topic of livewells. The recent discovery of a zebra mussel veliger in the Red River, however, is changing that. Livewells and veligers link together because veligers are the tiny larvae of zebra mussels. They […]

20 Years Outdoors

June 18, 2010 by  

20 Years Outdoors

By Doug Leier One of the consequences of having four distinct seasons is that we slot various activities during certain times of year. Spring is big for graduations and a few weddings, while in summer we cram and squeeze in vacations, long weekends and more weddings, along with family and class reunions. This year it’s […]

Fishing Memories

June 9, 2010 by  

Fishing Memories

By Doug Leier Every so often as the kids and I set off on an unknown excursion, I’ll quip, “let’s go make some memories.” I understand full well that setting off intentionally to make a memory is part tongue-in-cheek, and the purpose of most outdoor outings for me is spending quality time with the family. […]

Bluegills for Kids

June 2, 2010 by  

Bluegills for Kids

By Doug Leier Late in the 1980s my family moved from LaMoure to Valley City. I’d fished the Jim River and Lake LaMoure prior to the move, and enjoyed an array of fish, from pike to perch and even the lowly carp. In Barnes County around Valley City, I spent a good chunk of time […]

Slot Limits

May 27, 2010 by  

Slot Limits

By Doug Leier I’ve got one lunker fish to my credit and I won’t lie, it was more about luck than skill, and that’s how it usually works for me. Save for the hardcore anglers who spend more time fishing than sleeping, the majority of us are not on the water fishing three hours a […]

Youth in the Outdoors

May 27, 2010 by  

Youth in the Outdoors

By Doug Leier The 2009 North Dakota Legislature continued a recent nationwide trend by creating a few new opportunities designed to recruit and retain hunters. A year ago, elected representatives of North Dakota endorsed an apprentice license for hunters who haven’t taken and passed a certified hunter education course. The legislature also reduced the minimum […]

Fish Disease

May 21, 2010 by  

Fish Disease

Throughout the year, North Dakota Game and Fish Department staff field an array of calls and questions on oddities in the fish and wildlife world. Just the deer season alone results in many calls about rank meat, abnormal growths or sick looking deer. As spring and summer fishing gets into full gear, inquiries turn to […]

Missouri Rivers on the Rise

April 30, 2010 by  

Missouri Rivers on the Rise

For the first time in years, both of North Dakota’s Missouri River reservoirs are starting off the spring at normal pool elevation, which should mean good things for fishing in the future. In the case of Lake Sakakawea, that doesn’t necessarily mean better angling this year, though, as it takes a few years for fish […]

Wildlife Photo Periods

April 14, 2010 by  

Wildlife Photo Periods

By Doug Leier In the name of positive thinking, I’ve always operated under the assumption that spring arrives with March and winter isn’t officially on the table until January. That makes for a short eight weeks of winter in my mind. However, when the first snow flies in October and shelterbelts are still packed with […]

Protecting Your Garden from Deer

April 8, 2010 by  

Protecting Your Garden from Deer

By Doug Leier I’ll never be mistaken for a master gardener, and it really doesn’t bother me. Beyond borrowing the neighbor’s tiller and breaking up the ground each spring, I lose interest in the garden even before the first spuds are planted. So it comes as no surprise that when a stray rabbit is clipping […]

ND Fishing Reg Changes

March 31, 2010 by  

ND Fishing Reg Changes

By Doug Leier Rather than wholesale changes on a yearly basis, the bulk of North Dakota’s fishing rules and regulations are implemented every two years, and 2010 is one of the years when we get a new fishing proclamation. The new regulations begin April 1 and are in place until March 31, 2012. By no […]

ND Spring Snow Geese

March 24, 2010 by  

ND Spring Snow Geese

By Doug Leier The 2010 spring snow goose conservation season opened Feb 20. No we didn’t make a mistake, the probability of snow geese migrating back into North Dakota before March is slim, but the remote chance of a mild winter, limited snow cover and early spring are possible. Yes, I said possible, but improbable. […]

All in the Stats

March 17, 2010 by  

All in the Stats

By Doug Leier I’ve always been intrigued by numbers and the dynamics of statistics. While the numbers themselves, if they are accurate, are more or less facts, the factors contributing to those final statistics are where the real fun comes in. Consider, for instance, last fall’s deer and pheasant harvest numbers. When the North Dakota […]

Outdoors Online Licensing

March 10, 2010 by  

Outdoors Online Licensing

By Doug Leier With the possible exception of a first driver’s license, few people spin a nostalgic tale about buying a license “back in the day.” In fact, I struggle trying to come up with any story associated renewal of my North Dakota driver’s license. Same goes for my fishing license, except perhaps buying a […]

Low Impact Ice Fishing

February 10, 2010 by  

Low Impact Ice Fishing

By Doug Leier The “Dog Days” of winter for some begin in December and aren’t officially over until the last drift of snow disappears from the shelterbelt. I know, Dog Days is generally a summer term referring to a lingering hot and humid period in August, but it also seems appropriate for a long stretch […]

ND Predator Hunting & Trapping

January 28, 2010 by  

ND Predator Hunting & Trapping

By Doug Leier In the early 1980s trapping fox, coyotes, badgers, muskrat and a bonus mink did more than just pay for gas. Fur prices were strong and fox outnumbered coyotes to the point where a coyote pelt brought a nice reward, and the intense hunting and trapping effort helped keep numbers in check as […]

Building Fish Habitat

January 20, 2010 by  

Building Fish Habitat

By Doug Leier More than 40 years ago the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, in an effort to create structure for fish and create artificial habitat within Heart Butte Dam (Lake Tschida) in Grant County, sunk some old car bodies into the reservoir. As you might expect, the practice of using car bodies for […]

Give New Memories a Chance

January 14, 2010 by  

Give New Memories a Chance

By Doug Leier Most hunters and anglers remember their first deer, goose or big fish, but it’s the little things that happen in pursuit of game and fish that also help keep people interested in the long term. Think about it. I’d bet most readers would have a favorite story to share about getting stuck […]

Keep the Ice Clean

January 6, 2010 by  

Keep the Ice Clean

By Doug Leier One of my biggest outdoors pet peeves is trash. Empty cans along the river bank or discarded chip bags floating near the dock, even if it’s just one, seem to steal away the peaceful serenity that draws most of us outdoors. Maybe to a fault, I carry extra trash bags along to make […]

Here’s to 2010

December 30, 2009 by  

Here’s to 2010

By Doug Leier The driving theme for the past year outdoors is weather. In fact, any time we’re discussing fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation it’s a safe bet that weather is like flour in a recipe – one of the main ingredients. I’m sure few would argue if I said that weather is a dominating […]

How Cold Will This Winter Be?

December 23, 2009 by  

How Cold Will This Winter Be?

By Doug Leier I’ll precede my annual glance over the shoulder – one last look at the past year’s outdoor topics and issues – with a short holiday guide to the outdoors. What I offer are mid-winter outdoors opportunities, for the hunter, angler or even a parent looking for a vacation diversion or snowy excuse […]

Challenges of Stocking Fish

December 16, 2009 by  

Challenges of Stocking Fish

By Doug Leier Since the late 1990s a number of North Dakota lakes have lost their fisheries because of declining water levels. Now, after near-record snows last winter and abundant rain this summer and fall, many of them are “topped off” again and have the potential to support fish. This is part of the natural […]

Late Season Pheasant Hunting

December 9, 2009 by  

Late Season Pheasant Hunting

By Doug Leier Growing up as a kid in the 1980s, across the prairie from Williston to LaMoure and Valley City, December was a time of transition in our house. After the close of regular deer rifle season, the collection of my Dad’s gear in the “ready” position shifted from primarily hunting, to a mix […]

Tracking Martens, Fishers, and Otters

December 2, 2009 by  

Tracking Martens, Fishers, and Otters

By Doug Leier The list of creatures and critters I’ve never witnessed in North Dakota is much longer than I’d prefer. While I’ve watched North Dakota prairie chickens, bighorn sheep and peregrine falcons, I’ve yet to see a whooping crane or a live sage grouse, among others. But just because I’ve haven’t seen one doesn’t […]

Thanksgiving Time

November 25, 2009 by  

Thanksgiving Time

Over the years I’ve tried to make this column somewhat seasonal, writing about fishing in the spring and hunting in the fall, and following the latest conservation issues and outdoor topics. Since this column will come out around Thanksgiving, that’s the theme for the week. I’m thankful and feel blessed with the opportunity to interact […]

Deer Hunting Points

November 18, 2009 by  

Deer Hunting Points

By Doug Leier More than 30 years ago, when the North Dakota Game and Fish Department began managing deer in smaller units and issuing a specific number of buck or doe licenses – for example, 38,000 total licenses in 1980 – some “want to be” potential deer hunters actually had to stay home. Fortunately, that […]

Deer Management

November 5, 2009 by  

Deer Management

My guess is that most deer hunters don’t tire of the “Turdy Point Buck” tune on the radio until the backside of deer season. For a change, though, I’d sure enjoy listening to a refrain about hunting doe in North Dakota. Then again, doe hunting doesn’t quite get the credit it deserves. In fact, when […]

Sportsmen Against Hunger

November 2, 2009 by  

Sportsmen Against Hunger

By Doug Leier Good news for North Dakota deer hunters this year is that the Sportsmen Against Hunger venison donation program is back in full operation Last year, the program only accepted deer donated by bowhunters, because of concerns over the possibility of lead particles from bullets remaining in processed venison. In North Dakota, the […]

Go Green with Mallards

October 20, 2009 by  

Go Green with Mallards

By Doug Leier The next time you find yourself kicking cans in the shop, killing time at the gas station or coffee shop with the crew, I ask you to raise a question about favorite ducks. No doubt the wood duck would garner a share of votes, and the pintail has subtle grace and definition–that […]

Staying HIP

April 2, 2009 by  

Staying HIP

By Doug Leier For almost a decade, migratory bird hunters have had to get HIP. No, not the “hip,” that loosely means “aware” or “fashionable” according the Webster’s Dictionary, but HIP, as in registered with the Harvest Information Program. What is HIP? HIP is a survey method developed by states and the U.S. Fish and […]

The Duck Stamp

April 2, 2009 by  

The Duck Stamp

By Doug Leier Even if you’re not a duck hunter, I think you’ll appreciate what thousands of duck hunters across the prairie are doing this fall. It’s about as simple a task as you can make it, and much of the time they don’t get enough credit for how they’ve contributed to the good of […]

The Value of Temporary Wetlands

March 30, 2009 by  

The Value of Temporary Wetlands

By Doug Leier A recent rainy spell has rekindled somewhat the time-worn debate over the value of wetlands, small ones in particular. North Dakota has hunreds of thousands of these small, shallow wetlands. They’re often called temporary wetlands because they typically only hold water for a few weeks after spring snow melt, or after heavy […]

The Mysterious Coot

March 29, 2009 by  

The Mysterious Coot

By Doug Leier Have you ever thought about hunting coots? To be honest, most hunters never even consider bagging one and bringing it home, even though they are readily available on many North Dakota waters and regulations allow a daily limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30. But this season, I might think […]

Survey Says

March 25, 2009 by  

Survey Says

By Doug Leier With the final shots of North Dakota’s bird hunting seasons behind us as of the close of turkey hunting on Jan. 11, we’re actually only weeks away from the opening of the 2009 spring snow goose conservation season on Feb. 21. Beyond that, the spring turkey season is only a couple of […]

August Goose Hunting

March 25, 2009 by  

August Goose Hunting

By Doug Leier Non hunters and hunters who don’t target Canada geese may be a bit take off guard when learning those hunters they’ve seen and heard are out taking part in the early Canada goose season in North Dakota–for good reason. In 1988 the US Fish and Wildlife Service annual spring waterfowl survey indicated […]

The Canada Goose

March 25, 2009 by  

The Canada Goose

By Doug Leier I  don’t think of myself as a veteran hunter. But when I put pen to paper and add up the years, I realize it’s been nearly 25 of them since I took hunter education in LaMoure in 1984. During that time, I’ve already experienced some significant changes in our hunting landscape. In […]

Hunter’s Choice Waterfowl Regulations

March 24, 2009 by  

Hunter’s Choice Waterfowl Regulations

By Doug Leier About 15 years ago I attended my first Game and Fish Department advisory board meeting. I was a fisheries and wildlife management student at North Dakota State University, and had a goal of one day working in the natural resource field. I decided it might be a positive learning experience to attend […]

Hook and Bobber Hunting

March 24, 2009 by  

Hook and Bobber Hunting

By Doug Leier I’ve come up with a new phrase describing how I hunt. Maybe it’s not mine originally, but it effectively describes what I’ve been doing for most of my life. Itxs called hook-and-bobber hunting. My intent is not to degrade how I hunt, or offend anglers who have no desire to use the […]