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Buffaloberry Patch

Article By 
Greg Freeman

CWD Surveillance Continues

The State Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2013 hunting season, by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis from 13 units in North Dakota. In addition, all moose and elk harvested in the state are eligible for testing.

Samples from hunter-harvested deer taken in the eastern portion of the state will be tested from units 1, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F1, 2F2, 2G, 2G1, 2G2 and 2L. In addition, deer will be tested from unit 3F2 in the southwest.

Every head sampled must have either the deer tag attached, or a new tag can be filled out with the license number, deer hunting unit and date harvested.


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Hunters should visit the Game and Fish website at for a complete list of locations participating in the surveillance effort.

CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. Scientists have found no evidence that CWD can be transmitted naturally to humans or livestock.




Catchable Trout Stocked


North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel stocked seven waters with catchable trout earlier this fall.

Jerry Weigel, Department fisheries development and production section leader, said the trout will provide exciting fall and winter fishing opportunities. “Shasta strain rainbow trout average more than 1 pound each, with some up to 5 pounds,” he said.

More than 800 were stocked in the Turtle River near Arvilla in Grand Forks County, while 115 went in the OWLS Pond in Burleigh County.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department also provided 7,500 Firehole strain rainbows as part of an annual trade for walleye fingerlings. Half-pound trout were stocked in McGregor Dam in Williams County, Lightning Lake in McLean County (closed to ice fishing), Fish Creek Dam and Harmon Lake in Morton County, and Mooreton Pond in Richland County.

“Trout provided from Wyoming give anglers a chance to catch unique strains and species that otherwise would require a trip to the Rocky Mountains,” Weigel said.

Anglers should refer to the fishing tab at the Game and Fish Department’s website,, for a complete stocking report.




Hunter Ed Classes

Hunter education courses have wrapped up for 2013.

However, individuals or parents with children who will need to take a course in 2014 should monitor the Game and Fish website as classes that begin in January will be added to the online services link as soon as times and locations are finalized. General class information and schedules may also be found at the department hunter education page.




Winter Fishing Regulations

Anglers are encouraged to refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide or the State Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations.

In addition, anglers can visit the Game and Fish website,, for an extensive list of fishing questions and answers.

Some winter fishing regulations include:

A maximum of four poles is legal for ice fishing. However, when fishing a water body where both open water and ice occur at the same time, an angler is allowed a maximum of four poles, of which no more than two poles can be used in open water.

Tip-ups are legal, and each tip-up is considered a single pole.

There is no restriction on the size of the hole in the ice while fishing. When a hole larger than 10 inches in diameter is left in the ice, the area in the immediate vicinity must be marked with a natural object. See regulations for more information.

It is only legal to release fish back into the water immediately after they are caught. Once a fish is held in a bucket or on a stringer, they can no longer be legally released in any water.

It is illegal to catch fish and transport them in water.

It is illegal to leave fish, including bait, behind on the ice.

Depositing or leaving any litter or other waste material on the ice or shore is illegal.

Any dressed fish to be transported, if frozen, must be packaged individually. Anglers are not allowed to freeze fillets together in one large block. Two fillets count as one fish.

The daily limit is a limit of fish taken from midnight to midnight, and no person may possess more than one day’s limit of fish while actively engaged in fishing. The possession limit is the maximum number of fish that an angler may have in his or her possession during a fishing trip of more than one day.




Ice Awareness for Hunters, Anglers

State Game and Fish Department officials caution hunters to be wary of where they hunt. Late-season weather conditions can quickly cause North Dakota’s small and mid-sized waters to ice over, giving the appearance of safe foot travel.

Nancy Boldt, Department boat and water safety coordinator, said hunters should be cautious of walking on frozen stock ponds, sloughs, creeks and rivers.

“Ice can form overnight, causing unstable conditions for thousands of deer hunters that participate in the hunting season,” she said. “Even though deer might be able to make it across, it doesn’t mean hunters can.”

Ice thickness is not consistent, Boldt said, as it can vary significantly within a few inches. Hunters walking the edge of a cattail slough will not find the same ice thickness in the middle.

“The edges firm up faster than the center,” she said. “So, with your first step the ice might seem like it is strong enough, but it isn’t anywhere near solid enough once you progress away from the shoreline.”

And in the case of snowfall, Boldt cautions hunters to be aware of snow-covered ice. Snow insulates ice, inhibiting solid ice formation, and makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides cracked, weak and open water areas.

“Basically, if there is ice formation during the deer season, stay away from it,” Boldt said. “It will not be safe.”

Winter anglers are also encouraged to consider early ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota lakes.

Keep in mind:

  • While snow insulates ice, hampering solid ice formation, it also makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides the blemishes, such as cracked, weak and open water areas.
  • Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
  • Ice shouldn’t be judged by appearance alone. Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.
  • Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.
  • The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

These tips could help save a life:

  • Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.
  • Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.
  • If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.
  • To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport victim to a hospital.




Advisory Board Meetings Announced

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meeting in their area.

These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.

The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the Department and public.

Any person who requires an auxiliary aid or service must notify the contact person at least five days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

  • District 1 – Divide, McKenzie and Williams counties
  • Date: November 25 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: Williston MDU Building
  • Host: Missouri United Sportsmen
  • Contact: Wayne Aberle, (701) 770-6902
  • Advisory board member: Jason Leiseth, Arnegard, (701) 586-3714
  • District 3 – Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties
  • Date: November 25 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: Rolette Memorial Hall
  • Contact/Advisory board member: Tom Rost, Devils Lake, (701) 662-8620
  • District 7 – Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux counties
  • Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: Hazen Golf Course       
  • Host: Hazen Wildlife Club
  • Contact: Mike Ness, (701) 748-3773
  • Advisory board member: Frank Kartch, Bismarck, (701) 516-2156
  • District 2 – Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward counties
  • Date: November 26 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: Anamoose VFW Club
  • Host: Anamoose Wildlife Club
  • Contact: Myron Miller, (701) 465-3631
  • Advisory board member: Robert Gjellstad, Voltaire, (701) 338-2281
  • District 6 – Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells counties
  • Date: December 2 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: The Bunker, 1520 3rd Street SE, Jamestown
  • Host: United Sportsmen of North Dakota
  • Contact: Larry Kukla, (701) 320-4182
  • Advisory board member: Joel Christoferson, Litchville, (701) 973-4981
  • District 8 – Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark counties
  • Date: December 2 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: Scranton Town Hall
  • Host: Scranton Rod and Gun Club
  • Contact: Gary Symanowski, (701) 275-8807
  • Advisory board member: Dwight Hecker, Fairfield, (701) 575-4952
  • District 4 – Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties
  • Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: Minto Community Center
  • Host: Minto Area Sportsmen’s Club
  • Contact: Chris Misialek, (701) 248-3978
  • Advisory board member: Ronald Houdek, Tolna, (701) 262-4724
  • District 5 – Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill counties
  • Date: December 3 – 7 p.m.
  • Location: Cayuga Community Center
  • Host: Southeast Sportsmen’s Club
  • Contact: Donald Dathe, (701) 736-2460
  • Advisory board member: Duane Hanson, West Fargo, (701) 367-4249




ANS Prevention in Winter

North Dakota ice anglers are reminded that regulations designed to reduce the spread of aquatic nuisance species also apply in winter.

It’s important to reiterate that only legal live bait can be transported in water in a container up to five gallons. Both game and nongame species cannot be transported in water, although a daily catch can be packed in snow. 

Other simple methods to prevent winter ANS introductions are:

  • Do not use illegally imported baits.
  • Do not empty a bait bucket into any water body.
  • Do not drop plant fragments into the water.
  • Dispose of any unused bait into the trash.




Order 2014 OUTDOORS Calendars

2014 Calendar

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is taking orders for its North Dakota OUTDOORS calendar, the source for hunting season and application dates for 2014. Along with outstanding color photographs of North Dakota wildlife and scenery, it also includes sunrise-sunset times and moon phases.

To order, send $3 for each, plus $1 postage, to: Calendar, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095. Be sure to include a three-line return address with your order, or the post office may not deliver our return mailing.

The calendar is the North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine’s December issue, so current subscribers will automatically receive it in the mail.





Fisheries Division Recognizes Wahpeton Park Board

Fisheries Award

The State Game and Fish Department has honored the Wahpeton Park Board for its ongoing efforts to develop and improve public boating and fishing facilities at numerous lakes, rivers and recreation sites in Richland County.

Each year the Department’s fisheries division presents a “Certificate of Appreciation” to an organization that has a history of accomplishments as a cooperating partner in local fisheries projects. Bob Frohlich, Department fisheries development supervisor, said the park board is a perfect example of how a willing entity can make a difference for local fisheries.


“The Wahpeton Park Board and its members have helped with construction and installation of boat ramps, courtesy docks, toilets, fishing piers, fishing access roads and parking areas at Mooreton Pond, Brushvale Landing and numerous sites on the Red River in the immediate Wahpeton area,” Frohlich said. “They have also assumed primary responsibility for maintaining these facilities after construction, and the park board does an outstanding job in performing this task.”




Lakes Closed to Fishing

Anglers are reminded that three North Dakota lakes are closed to ice fishing.

The State Fair Pond in Ward County, McDowell Dam in Burleigh County and Lightning Lake in McLean County are closed when the lakes ice over.

Anglers should refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide for open water and winter fishing regulations.




Sportsmen Against Hunger Accepting Deer, Light Goose Meat


North Dakota’s Sportsmen Against Hunger Program is again accepting donations of deer at select processors across the state. In addition, the program is also able to accept light goose breast meat (snow, blue and Ross’s geese) for the first time this fall.

Canada goose meat, while accepted during the early goose season, is not eligible for donation during the regular waterfowl season.

Sportsmen Against Hunger is a program administered by the North Dakota Community Action Partnership, a nonprofit agency that serves low-income families across the state. SAH raises funds to pay for processing of donated deer and geese, and coordinates distribution of ground venison and goose meat to food pantries around the state.

The State Game and Fish Department strongly supports the SAH program and encourages hunters to consider donating deer, according to agency Director Terry Steinwand. The program can accept whole deer only, which must be processed at a participating licensed meat processor.

According to NDCAP executive director Andrea Olson, the SAH program has sufficient funding available to process deer and geese this fall. “The meat that is generated is so appreciated by the families who receive it,” Olson said. “They are all so grateful for access to a nutritious source of protein; something that is often expensive and otherwise difficult for them to obtain.”

A list of participating processors and more information is available on the Community Action website at




Staff Notes

John Mazur

John Mazur of Pingree has been hired as the Department’s hunter education coordinator. Mazur has a parks and recreation management degree from Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania, with a master’s in business administration from the University of Mary, Bismarck. Mazur has experience as a private land biologist at Chase Lake Wetland Management District with Ducks Unlimited. He is currently an officer with the North Dakota National Guard.





Fishing Tournaments Require 30-Day Notice

Fishing Tournaments

Organizers planning fishing tournaments, including ice fishing contests this winter, are reminded to submit an application to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at least 30 days prior to the start of the event.

The 30-day advance notice allows for review by agency staff to ensure the proposed tournament will not have negative consequences or conflicts with other proposed tournaments for the same location and/or time.

Tournaments may not occur without first obtaining a valid permit from the Department.

In addition, the number of open-water tournaments on lakes Sakakawea and Oahe, the Missouri River and Devils Lake are capped each year, depending upon the time of the year and location. Tournament sponsors for these waters must submit their application prior to January 1 to ensure full consideration.