Aerial observations during the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2012 was about the same as last year’s record low.
Biologists who accompanied pilots in fixed-wing planes counted 1,224 (1,055 in 2011) mule deer in the October survey. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.37 (0.47 in 2010) was similar to the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, and the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.59 equaled the lowest fawn-to-doe ratio since the demographic survey began in 1954. The long-term average is 0.92 fawns per doe.
North Dakota’s muzzleloader deer season opens at noon Friday, Nov. 30 and continues through Dec. 16. Hunters with a lottery muzzleloader license can hunt white-tailed deer statewide.
Hunters should refer to the 2012 North Dakota Deer Hunting Guide for more information.
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.
North Dakota’s deer gun season opens Nov. 9 at noon, and State Game and Fish Department officials are cautioning deer 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 ice.
The State Game and Fish Department recently honored the Tuttle Wildlife Club for its ongoing efforts to develop and improve public use facilities at numerous lakes in northern Kidder County.
Each year the Department’s fisheries division presents a “Certificate of Appreciation” to an organization that has signed on as a cooperating partner in local projects. District fisheries supervisor Paul Bailey said the Tuttle group is “an outstanding example of the difference a small club can make on their local fisheries.”
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department spent a record amount of time monitoring the state’s waterways looking for aquatic nuisance species in 2012. Despite these intense efforts only one new infestation was documented – curly leaf pondweed in Lake Elsie in Richland County.
Fisheries crews have completed their annual salmon spawning operation on Lake Sakakawea after collecting 1.5 million eggs, easily surpassing their goal of 900,000.
Fire danger is not typically a concern during deer season, but this year could be an exception in the southwestern part of the state.
Jeb Williams, North Dakota Game and Fish Department assistant wildlife chief, said even though much of the state has received much-needed moisture the past few weeks, some areas are still dry. “With temperatures forecasted to be in the 40s on the Nov. 9 deer opener, we encourage hunters to use common sense and to exercise caution to prevent fires,” Williams said.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters that hunting over bait is now prohibited in deer units 3C, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.
Hunting over bait is defined as the placement and/or use of bait(s) for attracting big game and other wildlife to a specific location for the purpose of hunting. Baits include but are not limited to grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay or any other natural or manufactured foods. The designation does not apply to the use of scents and lures, water, food plots, standing crops or livestock feeds used in standard practices.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters to keep in mind the Sportsmen Against Hunger program this fall.
While this year’s deer proclamation allows only one deer gun license per hunter, families with more than one license might want to consider donating a deer to this worthy cause. In addition, hunters with an archery and muzzleloader license can help as well.
Hunters harvesting a big game animal this fall in North Dakota deer unit 3F2 cannot transport a carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit unless it’s taken directly to a meat processor.
The head can be removed from the carcass and transported outside of the unit if it is to be submitted to a State Game and Fish Department district office, CWD surveillance drop-off location or a licensed taxidermist.
The state Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2012 hunting season, by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis from 17 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 western portion of the state will be tested from units 3A1, 3A2, 3A3, 3B1, 3B2, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F.