Years of rising water, a record number of fishing lakes and aggressive fish management in North Dakota have helped produce record fishing license sales.
State Game and Fish Department fisheries chief Greg Power said in 2012-13 virtually every license category established a record high, or at the least had a substantial increase. “Even more impressive is this was spread throughout the state, and not just in the rapidly growing counties of western North Dakota,” Power said.
North Dakota’s pronghorn population is finally growing after five years of steady decline. However, Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor for the State Game and Fish Department, said numbers are still below population objectives and not high enough to warrant a hunting season. Therefore, the Game and Fish Department is recommending the pronghorn hunting season remain closed in 2013.
The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring a fur harvester education class in Bismarck, Jamestown and Dickinson for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers.
The free 16-hour course in Bismarck and Jamestwon is Aug. 13, 15 and 17. The course in Dickinson is Sept. 7 and 14.
Students will learn about traps, trapping and snaring techniques, furbearer biology and fur care. A field day allows students to make a variety of land, water and snare sets.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is proposing to chemically eradicate existing fish populations in Danzig Dam and the Storm Creek watershed in Morton County.
Aquatic habitat supervisor Scott Elstad said Danzig Dam was recently drawn down to install a water control structure and complete shore enhancement projects. The lake has a history of fish kills and the water control structure should help prevent significant winter kills.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has completed a draft revision of a 2005 plan that addresses conservation of sage grouse within the state. The Department is accepting public comments on the revised plan through Aug. 1.
The sage grouse plan is available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov; or by mail by contacting Game and Fish at (701) 328-6300.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently cooperated with Burleigh County to complete major gravel road repairs on the Oahe Wildlife Management Area south of Bismarck.
The project included reshaping and graveling nearly 8 miles of access roads at MacLean Bottoms and Apple Creek, which were severely damaged from the 2011 flood.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will host thousands of visitors to its Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park July 19-27 at the State Fair in Minot.
Visitors will be treated to an array of activities, exhibits and useful information as the park will be staffed from 1-7 p.m. daily. Pathways to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping are major attractions where fishing, shooting, archery and furtaking are taught to interested kids and adults. Of course, the opportunity to catch a fish brings excitement to the littlest angler.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program still has openings for the annual summer workshop Aug. 9-11 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau.
Enrollment is limited to participants age 18 or older. Workshop fees of $135 cover instruction, program materials, use of equipment, all meals and lodging.
Participants can choose from more than 30 programs, including archery, canoeing, introduction to firearms, fly-fishing, kayaking, global positioning system, plant identification, and tracking and trapping.
The deadline for submitting photos to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Sept. 30.
The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.
Contest entries are limited to digital files submitted on disk or via email. Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will conduct the 2013 deer gun lottery the last week in July.
Licensing manager Randy Meissner said several thousand paper applications need to be entered into the system before the lottery is held. “In the past we were able to run the lottery once all regular gun applications were entered, but with the new law it looks like the end of July will now become the normal time period for holding the deer lottery,” Meissner said.
North Dakota’s 2013 pheasant crowing count survey indicates that rooster numbers were down about 11 percent statewide compared to last year, heading into the spring breeding season.
All four pheasant districts had lower counts than last year. The number of crows heard in the northeast declined by 18 percent, southeast and southwest by 11 percent, and the northwest by nearly 2 percent.
In recognition of the Fourth of July celebration, outdoor recreationists can set up camp Tuesday and Wednesday, July 2-3 on some wildlife management areas that typically prohibit overnight camping those two days of the week.