North Dakota’s elk and moose hunting seasons are set with more licenses available in 2015 than last year. However, the bighorn sheep hunting season will be closed for the first time since 1983.
A total of 301 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, an increase of 40 from last year. Unit E1 has an additional 15 any-elk and 15 antlerless licenses, and unit E3 has an increase of 10 antlerless licenses. In addition, the split season antlerless elk only portion of E1 is eliminated to provide additional hunting opportunity and address late-season depredation issues.
The 2015 spring wild turkey lottery has been held and hopeful hunters can check individual results by accessing the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.
A total of 700 licenses remain in nine units. The governor’s proclamation allows a maximum of two licenses, and hunters who did not apply in the first drawing are also eligible.
Anglers are reminded that North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15.
Individuals who would still like to get out for the first time this year must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Registration is available through the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.
March 15 is also the deadline for anglers to remove permanent fish houses from state waters.
Anglers have until mid-March to remove permanent fish houses from North Dakota waters, and from any state wildlife management area or federal refuge land.
State law requires permanent fish houses must be removed from North Dakota waters by midnight March 15. In addition, it is illegal to leave fish houses on any state-owned or managed land, and federal refuge land, after March 15.
Anglers are advised to use caution while accessing area lakes because mild weather conditions can quickly result in unstable ice conditions.
North Dakota spring light goose hunters can track general locations of geese as birds make their way through the state.
Hunters are able to call 701-328-3697 to hear recorded information 24 hours a day. Migration reports are also posted on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Updates will be provided periodically during the week as migration events occur, until the season ends or geese have left the state.
The North Dakota Game Wardens Association has a $300 scholarship available for a graduating high school senior entering college in fall 2015 who enrolls in fisheries or wildlife management with an emphasis on law enforcement.
Applicants must be North Dakota residents and have maintained a 3.25 grade point average. The scholarship will be awarded to the student upon proof of enrollment in college.
Boat owners purchasing watercraft from private individuals this winter are reminded to register it in their name with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Registering a used watercraft purchased from an individual must include proof of transfer of ownership, such as a photocopy of the previous owner’s registration card, a canceled check or a signed note from the previous owner stating transfer of ownership.
Hunter success during last fall’s limited pronghorn hunting season was 89 percent, according to statistics provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
The first open season since 2009 was held only in unit 4-A, the far southwestern corner of the state. Game and Fish issued 249 licenses, and 235 hunters took 210 pronghorn, consisting of 199 bucks, five does and six fawns.
Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2014 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 88 percent for moose and 67 percent for elk.
The department issued four bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All five hunters harvested a bighorn ram.
North Dakota’s spring light goose season opens Feb. 21 and continues through May 17.
Residents can hunt during the spring season with either a *2014-15 or 2015-16 resident hunting license (fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a combination license; or a small game, plus general game and habitat license).
*NOTE: Residents must have a 2015 license beginning April 1. The 2014 license expires March 31.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 145,200 birds were in the state.
Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 87,700 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 30,600 were scattered on Nelson Lake. Lake Sakakawea, declared iced-over on Jan. 6, had no geese on the lake itself. Szymanski said after summarizing the numbers, 118,500 Canada geese and 26,500 mallards were tallied statewide.
All individuals who participate in darkhouse spearfishing are reminded to register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating.
Fisheries chief Greg Power said perfect conditions have led to record participation this winter. “Our pike population is at levels never seen before, and mild weather conditions coupled with very little snow have led to unlimited lake access,” Power said.