North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel have wrapped up surveys and sampling efforts for the open water season, and results point toward good conditions on the state’s big waters.
“Fishing in North Dakota continues to be record-setting on most all levels,” said Greg Power, fisheries chief. “A record number of fishing lakes has contributed considerably to the record number of fishing licenses sold in recent years.”
A new plan under consideration by the State Game and Fish Department would allow North Dakota deer hunters only one license per year, starting with the 2015 season.
The preferred license distribution plan is the result of a declining deer population and continuing high license demand. “This year we had about 30,000 people who applied for a deer gun license and didn’t get one in the lottery,” said Game and Fish wildlife division chief Jeb Williams. “This new system will give more people an opportunity to hunt deer each year, compared to our current system.”
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2014 bodes well for the future.
Biologists counted 1,969 (1,761 in 2013) mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.50 (0.46 in 2013) was slightly above the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.95 (0.74 in 2013) was the highest since 1999, and above the long-term average of 0.90 fawns per doe.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds deer hunters to find their license and check it for accuracy.
Every year the Game and Fish Department’s licensing section receives last-minute inquiries from hunters who can’t find their license. When that happens, it’s difficult to try to get a replacement license in time for the season opener.
Another reason to check the license now is to make sure the unit and species is what was intended.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department enforcement personnel are issuing a reminder that a permit is required before taking possession, or any part, of a dead deer found near a road or in a field, including the skull with antlers. Only shed antlers can be possessed without a permit.
Permits to possess are free and available from game wardens and local law enforcement offices.
In addition, hunters are reminded to properly dispose of dead deer. Harvested deer cannot be left on the side of a roadway or in a ditch, and deer parts cannot be discarded in commercial dumpsters.
The state Game and Fish Department will continue its Hunter-Harvested Surveillance program during the 2014 hunting season, by sampling deer for chronic wasting disease and bovine tuberculosis from 10 units in North Dakota. In addition, all moose and elk harvested in the state are eligible for testing.
All Deer Gun Licenses Issued
The 48,000 deer gun licenses that were allocated by proclamation for the 2014 hunting season have all been issued, according to Randy Meissner, licensing manager for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Meissner said according to state law, the number of deer gun licenses issued, including those licenses issued as gratis, cannot exceed the number of licenses authorized by the governor’s proclamation.
“This is the first time in more than a decade that all licenses were issued before opening day,” Meissner said.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination to select candidates for the position of district game warden. The test is at 10 a.m., Dec. 29, at the department's main office in Bismarck.
Applicants must register to take the exam by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.
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.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden Erik Schmidt is searching for answers in the illegal shooting of four white-tailed deer in Emmons County during opening weekend of pheasant hunting season.
Schmidt said two mature bucks, one a 4x4 and the other a 5x5, were found in a bean field 1.5 miles east of Strasburg. A doe and fawn were found in a stubble field 5 miles southwest of Linton. It is believed all four were shot late evening Oct. 11, or early morning Oct. 12.
Waterfowlers hunting from boats are encouraged to wear properly-fitted life jackets while on the water.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department boat and water safety coordinator Nancy Boldt said there are hunting jackets available with life jackets already built in.
“There are no excuses, they are light and comfortable to wear,” Boldt said.
Eight people have drowned in state waters since 1998 while hunting from a boat, and none were wearing life jackets. Boldt wants to make sure a duck hunter doesn’t become another statistic.
Fall turkey licenses remain in Unit 25 for hunters who do not have a license, or for those who want additional licenses. Hunters are allowed a maximum of 15 licenses for the fall season.
Unit 25 covers McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward counties.
Resident and nonresident hunters can apply online, or print out an application to mail, at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
The fall turkey season is open through Jan. 4, 2015.