Even though results from this summer’s survey indicated the bighorn sheep population in western North Dakota remains steady, State Game and Fish Department biologists are concerned about a significant decline in the number of adult rams.
Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist in Dickinson, said the July-August survey showed a minimum of 299 bighorn sheep, unchanged from last year and only 17 percent below 2008’s record summer survey.
North Dakota’s two-day youth pheasant season is Oct. 5-6. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger may hunt roosters statewide.
Resident youth hunters, regardless of age, must possess a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. Nonresident youth hunters from states that provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents qualify for North Dakota resident licenses. Otherwise, nonresident youth hunters must purchase a nonresident small game license.
The 2013 fall wild turkey lottery has been held and more than 930 licenses remain in seven units. Unsuccessful applicants who applied online will have a refund issued directly to their credit card.
Beginning Sept. 27, all remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters are allowed a maximum of 15 licenses for the fall season.
North Dakota’s second deer lottery has been held and individual results are available on the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
While slightly more than 1,000 antlerless deer licenses were still available after the second lottery, all of them are in units 3F1, 3F2 and 4F in the southwestern part of the state, where Game and Fish is receiving ongoing reports of white-tailed deer mortality caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease.
Whooping cranes are in the midst of their fall migration and sightings will increase as they make their way through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.
Waterfowl hunters are reminded to do their part in preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species into or within North Dakota.
Waterfowl hunters must remove plants and plant fragments from decoys, strings and anchors; remove plants seeds and plant fragments from waders and other equipment before leaving hunting areas; remove all water from decoys, boats, motors, trailers and other watercraft; and remove all aquatic plants from boats and trailers before leaving a marsh or lake. In addition, hunters are encouraged to brush their hunting dogs free of mud and seeds.
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.
Canada goose hunters are reminded the daily and possession limits in the Missouri River Zone differ from the rest of the state.
The daily bag limit for Canada geese in the Missouri River Zone is five, with 15 in possession. The remainder of the state has a daily bag of eight Canada geese, with 24 in possession. A hunter may take up to eight Canada geese in a day, provided no more than five come from the Missouri River Zone. Subsequently, a hunter may possess up to 24 Canada geese, provided not more than 15 come from the Missouri River Zone.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department advises hunters to be cautious with their dogs around water this time of year, due to potential health hazards associated with blue-green algae.
Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the Game and Fish Department, said late summer and early fall offer prime conditions for blue-green algae growth in many state waters. Ingestion by a hunting dog while perhaps retrieving a bird during the early goose season, or just practicing retrieving, can lead to severe illness and potential death.
North Dakota’s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August indicates total birds, number of broods and average brood size are all down statewide from 2012.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants are down 30 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were down 29 percent, and the average brood size was down 10 percent. The final summary is based on 253 survey runs made along 101 brood routes across North Dakota.
Friday, Sept. 20 at noon signals the start of a nine-and-a-half day deer hunting season for youth ages 12-15.
Licensed residents ages 12 and 13, and 11-year-olds who turn age 12 in 2013, are allowed to hunt statewide, but only for antlerless white-tailed deer. Resident deer gun hunters age 14 or 15, and 13-year-olds who turn age 14 in 2013, with a “youth season” license, can hunt statewide for any deer, except antlerless mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. In addition, a special license is required to hunt antlered mule deer in those same units.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is currently working with 18 landowners in 16 hunting units across the state who would like to host hunters with antlerless deer licenses in 2013.
Participating landowners are located in hunting units 2C, 2G2, 2I, 2J2, 2K2, 3A4, 3B3, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4B and 4E.
The program is not intended for buck hunters, but designed to direct hunters with antlerless licenses to specific areas to reduce deer populations.