The State Game and Fish Department has scheduled eight public meetings in February to discuss deer management in North Dakota.
Department officials will present an overview of the current deer population and prospects for the future, and look for input on possible options for changes in the way deer licenses are allocated.
A second deer taken from unit 3F2 during the 2013 deer gun season has tested positive for chronic wasting disease.
A hunter shot the adult whitetail buck in western Grant County and submitted the head for testing as part of the hunter-harvested surveillance program. Testing was performed at Michigan State University, and verification of initial tests results are pending from a national lab in Ames, Iowa. In addition, results from the remaining 3F2 samples, as well as all samples from the eastern third of the state, should be known in another month.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 172 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2014.
The deadline for applying is March 1. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants can apply together as a party. A separate check is required for each application.
North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.
The 2013 state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand recently honored a number of employees with performance-based awards. Steinwand presented the following awards at the department’s annual staff meeting Dec. 12.
Gene Van Eeckhout, Jamestown, and Brian Prince, Devils Lake, received the Special Projects award, given to an individual who implemented a successful new project.
Bruce Kreft, conservation biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the Department’s annual meeting Dec. 12 in Bismarck.
Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Kreft is the consummate professional and always represents the department with honor and dignity. “Bruce doesn’t require direction or fanfare, and brings a great attitude to work every day,” Steinwand said.
Courtney Sprenger, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden stationed in Elgin, is the state’s 2013 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Sprenger was honored recently by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.
In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Sprenger’s district contains a variety of wildlife and recreational areas, which presents many challenges.
Mountain lion hunting during the late season in zone 1 is closed immediately. The zone’s late-season quota of seven was filled after five cats were taken this weekend.
Zone 1 includes land south of ND Highway 1804 from the Montana border to the point where ND Highway 1804 lies directly across Lake Sakakawea from ND Highway 8, crossing Lake Sakakawea then south along ND Highway 8 to ND Highway 200, then west on ND Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 85, then south on U.S. Highway 85 to the South Dakota border.
North Dakota anglers are encouraged to refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide or the State Game and Fish Department’s website for winter fishing regulations.
In addition, anglers can visit the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, for an extensive list of fishing questions and answers, and a winter fishing preview from North Dakota Outdoors magazine.
Some winter fishing regulations include:
Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made out of materials that will allow it to float.
A popular question this time of the year is if campers qualify as legal fish houses. The answer is the same for any structure taken on the ice – if it’s left unattended, it must be able to float; if it’s not able to float, it must be removed when the angler leaves the ice.
Other fish house regulations include:
North Dakota ice anglers are reminded that regulations designed to reduce the spread of aquatic nuisance species also apply in winter, and law enforcement officials will continue their efforts to ensure compliance.
It’s important to reiterate that only legal live bait can be transported in water in a container up to five gallons. Neither game nor nongame species can be transported in water, although a daily catch can be packed in snow.
Other simple methods to prevent winter ANS introductions are:
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department have reopened the Coyote Catalog to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who want fewer coyotes in their areas.
The Coyote Catalog is an online database similar to the one the Game and Fish Department uses to connect deer hunters with farmers and ranchers.
“We’ve had a lot of success matching deer hunters with landowners,” said NDGF Director Terry Steinwand. “We hope the Coyote Catalog works out just as well.”