The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 159,000 birds were still hanging around the state.
Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 123,000 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 2,100 were scattered on Nelson Lake. Lake Sakakawea, declared frozen over on Dec. 26, had only about 100 geese near the Garrison Dam intake structure. Szymanski said after summarizing the numbers, a total of 127,000 Canada geese and 31,700 mallards were tallied statewide.
The state Game and Fish Department is offering 5,930 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, an increase of 135 from last year. The increase is a result of better production and chick recruitment.
Seven of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than in 2012, while 12 remain the same. Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2013 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.
The state Agriculture and Game and Fish departments have launched a cooperative project to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who would like to reduce coyote populations in their area.
Called the “Coyote Catalog,” the project creates an online database similar to what the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has used for the past several years to match deer hunters with farmers/ranchers who wanted to reduce deer populations on their land.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has a few openings available for a one-day winter workshop Jan. 26 at Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Darling, and a three-day workshop Feb. 22, 23 and 24 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau.
A darkhouse spearfishing class is offered for $50 at Upper Souris.
Dog sledding, snowshoeing, winter survival, darkhouse spearfishing, and cross-country skiing are classes available at Lake Metigoshe. Cost of the workshop is $135.
The state Game and Fish Department’s annual Earth Day awareness campaign is accepting entries for design of a 2013 Earth Day patch. North Dakota students ages 6-18 are eligible to participate. The deadline to submit entries is March 15.
The Game and Fish Department will announce a winner in three age categories – 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18. Each winner will receive a pair of Nikon 8x40 binoculars. The final patch design will be chosen from the three winners.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 180 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2013. Similar to last year and pending the final proclamation, antlerless mule deer may not be legal to harvest within a large area of western North Dakota.
The deadline for applying is March 1. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. If licenses remain after March 1, they 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.
This year’s midwinter bald eagle survey conducted Jan. 10 along the Missouri River revealed 61 bald eagles, slightly above-average since the survey started in 1986.
Patrick T Isakson, conservation biologist with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey route from Bismarck to the Garrison Dam is conducted at the same time each year, and in coordination with other surveys nationwide.
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 2012 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.
State Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand has appointed Duane DeKrey as the agency’s new deputy director.
DeKrey began his new position Jan. 1. Game and Fish had been without a deputy director since June when Roger Rostvet, who had served in the position since 1998, retired.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will once again track hunting and fishing issues during the 2013 legislative session.
Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by logging onto the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
A brief description of each bill will be included, along with the bill sponsor and hearing schedule. To view each bill in its entirety, click on the hot-linked bill number.
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., Jan. 18, at the department's main office in Bismarck.
Applicants must register to take the exam by submitting a letter of intent to chief game warden Robert Timian, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501 5095. Letters of intent must be submitted before 5 p.m., Jan. 17.
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: