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Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest

2014 Contest Information

The North Dakota Game and Fish Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is an annual photo contest begun in 1989. The contest showcases North Dakota's wildlife, plant and insect species. Winning photos are displayed on the Department's website and in the January issue of the North Dakota Outdoors magazine, the Department's monthly magazine.

Contest Rules - This contest is open too all. Photos must be taken in North Dakota. See the contest rules page for more details and submission information.

Timeline - The deadline for submitting photos for the 2014 contest is (Sept. 30, 2014). Winning photographers will be notified via mail or email late Dec. 2014. Winning photos will be published in the January 2015 issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine.

Also see the North Dakota Game and Fish Department's Plots Guide Cover Photo Contest.

2013 Winners

Twenty-four years of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest and the images continue to impress. Photos for the 2013 contest came from all corners of the state and beyond, showing the diverse array of species that call North Dakota home. Photographs were selected from three categories. In total, 15 images were selected – one overall winner, three first place winners and runners-up in all categories.

The 2013 contest overall winner is of a pair of dark-eyed juncos taken by Melissa Erickson of McHenry, North Dakota. The winning image was shot near Erickson’s home as a flock of juncos huddled in a Rocky Mountain juniper to escape the blustery winter weather. The dark-eyed junco is one of North Dakota’s most common winter birds, but is said to be a rare nester in the state, as juncos prefer to nest in evergreen forests or mixed stands of evergreens and deciduous trees. North Dakota has two color variations of juncos. The slate-colored, as seen in the photo, is identified by its dark gray top, white belly and pink beak. The Oregon variety is recognized by its dark hood, pale sides and rusty brown back.

(Click on an image to see a larger version)

Overall Winner

Melissa Erickson
South of McHenry, ND
Dark-eyed junco

Game Species

First Place

Beth Willoughby
Near Fargo, ND
Hungarian partridge

Runner Ups

Art Mues
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Mule deer

Dale Neva
Near Steel, ND


Charles Black
Near Medora, ND

DeVane Webster
Oliver County, ND
Sharp-tailed grouse


Nongame Species

First Place

Sharon Watson
Buxton, ND
Cooper's Hawk

Runner Ups

Laurie Ries
Buffalo, ND
Ruby-throated hummingbird

Ross Warner
Near Menoken, ND
White-faced Ibis

Mike LaLonde
Near Menoken, ND
Black-crowned night heron


Plants and Insects

First Place

Nancy Secrest
Near Hettinger, ND

Runner Ups

Becky Graner
Near Huff, ND
Ball cactus

Sharon Watson
Near Buxton, ND
Leafy spurge hawk moth caterpillar


Susan Hummel
Near Bismarck, ND
Writing spider

Shelby Tagestad
Near Hazen, ND
Bee fly