Game and Fish violations handled by state game wardens are many and varied, from hunting and fishing without a license, to boating under the influence.
The number of violations handled by North Dakota Game and Fish Department wardens were down in 2016 (2,286 violations) compared to 2015 (2,428 violations).
Under the circumstances, this doesn’t surprise me.
At full force, the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement division has 29 district game wardens stationed across the state. In 2016, the division was short three wardens for much of the year.
When a warden is hired by the Game and Fish Department, successful applicants aren’t just assigned to a station and turned loose. New wardens must first complete 12 weeks at the Law Enforcement Training Academy in Bismarck, followed by a minimum of 12 weeks of internal field training. Basically, from the day a warden is hired, it takes roughly six months before that warden is working his or her assigned district on their own.
So, over an extended period of time in 2016, essentially three enforcement districts in the state were not fully staffed.
Also in 2016, the Game and Fish Department dedicated three game wardens, working on a rotating basis, to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest response in Morton County. This assignment, which takes wardens from their districts for five days or so at a time, began in October and continues yet today.
Through the end of January, state game wardens had contributed more than 3,900 regular and overtime hours to the protest response, with salary and operational costs of more than $300,000 that will be reimbursed by the state.
While enforcement of game and fish related laws is the primary duty of the Department’s game wardens, these men and women provide assistance to other law enforcement efforts within the state, especially when assistance is related to public safety.
This has always been the way, with officers helping each other when summoned, regardless of agency or department, especially in areas away from major population centers where law enforcement resources are limited.
No matter the circumstances, Game and Fish Department enforcement division will continue to do the best it can with the resources provided for the state’s hunters, anglers and general public.
This year, lawmakers are gathered in Bismarck at the 65th Legislative Assembly. As I write this in late January, there are 28 hunting and fishing related bills that, depending on their outcome, determine how the Game and Fish Department does business for the next two years.
While the legislative process can seem intimidating to some people, it is designed to allow public input.
Understanding this, it is important for hunters, anglers and other recreationists to make their views known. OUTDOORS readers have a vested interested in the process, and a responsibility to monitor legislation bills and provide informed input to local legislators.
|2016 Summary of Violations|
|Hunting in closed season||2|
|Failure to wear fluorescent orange||4|
|Killing wrong species or sex||4|
|Other big game violations||11|
|Using gun able to hold more than 3 shells||60|
|Hunting in closed season||4|
|Failure to leave identification or sex of game||38|
|Killing wrong sex or species||2|
|Nontoxic shot violation||4|
|Failure to carry federal waterfowl stamp||13|
|Hunting in unharvested fields||10|
|Other small game violations||38|
|Use of unlicensed or unnumbered boat||41|
|Failure to display boat registration||63|
|Operating without lights at night||45|
|Inadequate number of PFDs||228|
|Water skiing violations||57|
|Reckless or negligent operation||4|
|Operating vessel under influence/intoxicated||21|
|Other boating violations||80|
|Fishing with excessive lines||57|
|Fishing in closed/restricted area||7|
|Failure to attend lines||16|
|No identification on fish house||5|
|Other fishing violations||55|
|Shining (using artificial light)||11|
|Harassing furbearers with motor vehicle||4|
|Other furbearer violations||15|
|Use of motor vehicle off established trail||10|
|Use of motor vehicle in restricted area||45|
|Harassing wildlife with motor vehicle||1|
|Hunting on posted land without permission||41|
|Hunting before/after legal hours||5|
|Aid in concealment of unlawful game||1|
|Hunting in wrong unit/closed area||3|
|Loaded firearm in motor vehicle||50|
|Discharge of firearm within/on motor vehicle||2|
|440 yard violation||4|
|Other general violations||19|
|Failure to sign/affix stamp||19|
|Hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license||226|
|Failure to carry license on person||317|
|Misrepresentation on license or application||41|
|Other licensing violations||19|
|WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS/REFUGE|
|Failure to obey posted regulations||59|
|Tree stand violations||13|
|Baiting on WMA||1|
|Prohibited uses of motor vehicles||16|
|Unlawful use of firearms||6|
|Other WMA/refuge violations||4|
|Possession of controlled substance||8|
|Possession of drug paraphernalia||6|
|Minor in possession||34|
Incidents 2016 – Top 10 Counties
(An incident is defined as any situation that requires a response from a game warden. It does not have to be a crime, the situation could be, for example, a lost hunter.)
- Burleigh – 315
- McLean – 225
- Morton – 216
- Cass – 199
- Richland – 199
- Ward – 191
- McKenzie – 176
- Ramsey – 175
- Williams – 153
- Mountrail – 127
Citations 2016 – Top 10 Counties
- Ramsey – 199
- McKenzie – 184
- Williams – 159
- Burleigh – 138
- McLean – 106
- Benson – 89
- Mountrail – 80
- Morton – 73
- Ward – 64
- Sargent – 62