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Warden checking ice house

2017 Enforcement Review

Authors and Contributors
Robert Timian

While another year has come and gone, 2017 started much the same as 2016 ended for North Dakota Game and Fish Department wardens, with rotating assignments for law enforcement related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.

Though much has been reported on this issue, I will add how proud I am of the way all law enforcement personnel responded, game wardens included, to protect and enforce the rule of law for everyone.

In 2017, lawmakers gathered at the 65th Legislative Assembly in Bismarck where Game and Fish officials tracked 28 bills, 11 of which were passed and signed into law. As licensed peace officers, with the primary responsibility of enforcing laws related to game and fish and boating, we have a vested interest in any changes or additions to laws.

When we do make suggestions for, or about laws, we base those suggestions as enforcement officers on a philosophy that laws should be the minimum necessary to accomplish what is needed. They should be clearly written to make understanding, following and enforcement straight forward.

As wardens, we also ask ourselves a series of questions: Do we believe the bill as written will accomplish what is intended? Is it enforceable? Does it appear to us that it will cause other negative, unintended consequences?

While as enforcement officers we submit these suggestions into the process, they are just that – suggestions. The legislature is the law-making body, and when a bill becomes law it is our duty to enforce it.

The purpose of looking back at 2017, or any other year, to review all things, including types and numbers of violations, reported incidents and investigations, is not to reminisce, but to help chart a course and make decisions going forward into 2018 and beyond. Our commitment is to continue to look for ways to improve using the resources provided, for we are in a constant race with those individuals intent on disregarding and violating laws that reflect the will of the people.

Hunting in closed season10
Failure to wear fluorescent orange17
Tagging violations31
Exceeding limit1
Killing wrong species or sex8
Other big game violations28
Using gun able to hold more than 3 shells56
Hunting in closed season8
Illegal possession/taking8
Exceeding limit19
Failure to leave identification or sex of game51
Killing wrong sex or species2
Nontoxic shot violation10
Failure to carry federal waterfowl stamp7
Wanton waste10
Hunting in unharvested field19
Other small game violations72
Use of unlicensed or unnumbered boat138
Failure to display boat registration121
Operating without lights at night35
Inadequate number of PFDs255
Water skiing violations24
Reckless or negligent operation4
Operating vessel under influence/intoxicated11
Other boating violations55
Fishing with excessive lines53
Exceeding limit87
Fishing in closed/restricted area5
Failure to attend lines11
No identification on fish house8
ANS violation130
Paddlefish violations8
Other fishing violations46
Shining (using artificial light)13
Illegal possession/taking2
Harassing furbearers with motor vehicle10
Other furbearer violations10
Use of motor vehicle off established trail15
Use of motor vehicle in restricted area38
Harassing wildlife with motor vehicle5
Hunting on posted land without permission59
Hunting before/after legal hours16
Wanton waste7
Aid in concealment of unlawful game8
Hunting in wrong unit/closed area5
Loaded firearm in motor vehicle64
Discharge of firearm within/on motor vehicle6
440 yard violation5
Other general violations16
Failure to sign/affix stamp18
Hunting/fishing/trapping without proper license235
Failure to carry license on person334
Misrepresentation on license or application21
Other licensing violations14
Failure to obey posted regulations29
Tree stand violations10
Possession of glass beverage containers14
Baiting on WMA4
Prohibited uses of motor vehicles12
Other WMA/refuge violations4
Possession of controlled substance13
Possession of drug paraphernalia13
Open container28
Minor in possession17
Criminal trespass28
Other miscellaneous27
Commercial violations25
Total 25

Incidents 2017 – 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 stranded angler.)

  • Burleigh – 251
  • Ramsey – 234
  • McLean – 206
  • McKenzie – 175
  • Morton – 172
  • Richland – 168
  • Ward – 162
  • Cass – 154
  • Williams – 141
  • Mountrail – 138

Citations 2017 – Top 10 Counties

  • Ramsey – 266
  • Williams – 136
  • Burleigh – 136
  • McKenzie – 133
  • Benson – 103
  • Richland – 99
  • McLean – 98
  • Mountrail – 97
  • Stutsman – 89
  • Barnes – 84