2019 Bighorn Sheep, Moose and Elk Harvests
The Department issued 487 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 449 hunters harvested 279 elk – 155 bulls and 124 cows/calves. Harvest for each unit follows:
Lake Contour Maps Updated
Several lake contour maps were recently updated to include greater detail and quality and are now available on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website.
Along with maps of fishing waters that were updated in December, new waters recently improved are Northgate Dam and Smishek Lake, Burke County; New Johns Lake, Burleigh County; Camels Hump Lake, Golden Valley County; Raleigh Reservoir and Sheep Creek Dam, Grant County; Indian Creek Dam, Hettinger County; Jasper Lake, Lake Josephine and Sibley Lake, Kidder County; Lake LaMoure, LaMoure County; Dry Lake, McIntosh County; Crooked Lake, McLean County; Crown Butte Dam, Fish Creek Dam and Sweet Briar Lake, Morton County; Lake Elsie, Richland County; Heckers Lake, Sheridan County; Bisbee Dam-Big Coulee, Towner County; Goose Lake, Wells County; Blacktail Dam and McGregor Dam, Williams County.
All contour maps are available by accessing the fishing link at gf.nd.gov/fishing, then clicking on “where to fish.”
Whooping Crane Migration
Whooping cranes are in the midst of their spring migration and sightings will increase as they make their way into and through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these endangered birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.
Whooping cranes that do make their way through North Dakota are part of a population of about 500 birds that are on their way from wintering grounds at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas to their nesting grounds at Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada, a distance of about 2,500 miles.
Whoopers stand about five feet tall and have a wingspan of about seven feet from tip to tip. They are bright white with black wing tips, which are visible only when the wings are outspread. In flight they extend their long necks straight forward, while their long, slender legs extend out behind the tail. Whooping cranes typically migrate singly, or in groups of 2-3 birds, and may be associated with sandhill cranes.
Other white birds such as snow geese, swans and egrets are often mistaken for whooping cranes. The most common misidentification is pelicans, because their wingspan is similar and they tuck their pouch in flight, leaving a silhouette similar to a crane when viewed from below.
Anyone sighting whoopers should not disturb them, but record the date, time, location, and the birds' activity. Observers should also look closely for and report colored bands which may occur on one or both legs. Whooping cranes have been marked with colored leg bands to help determine their identity.
Whooping crane sightings should be reported to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices at Lostwood, 701-848-2466, or Long Lake, 701-387-4397, national wildlife refuges; the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, 701-328-6300, or to local game wardens across the state. Reports help biologists locate important whooping crane habitat areas, monitor marked birds, determine survival and population numbers, and identify times and migration routes.
Paddlefish Snagging Season Opener
Mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be kept and tagged immediately. All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by 7 p.m. of each snagging day. Any fish left at the confluence fish cleaning caviar operation after 8 p.m. the day they were snagged will be considered abandoned and the snagger is subject to a fine.
Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Participants during snag-and-release-only days need to have in their possession a current season, unused paddlefish snagging tag. Use or possession of gaffs is prohibited on snag-and-release-only days, and, if it occurs, during the snag-and-release extension period.
All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.
Report Bald Eagle Nests
The state Game and Fish Department is asking for help in locating bald eagle nests in North Dakota.
Sandra Johnson, Game and Fish Department conservation biologist, said the Department is looking for locations of nests with eagles present, not individual eagle sightings.
Eagles actively incubate eggs in March and April, and it’s easy to distinguish an eagle nest because of its enormous size. Johnson estimates the state has around 215 active bald eagle nests, possibly more.
Eagle nests are observed in more than three-quarters of the counties in the state, mostly near streams and mid- to large-sized lakes. However, they are also found in unique areas such as shelterbelts surrounded by cropland or pasture.
Nest observations should be reported online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov., or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Observers are asked to not disturb the nests, and to stay away at a safe distance. Johnson said foot traffic may disturb birds, likely causing eagles to leave their eggs or young unattended.
Nonresident Any-Deer Bow Licenses
Guide and Outfitter Exam Scheduled
The next guide and outfitter written examination is May 9 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a guide or outfitter in the state.
In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.
Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.
Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 701-328-6604.
Game and Fish Volunteers Recognized
Volunteer instructors for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department were recently recognized at the annual recognition event in Bismarck.
William Bahm, Almont, was recognized as hunter education instructor of the year and Kevin Lech, Mandan, was named archery education instructor of the year. Dickinson resident Walter Turbiville was honored with a lifetime achievement award.
Longtime volunteers were also recognized for their service to the Game and Fish Department:
- 30 years – Dean Anderson, Grand Forks; Wayne Beyer, Wahpeton; Leonard Enander, Granville; Darwin Gebhardt, Lake Elmo, Minn.; Jerome Koenig, Steele; Jack Lalor, Lidgerwood; Charles Meikle, Spiritwood; David Nelson, Grand Forks; Gary Nilsson, Walhalla; David Urlacher, Belfield.
- 25 years – Curt Beattie, Hannaford; Jay Grover, Cooperstown; Vernon Laning, Bismarck; Eddy Larsen, Larimore; Rick Olson, Garrison; Joseph O’Meara, Hankinson; Brad Pierce, Hatton; Paul Roeder, Milnor; Robert Sanden, Barney; William Titus, Lincoln; Charles Veith, Bismarck; Larry Viall, Epping; Gary Wald, Maddock; Mark Weyrauch, Ray.
- 20 years – Lynn Baltrusch, Fesseden; Darryl Duttenhefner, Menoken; Don Ferguson, Jamestown; Rhonda Ferguson, Jamestown; Sean Hagan, Walhalla; Donn Hancock, Emerado; Mitchell Kallias, Minot; Gary Knotts, Fargo; Lynn Lawler, Cando; Richard Liesener, Ray; Dale Marks, Ypsilanti; Marvin Neumiller, Washburn; Jerry Rekow, Ellendale; Thomas Rost, Devils Lake; Jerry Schroeder, Horace; Rickie Theurer, Mandan; Leonard Wysocki, Grafton.
- 15 years – Robert Bartz, Richardton; Mark Bitz, Bismarck; Steven Buchweitz, Munich; James Dusek, Grafton; Michael Erickson, Edgeley; Bradley Gregoire, Thompson; Karl Helland, Kathryn; Jonathan Hughes, Minot; Perry Johnson, Northwood; Jeff Kapaun, Valley City; Keith Kinneberg, Wahpeton; John Kron, Enderlin; Martin Marchello, Bismarck; Jean Oster, Ft. Ransom; Kent Reierson, Williston; David Sardelli, Hebron; Dallas Schmidt, Velva; Dan Spellerberg, Oakes; Joe Tuchscherer, Rugby; Gary Wilz, Killdeer.
- 10 years – Travis Anderson, Grand Forks; Damon Bosche, Medina; Matthew Deal, Grace City; Curt Decker, Dickinson; Kendon Faul, McClusky; Cassie Felber, Towner; Kevin Fire, Grand Forks; Jon Hanson, Bismarck; Kevin Harris, Watford City; Tammy Haugen, Dickinson; Connie Jorgenson, Devils Lake; Petrina Krenzel, Harvey; Michael Kroh, Surrey; Richard Lehmann, Towner; Kellen Leier, Bismarck; Jerry Lillis, Lincoln; Phil Mastrangelo, Mandan; Roger Norton, Kindred; Mike Redmond, Ray; Brian Schock, Dickinson; Antoine Smith, New Town; Paul Speral, Fargo; Lavern Vance, Ray.
Top Whoppers Club Applications for 2019