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2020 Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest

Authors and Contributors
Patrick T. Isakson, Various

Participation in the 2020 North Dakota Game and Fish Department Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest was a good reminder of the importance of our outdoors.

Even though things went seriously sideways in 2020, it’s clear by the nearly 600 photographs entered in the contest that North Dakota’s outdoors – from the badlands, to the wetlands, or simply in some back yards – played a role in providing some sense of what normal feels like.

Like last year, more photographs than typical are featured in this issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS. This adjustment is certainly a testament to the number of quality photos entered in the contest.

The contest was divided into three categories – game, nongame and plants and insects – and features a first-place photograph and eight runners-up.

The overall winning photograph in the 2020 contest is a Northern saw-whet owl taken by Daniel Mason of Fargo.

This small, yellow-eyed owl is almost entirely nocturnal, spending daylight hours roosting in dense cover. Biologists will tell you the Northern saw-whet likely got its name because one of its several calls sounds like a saw being sharpened on a whetting stone.

Overall Winner

Northern saw-whet

Photographer
Daniel Mason, Fargo

Pictured
Northern saw-whet owl (Photo taken at Heritage Hills Park, Fargo)

Game Winner

Pronghorn

Photographer
Thomas Krebs, Dickinson

Pictured
Pronghorn (Photo taken in Hettinger County)

Game Runner-up

Pheasant hen

Photographer
Ross Warner, Bismarck

Pictured
Hen Pheasant (Photo taken in Burleigh County)

Game Runner-up

Red fox pup

Photographer
Bryan Lind, Epping

Pictured
Red fox (Photo taken near Epping )

Game Runner-up

Elk

Photographer
Nels Kilpela, Dickinson

Pictured
(Photo taken near Medora )

Game Runner-up

White-tailed deer crossing river

Photographer
Thomas Krebs, Dickinson

Pictured
White-tailed deer (Photo taken at Cannonball River )

Game Runner-up

Sharp-tailed grouse

Photographer
Cindy Nagle, Fargo

Pictured
Sharp-tailed grouse (Photo taken near Rhame)

Game Runner-up

Moose

Photographer
Lee Burkhartsmeier, Rural Rugby

Pictured
Moose (Photo taken in Benson County)

Game Runner-up

White-tailed buck

Photographer
Lee Burkhartsmeier, Rural Rugby

Pictured
White-tailed buck (Photo taken in Pierce County)

Game Runner-up

Common snipe

Photographer
Kevin Hice, Washburn

Pictured
Common snipe (Photo taken in Burleigh County )

Nongame Winner

Virginia Rail

Photographer
Kelly Krabbenhoft, West Fargo

Pictured
Virginia Rail (Photo taken in Burleigh County)

Nongame Runner-up

Juvenile bald eagle

Photographer
Jason Clark, Grand Forks

Pictured
Juvenile bald eagle (Photo taken near Mekinock)

Nongame Runner-up

American bittern with short-tailed shrew

Photographer
Jo Lysne, Carrington

Pictured
American bittern with short-tailed shrew (Photo taken near Pipestem Creek)

Nongame Runner-up

Western grebe

Photographer
Matt Sorum, Fargo

Pictured
Western grebe (Photo taken near Sanborn)

Nongame Runner-up

Bison

Photographer
Michael Ranum, Bismarck

Pictured
Bison (Photo taken near Medora)

Nongame Runner-up

Ruby-throated humingbirds

Photographer
Thomas Wirtz, Bismarck

Pictured
Ruby-throated humingbirds (Photo taken in Morton County)

Nongame Runner-up

Blue jay

Photographer
Lee Burkhartsmeier, Rural Rugby

Pictured
Blue jay (Photo taken in Pierce County)

Nongame Runner-up

Common loon

Photographer
Lisa Buchweitz, Langdon

Pictured
Common loon (Photo taken in Pembina County)

Nongame Runner-up

Porcupine

Photographer
Jeremy Witte, Dickinson

Pictured
Porcupine (Photo taken at Theodore Roosevelt National Park)

Plants and Insects Winner

White-banded crab spider

Photographer
Phil Gunderson, Mapleton

Pictured
White-banded crab spider (Photo taken in Mapleton)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

Prairie smoke

Photographer
Alex Dohman, Bismarck

Pictured
Prairie smoke (Photo taken in Little Missouri National Grasslands)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

Horned spanworm larve

Photographer
Sharon Watson, Buxton

Pictured
Horned spanworm larve (Photo taken in rural Buxton)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

Dakota skipper

Photographer
Rustin Nordsven, Spearfish, SD

Pictured
Dakota skipper (Photo taken in McKenzie County)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

Shamrok orb weaver spider

Photographer
Sharon Watson, Buxton

Pictured
Shamrok orb weaver spider (Photo taken in rural Buxton)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

Dragonfly

Photographer
Phil Gunderson, Mapleton

Pictured
Dragonfly (Photo taken in Mapleton)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

Blue damselfly

Photographer
Jen Gunderson, Mapleton

Pictured
Blue damselfly (Photo taken in Mapleton)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

Honeybee and sunflower

Photographer
Nancy Secrest, Hettinger

Pictured
Honeybee and sunflower (Photo taken near Hettinger)

Plants and Insects Runner-up

American hoverfly

Photographer
Phil Gunderson, Mapleton

Pictured
American hoverfly (Photo taken in Mapleton)