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Buffaloberry Patch

Authors and Contributors

Greg Freeman

2018 Tentative Season Opening Dates

To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2018, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.

Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2018 include:

  • Spring Turkey – April 14
  • Deer/Pronghorn bow, mountain lion – August 31
  • Dove – September 1
  • Sharptail, Hun, ruffed grouse, squirrel – September 8
  • Youth deer – September 14
  • Youth waterfowl – September 15
  • Early resident waterfowl – September 22
  • Regular waterfowl, youth pheasant – September 29
  • Pronghorn gun – October 5
  • Pheasant – October 6
  • Fall turkey – October 13
  • Mink, muskrat, weasel trapping – October 27
  • Deer gun – November 9

Equipment Registration Number Used for Identification

Hunters, trappers and anglers are reminded that an equipment registration number, or the individual’s name, address and telephone number, must be displayed on all equipment requiring identification.

Identification must be attached to cable devices that are set on either private or public land, and on fish houses left unattended on the ice.

While on wildlife management areas, identification is required on items such as ground blinds, tree stands, cameras and traps.

Owners can generate an equipment registration number by visiting Buy and Apply. One registration number will be issued that can be used on all equipment that requires identification.

Fish House Regulations

Winter anglers are reminded that any fish house left unoccupied on North Dakota waters must be made out of materials that will allow it to float.

A popular question this time of year is if campers qualify as legal fish houses. The answer is the same for any structure taken on the ice – if it’s left unattended, it must be able to float; if it’s not able to float, it must be removed when the angler leaves the ice.

Other fish house regulations include:

  • Fish houses do not require a license.
  • Occupied structures do not require identification. However, any unoccupied fish house must have an equipment registration number issued by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, or the owner’s name, and either address or telephone number, displayed on its outside in readily distinguishable characters at least three inches high.
  • Fish houses may not be placed closer than 50 feet in any direction to another house without consent of the occupant of the other fish house.
  • All unoccupied fish houses must be removed from all waters after midnight, March 15.
  • Anglers should refer to the 2016-18 North Dakota Fishing Guide for other winter fishing regulations.

Russ Kinzler, Game and Fish Employee of The Year

Russ Kinzler, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System fisheries biologist in Riverdale, received the agency’s Director’s Award for professional excellence during the Department’s annual winter meeting.

Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish director, said Kinzler is known for his commitment to his craft in his more than 20 years with the agency. “Russ possesses an incredible work ethic, positive attitude, strong mechanical skills and field expertise, solid biological knowledge and maintains a great working relationship with various angling groups,” he said.

Kinzler was recognized for his role in designing and completing a wide range of management and research activities on the Missouri River System. “All of his duties require an array of equipment and Russ has the ability to keep it all working,” Steinwand added. “Often his skills are used in assisting other district offices, divisions and agencies.”

Agency Recognizes Employee Efforts

North Dakota Game and Fish Department Director Terry Steinwand honored a number of employees with performance-based awards in December.

  • Todd Buckley, private land biologist, Williston, was recognized for his efforts working with landowners, deer depredation and many special projects that fall outside the normal private land duties.
  • Aaron Slominski, fisheries biologist, Williston, was recognized for his quick and timely efforts in setting up a cleaning site during the paddlefish snagging season.
  • Randy Meissner, Gail Mosset, Amanda Anstrom, Tracy Price, Tana Bentz and Tanya Mikkelsen, all with the licensing section in Bismarck, were recognized for meeting the challenges of implementing a new online services program for electronic licensing, while managing to handle hundreds of customer phone calls, including walk-in traffic, on a daily basis.
  • In addition to special recognition recipients, Zane Manhart, district game warden, Beach, was named North Dakota’s Boating Officer of the Year. Chief warden Robert Timian said Manhart’s work ethic and professional drive have created a safer boating environment on waters in southwestern North Dakota.

Greg Hastings Named Wildlife Officer of the Year

Greg Hastings, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden in Jamestown, is the state’s 2017 Wildlife Officer of the Year. Hastings was honored in December by the Shikar-Safari Club International, a private conservation organization that annually recognizes outstanding wildlife officers in each state.

In a nomination letter sent to Shikar-Safari, chief warden Robert Timian said Hastings’ district boasts numerous lakes, rivers, reservoirs, wetlands and public hunting areas.

“There are tremendous fishing, hunting and boating opportunities throughout his district, and warden Hastings makes his presence felt by his dedication and perseverance,” Timian said. “He has strong communication and investigative skills, an understanding demeanor and makes good decisions.”

Long-term Employees

Long-term employees were recognized for their service to North Dakota at the Department’s annual winter meeting.

  • 40 years – Doug Howie, assistant private land coordinator, Bismarck.
  • 35 years – Pat Lothspeich, outreach biologist, Bismarck; and Terry Steinwand, director, Bismarck.
  • 30 years – Steve Dyke, conservation section leader, Bismarck; Randy Hiltner, northeast district fisheries supervisor, Devils Lake; Kim Kary, administrative services chief, Bismarck; and Kelly Wike, accountant, Bismarck.
  • 25 years – Corey Erck, district game warden, Bismarck; Russ Kinzler, fisheries biologist, Riverdale; Brandon Kratz, southeast district fisheries supervisor, Jamestown; Robert Miller, wildlife technician, Riverdale; Brian Prince, wildlife resource management supervisor, Devils Lake; and John Schumacher, conservation biologist, Bismarck.
  • 20 years – Jim Burud, district game warden, Kenmare; Ryan Huber, private land biologist, Riverdale; Janel Kolar, administrative assistant, Dickinson; Scott Olson, wildlife technician, Devils Lake; and Terry Oswald, private land biologist, Lonetree.