Whooping cranes are in the midst of their spring migration and sightings will increase as they make their way through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.
Even though bald eagle nests in North Dakota are more common today than in the past, the State Game and Fish Department is asking for help in documenting locations.
Sandra Johnson, Game and Fish Department conservation biologist, emphasizes the department is looking for locations of nests with eagles present, not individual eagle sightings. “March and April is the best time to see an eagle nest, as eagles are actively incubating eggs,” Johnson said. “It may become difficult later in spring to see the nest because of leaves beginning to grow on trees.”
Hunters, trappers and anglers are reminded that new fishing and furbearer licenses are required April 1.
The dates for the furbearer license coincide with fishing season. The 2013-14 licenses are effective April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
Licenses can be purchased online by accessing the online services link at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 34,500 deer during the 2012 deer gun hunting season.
The State Game and Fish Department made available 65,150 deer gun licenses in 2012, and more than 95 percent were issued. Overall hunter success was 63 percent, and each hunter spent an average of 4.4 days in the field.
Wildlife, shooting, civic and fraternal organizations are urged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a State Game and Fish Department grant program developed to assist in recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.
Grant funds will help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.
Samples taken from North Dakota deer during the 2012 hunting season have all tested negative for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the State Game and Fish Department.
Last fall, samples for CWD testing were taken from more than 1,300 deer harvested by hunters in the western third of the state.
“As always, the success of our surveillance program could not be accomplished without the cooperative efforts of hunters, meat processors and taxidermists,” Grove said.
North Dakota spring light goose hunters can track general locations of geese as birds make their way through the state.
Hunters are able to call (701) 328-3697 to hear recorded information 24 hours a day. Migration reports are also posted on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Updates will be provided periodically during the week as migration events occur, until the season ends or geese have left the state.
North Dakota’s 2013 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation is finalized and applications are available at the State Game and Fish Department’s website. The deadline for applying is March 27.
A total of 111 moose licenses are available in 2013, 32 fewer than last year.
Randy Kreil, Game and Fish Department wildlife chief, said a downward population trend in the northeastern portion of the state is of great concern. “Unit M1C will remain closed,” Kreil said, “and in addition, unit M4, which encompasses the Turtle Mountains, is also closed this year.”
The 2013 spring wild turkey lottery has been held and hopeful hunters can check individual results by accessing the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.
More than 300 licenses remain in eight units. The governor’s proclamation allows a maximum of two licenses, and hunters who did not apply in the first drawing are also eligible.
State law requires permanent fish houses to be removed from North Dakota waters by midnight March 15.
Nancy Boldt, water safety coordinator for the State Game and Fish Department, said anglers should exercise caution because mild weather conditions can quickly result in unstable ice conditions.
“It is always important to check ice thickness, as warm temperatures with a high sun will rapidly deteriorate ice conditions this time of the year,” Boldt said.
Anglers are reminded that North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15.
Individuals who would still like to get out for the first time this year must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Registration is available through the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.
March 15 is also the deadline for anglers to remove permanent fish houses from state waters.
Fishing and hunting in North Dakota contributed an estimated $1.4 billion in annual input to the state’s economy, according to a report by the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at North Dakota State University.
The report, commissioned by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, tracked hunter and angler expenditures for the 2011-12 hunting and fishing seasons, and is similar to other studies conducted periodically since the late 1970s.