The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has scheduled a one-day darkhouse spearfishing class Jan. 10 at the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge northwest of Minot.
North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters Dec. 1. The season extends through March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.
Darkhouse spearing is allowed for all residents with a valid fishing license and for residents under age 16. Nonresidents may darkhouse spearfish in North Dakota if they are from states that offer the same privilege for North Dakota residents.
Winter anglers and late-season hunters are reminded to consider ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota lakes, as most small and mid-sized waters currently give the appearance of safe foot travel.
Organizers planning fishing tournaments, including ice fishing contests this winter, are reminded to submit an application along with fishing tournament regulations to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department at least 30 days prior to the start of the event.
The 30-day advance notice allows for review by agency staff to ensure the proposed tournament will not have negative consequences or conflicts with other proposed tournaments for the same location and/or time.
Hunters are reminded that several North Dakota national wildlife refuges open to late-season upland game bird hunting the day after the deer gun season closes.
Arrowwood, Audubon, Des Lacs, J. Clark Salyer, Lake Alice, Lake Zahl, Long Lake, Lostwood, Tewaukon (pheasants only), and Upper Souris NWRs open Nov. 24.
Fisheries crews have completed their annual salmon spawning operation on the Missouri River System after collecting roughly 1.3 million eggs.
Dave Fryda, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System supervisor, said about two thirds of the eggs came from Lake Sakakawea and the remainder from the Missouri River below Garrison Dam.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel have wrapped up surveys and sampling efforts for the open water season, and results point toward good conditions on the state’s big waters.
“Fishing in North Dakota continues to be record-setting on most all levels,” said Greg Power, fisheries chief. “A record number of fishing lakes has contributed considerably to the record number of fishing licenses sold in recent years.”
Trappers using cable devices must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to trapping this year.
Registration is available through the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish office. Upon completion, a registration number will be provided. The number must be written on the back of the furbearer or combination license.
Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meeting in their area.
These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.
The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.
A new plan under consideration by the State Game and Fish Department would allow North Dakota deer hunters only one license per year, starting with the 2015 season.
The preferred license distribution plan is the result of a declining deer population and continuing high license demand. “This year we had about 30,000 people who applied for a deer gun license and didn’t get one in the lottery,” said Game and Fish wildlife division chief Jeb Williams. “This new system will give more people an opportunity to hunt deer each year, compared to our current system.”
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2014 bodes well for the future.
Biologists counted 1,969 (1,761 in 2013) mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.50 (0.46 in 2013) was slightly above the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.95 (0.74 in 2013) was the highest since 1999, and above the long-term average of 0.90 fawns per doe.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department enforcement personnel are issuing a reminder that a permit is required before taking possession, or any part, of a dead deer found near a road or in a field, including the skull with antlers. Only shed antlers can be possessed without a permit.
Permits to possess are free and available from game wardens and local law enforcement offices.
In addition, hunters are reminded to properly dispose of dead deer. Harvested deer cannot be left on the side of a roadway or in a ditch, and deer parts cannot be discarded in commercial dumpsters.