The MacLean shooting range located near the MacLean boat ramp south of Bismarck is closed until further notice due to a wildfire on April 26. The area remains a concern with hot, dry conditions expected through the weekend.
In addition, the shooting range at the Wilton Mine Wildlife Management Area remains closed due to wet, muddy conditions.
The public range at Schmidt Bottoms is open.
Schmidt Bottoms is located 13.4 miles south of Mandan on ND Highway 1806.
More than 360 archers competed in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament April 12-13 in Bismarck.
Jeff Long, NASP coordinator for the State Game and Fish Department, said the event continues to grow every year. “This year’s turnout was outstanding, especially considering we were on the verge of a nasty storm that hit statewide,” Long said, while noting the number of participants (362) was up 9 percent from last year.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is once again celebrating Earth Day by sponsoring clean-up days on public-owned or managed lands in April and May.
Each member of a school, Girl Scout, Boy Scout, 4-H club or youth organization who participates in cleaning up public lands through May will receive a specifically designed conservation patch.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department, Townsquare Media and Sykes are sponsoring the Missouri River SPLASH – a recreation and boating safety event for everyone who enjoys the Missouri River.
The event is Thursday, May 16 in Mandan from 3-6 p.m. at Moritz Sport and Marine. Displays, hands-on activities, demonstrations, regulations, registrations and prizes are included.
The event is free, and people of all ages are invited to attend. Individuals who bring a completed boating safety exam to the event are eligible to win a prize.
The four North Dakota Game and Fish Department district advisory board meetings scheduled for tonight and tomorrow have been postponed.
The meeting in Belfield is rescheduled for Monday, April 22; Esmond and Watford City are rescheduled for Tuesday, April 23; and Fordville is rescheduled for Wednesday, April 24.
Increases in North Dakota hunting, fishing and boat registration fees recently passed by the state legislature will not take effect until 2014.
Terry Steinwand, director of the State Game and Fish Department, said the current three-year boat registration cycle runs through December, and 2013-14 hunting and fishing licenses are in effect through next March. Therefore, registration fees for boat owners will go up Jan. 1, 2014, while hunters and anglers will see the license increase in April, 2014.
North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through the end of the month. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 36-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is prohibiting all open burning, including campfires, until further notice on the Oahe Wildlife Management Area along both sides of the Missouri River.
Even though the area recently received some much-needed moisture, wildlife resource management supervisor Bill Haase said this heavily wooded recreation area is still prone to wildfires prior to spring green-up.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual bighorn sheep survey revealed a minimum of 297 bighorn sheep in western North Dakota. The 2012 count was second highest on record and 5 percent above last year’s survey.
In total, biologists counted 87 rams, 156 ewes and a record 54 lambs. Not included are approximately 30 bighorn sheep in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said the northern badlands population was the highest on record, but the southern badlands herds declined slightly.
The next guide and outfitter written examination is May 11 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 hunting 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.
North Dakota’s 2013 bighorn sheep auction license sold for a record $75,000 at the March 23 Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation annual meeting in Bloomington, Minn. The previous high of $50,000 was set in 2007.
In addition, a 5 percent conservation fee for all auction licenses generated an additional $3,750 from the sale of North Dakota’s license.
North Dakota’s auction license allows the winning bidder the rare privilege of pursuing a North Dakota bighorn on a self-guided hunt.
North Dakota’s spring turkey season opens Saturday, April 13 and continues through May 19.
Hunters are reminded a 2013-14 hunting license is required, as last year’s 2012-13 licenses expired March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license.
All spring turkey licenses for 2013 have been issued.