North Dakota’s 2015 small game and furbearer regulations are set and most season structures are similar to last year.
Prairie chicken and sage grouse seasons will remain closed due to low populations.
Recent hunter education graduates and their families are invited to attend the Brownells/National Rifle Association Day Camp at the Moffit Gun Range on Saturday, July 25.
The shooting sports activity runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and includes rifle, shotgun, pistol, muzzleloading and archery target shooting, hunting and safety information and demonstrations.
Adults and children looking to take a hunter education class in 2015 are reminded to enroll at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov.
Hunter education coordinator John Mazur said the majority of classes were held by the end of May. However, he said classes will still be added throughout the year as they become finalized.
“Our volunteer instructors will be adding classes, but not nearly as many as we move toward the fall,” Mazur said. “That’s why it is important to monitor our website and to act quickly when a class suits your needs.”
North Dakota’s 2015 pronghorn hunting season is set, with 410 licenses available in three open units, according to Jeb Williams, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department.
Along with unit 4-A, which was the only open unit in 2014, units 3B and 4C will hold a limited number of licenses. A total of 250 licenses are available in 4-A, 100 in 3B and 60 in 4C. All licenses are valid for any pronghorn.
Similar to last year, the three units will have a season that is split into an early “bow-only” portion, and a later gun/bow season.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an index of 3.6 million birds, down 25 percent from last year, primarily due to weather conditions that resulted in an early migration.
Migratory game bird supervisor Mike Szymanski said the spring migration was well ahead of normal due to open fields and warm temperatures. “Early migrants such as mallards, pintails and northern shovelers didn’t stay long due to the dry conditions,” Szymanski said.
North Dakota’s spring ruffed grouse survey indicated a 44 percent population increase statewide compared to 2014, according to Stan Kohn, upland game bird supervisor for the State Game and Fish Department.
The number of male grouse heard drumming in the Pembina Hills was up 86 percent from last year, while the Turtle Mountains had a 35 percent increase. No drumming males were heard in McHenry County (J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge), where they have not been heard since 2006.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has confirmed that an adult zebra mussel was found on an intake screen at the city water plant in Fargo, according to Fred Ryckman, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for the agency.
Fargo city employees discovered the mussel while inspecting some of their Red River intake structures Thursday afternoon, said Troy Hall, water utility director for the city of Fargo. The species was confirmed as a zebra mussel early Friday afternoon.
Numerous zebra mussel veligers have been discovered at several locations along the Red River between North Dakota and Minnesota, according to North Dakota Game and Fish Department aquatic nuisance species coordinator Fred Ryckman.
The next guide and outfitter written examination is Aug. 15 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.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will host thousands of visitors to its Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park July 17-25 at the State Fair in Minot.
Visitors will be treated to an array of activities, exhibits and useful information as the park will be open from 1-7 p.m. daily. Pathways to Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Archery are major attractions where each outdoor activity is taught to interested kids and adults. Of course, the opportunity to catch a fish brings excitement to the littlest angler.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program is a primary sponsor for a youth and family outdoor learning event in the Bismarck area on Saturday, July 11.
Put on by the Mule Deer Foundation, the MULEY Day Camp runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Moffit Gun Range. It includes rifle and archery target shooting, hunting and safety information and demonstrations.
The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring a fur harvester education class in Bismarck for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers.
The course is scheduled for Aug. 18, 20 and 22. The event is free and takes 16 hours to complete over a three-day period.
Students will learn about traps, trapping and snaring techniques, furbearer biology and fur care. A field day allows students to make a variety of land, water and snare sets.