Whooping cranes are in the midst of their fall 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.
A goldeye taken from Lake Audubon in July still remains a state record, even though the official weight is about a half pound less than originally reported.
Initially, the weight for the big goldeye, caught by Velva angler Brayden Selzler, was determined as 4 pounds, 12 ounces. After a follow-up investigation, North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists concluded that the fish officially weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces.
Selzler’s goldeye still broke the previous state record by 6 ounces.
Families looking for a fun afternoon filled with outdoor activities are invited to attend Teddy Roosevelt Family Day on Sunday, Sept. 28 at McDowell Dam just east of Bismarck.
The free event runs from 1-4 p.m. and families can come and go at any time. It features many hands-on activities including archery, BB gun shooting, fishing, animal identification, prizes and more.
The first 750 kids who attend also receive a free Teddy Roosevelt patch.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and Ducks Unlimited co-sponsor a trailer full of waterfowl hunting gear that is available to families with young hunters.
Purchased by the Game and Fish Department’s Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters Grant Program, the trailer is designed for families who don’t have the appropriate gear for their young hunters to hunt waterfowl. The equipment is donated by Avery Outdoors.
North Dakota’s sandhill crane season opens Sept. 20 and continues through Nov. 16.
Limits are three daily and nine in possession in unit 1 (west of U.S. Highway 281), and two daily and six in possession in unit 2 (east of U.S. Highway 281). Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Nov. 1. Beginning Nov. 2, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.
Hunters are urged to use caution and identify birds to prevent shooting at whooping cranes as they begin their fall migration.
Friday, Sept. 19 at noon signals the start of a nine-and-a-half-day deer hunting season for youth ages 12-15.
Licensed residents ages 12 and 13, and 11-year-olds who turn age 12 in 2014, are allowed to hunt statewide, but only for antlerless white-tailed deer. Resident deer gun hunters age 14 or 15, and 13-year-olds who turn age 14 in 2014, with a “youth season” license, can hunt statewide for any deer, except antlerless mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. In addition, a special license is required to hunt antlered mule deer in those same units.
North Dakota’s two-day youth waterfowl season is Sept. 20-21. Legally licensed resident and nonresident youth waterfowl hunters age 15 and younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers statewide.
The daily bag limit and species restrictions for the youth season are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons. Exception: the additional two blue-winged teal allowed during the first 16 days of the regular season are not allowed during the youth season.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is asking grouse hunters for help with bird management by simply collecting some feathers from harvested birds and sending in wing envelopes this fall.
Wing data allows biologists to monitor production, reconcile bird counts and get a better understanding of the harvest ratio of males to females, and juveniles to adults.
Instructions for submitting wing data are printed on the envelope.
The number of pheasant hunters and total birds taken were lower in 2013 than in 2012, according to statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Last year, more than 76,000 hunters (down 11 percent) harvested 447,000 roosters (down 27 percent). In 2012, nearly 86,000 hunters took 616,000 roosters.
Birds bagged per hunter decreased from 7.2 to 5.8, and each hunter spent an average of 4.8 days afield.
North Dakota hunters should expect similar to slightly higher numbers of sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse this hunting season compared to 2013. The season opens Sept. 13.
Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Sharptails, ruffed grouse and Huns each have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.
Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters age 16 and older need a small game license.
North Dakota’s dove season opens statewide Sept. 1, and hunters are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting.
The daily limit is 15 and possession limit is 45. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. The season is open through Nov. 9.
All dove hunters must possess a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and a general game and habitat license, regardless of age. In addition, hunters ages 16 and older need a small game license.
State Game and Fish Department employee Gene Van Eeckhout, and the late Dean Hildebrand, former agency director, were recent inductees into the North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame.
Van Eeckhout, southeast district fisheries supervisor and 38-year veteran of the Department, was cited for his unselfish dedication to his job and community.
“It is truly special to be recognized with this group of people,” Van Eeckhout said. “I have known or had the pleasure of working with 18 out of the 23 who are in the Hall of Fame.”