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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.


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 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 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.


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.


North Dakota’s spring pheasant population index is up 10 percent from last year, according to the State Game and Fish Department’s 2015 spring crowing count survey.

Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor, said the number of roosters heard crowing this spring was up statewide, with increases ranging from about 2 to 12 percent in the primary regions holding pheasants.

“A much improved production year for pheasants in spring 2014, coupled with the mild winter, produced a healthy breeding population this spring,” Kohn said.


Statistics from the 2015 spring sharp-tailed grouse census indicate a 22 percent increase in the number of male grouse counted compared to last year.

Statewide, 4,346 sharptails were observed on spring dancing grounds this year compared to 3,551 in 2014. Male grouse recorded per square mile increased from 3.4 to 4.2. More than 1,000 square miles were covered.


Individuals interested in taking the district game warden or warden pilot exams scheduled for July 17 are reminded to register no later than July 13, by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

The tests are scheduled for 10 a.m. at the department's main office in Bismarck.


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