Harvest statistics released by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department show overall hunter success during the 2014 season for bighorn sheep was 100 percent, 88 percent for moose and 67 percent for elk.
The department issued four bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All five hunters harvested a bighorn ram.
North Dakota’s spring light goose season opens Feb. 21 and continues through May 17.
Residents can hunt during the spring season with either a *2014-15 or 2015-16 resident hunting license (fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a combination license; or a small game, plus general game and habitat license).
*NOTE: Residents must have a 2015 license beginning April 1. The 2014 license expires March 31.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 145,200 birds were in the state.
Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 87,700 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 30,600 were scattered on Nelson Lake. Lake Sakakawea, declared iced-over on Jan. 6, had no geese on the lake itself. Szymanski said after summarizing the numbers, 118,500 Canada geese and 26,500 mallards were tallied statewide.
All individuals who participate in darkhouse spearfishing are reminded to register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department prior to participating.
Fisheries chief Greg Power said perfect conditions have led to record participation this winter. “Our pike population is at levels never seen before, and mild weather conditions coupled with very little snow have led to unlimited lake access,” Power said.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is offering 5,815 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, 65 fewer than last year.
Two of the 22 hunting units have slightly more spring licenses than in 2014, two have fewer and 17 remain the same. Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2015 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.
North Dakota’s National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament is moving to a new venue to accommodate a growing number of participants.
NASP state coordinator Jeff Long said he expects more than 500 students to participate in this year’s state tournament, scheduled for March 21-22 at the All Seasons Arena in Minot.
“This event continues to grow each year,” Long said. “The All Seasons Arena in Minot is an ideal location to host the tourney.”
Individuals interested in taking a hunter education class in 2015 are reminded to register early as most classes are held the first few months of the calendar year.
To register for a hunter education course, students need to sign up online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Many classes will be added over the next several weeks, and the rest will be added throughout the year as they are finalized.
The state Game and Fish Department’s annual Earth Day awareness campaign is accepting entries for design of a 2015 Earth Day patch. North Dakota students ages 6-18 are eligible to participate. The deadline to submit entries is March 15.
The Game and Fish Department will announce a winner in three age categories – 6-9, 10-13, and 14-18. Each winner will receive a pair of 8x42 binoculars. The final patch design will be chosen from the three winners.
North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.
The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has initiated a winter creel survey in the south central part of the state to learn who is fishing and what they’re catching.
“Our guys will be hitting various small district lakes scattered throughout south central North Dakota, primarily in Logan and McIntosh counties and northern Kidder County, where you find clusters of lakes,” said Scott Gangl, department fisheries management section leader.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will once again track hunting and fishing issues during the 2015 legislative session.
Interested outdoor enthusiasts can follow proposed outdoors-related bills by logging onto the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
A brief description of each bill will be included, along with the bill sponsor and hearing schedule. To view each bill in its entirety, click on the hot-linked bill number.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 202 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2015.
The deadline for applying is March 1. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants can apply together as a party. A separate check is required for each application.