Volunteer instructors for North Dakota’s hunter education program were recognized Feb. 9 for their contributions of teaching students the importance of hunter safety and ethics.
Instructor of the year and years of service awards were presented at the annual hunter education workshop and awards banquet held in Bismarck.
Joe Lautenschlager of Berthold and Rod Hubbard from Fargo were named instructors of the year.
Honored for 40 years of service was Lorne Sterner of Casselton.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel continue to update or add new fishing waters to the list of available contour maps on the department’s website.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development section leader, said each year data is collected on a few new waters or existing waters that have experienced significant change. Contour fishing maps are developed from this data to show the layout of the lake, public access and local facilities.
The North Dakota Game Wardens Association has a $300 scholarship available for a graduating high school senior entering college in fall 2013 who enrolls in fisheries or wildlife management with an emphasis on law enforcement.
Applicants must be North Dakota residents and have maintained a 3.25 grade point average. The scholarship will be awarded to the student upon proof of enrollment in college.
Light goose hunters planning to hunt during North Dakota’s spring season can purchase a license online at the state Game and Fish Department’s website. The season opens Feb. 16 and continues through May 5.
Residents can hunt during the spring season by having last fall’s 2012-13 bird licenses. Otherwise, hunters will need to purchase either a 2013-14 combination license; or a small game, and general game and habitat license.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 159,000 birds were still hanging around the state.
Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 123,000 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 2,100 were scattered on Nelson Lake. Lake Sakakawea, declared frozen over on Dec. 26, had only about 100 geese near the Garrison Dam intake structure. Szymanski said after summarizing the numbers, a total of 127,000 Canada geese and 31,700 mallards were tallied statewide.
The state Game and Fish Department is offering 5,930 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, an increase of 135 from last year. The increase is a result of better production and chick recruitment.
Seven of the 22 hunting units have more spring licenses than in 2012, while 12 remain the same. Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2013 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.
The state Agriculture and Game and Fish departments have launched a cooperative project to connect coyote hunters and trappers with landowners who would like to reduce coyote populations in their area.
Called the “Coyote Catalog,” the project creates an online database similar to what the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has used for the past several years to match deer hunters with farmers/ranchers who wanted to reduce deer populations on their land.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program has a few openings available for a one-day winter workshop Jan. 26 at Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Darling, and a three-day workshop Feb. 22, 23 and 24 at Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau.
A darkhouse spearfishing class is offered for $50 at Upper Souris.
Dog sledding, snowshoeing, winter survival, darkhouse spearfishing, and cross-country skiing are classes available at Lake Metigoshe. Cost of the workshop is $135.
The state Game and Fish Department’s annual Earth Day awareness campaign is accepting entries for design of a 2013 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 Nikon 8x40 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 2012 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 will have 180 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2013. Similar to last year and pending the final proclamation, antlerless mule deer may not be legal to harvest within a large area of western North Dakota.
The deadline for applying is March 1. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. If licenses remain after March 1, they 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.
This year’s midwinter bald eagle survey conducted Jan. 10 along the Missouri River revealed 61 bald eagles, slightly above-average since the survey started in 1986.
Patrick T Isakson, conservation biologist with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey route from Bismarck to the Garrison Dam is conducted at the same time each year, and in coordination with other surveys nationwide.