The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2013 was higher than in 2012.
Biologists counted 1,761 (1,224 in 2012) mule deer in the aerial survey in October. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.46 (0.37 in 2012) is similar to the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, while the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.74 (0.59 in 2012) was the highest since 2009, but still below the long-term average of 0.91 fawns per doe.
Fisheries crews completed their annual salmon spawning operation on Lake Sakakawea after collecting 1.9 million eggs, easily surpassing their goal of 900,000.
Russell Kinzler, North Dakota Game and Fish Department Missouri River System biologist, said two thirds of the eggs came from Lake Sakakawea and the remainder from the Missouri River below Garrison Dam. The average size of Lake Sakakawea females was about 5.7 pounds, about 1 pound smaller than 2012. The Missouri River females, which are typically larger than the lake fish, averaged 7.5 pounds.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters that hunting over bait is prohibited in deer units 3C west of the Missouri River, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1 and 3F2.
Hunters harvesting a big game animal this fall in North Dakota deer unit 3F2 cannot transport a carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit unless it’s taken directly to a meat processor.
The head can be removed from the carcass and transported outside of the unit if it is to be submitted to a State Game and Fish Department district office, CWD surveillance drop-off location or a licensed taxidermist.
Governor Jack Dalrymple has appointed Duane Hanson of West Fargo to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s advisory board.
The governor appoints eight Game and Fish Department advisors, each representing a multi-county section of the state, to serve as a liaison between the department and public.
Hanson is a financial advisor, West Fargo city commissioner, and avid hunter and angler, and fills the expiring term of Loran Palmer, Wahpeton, in District 5, which includes Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill counties.
As snow geese begin to make their way into the state, hunters are advised to properly identify their target as whooping cranes could potentially be in the same areas.
Whooping cranes were observed this week north of Minot near Kenmare, and recent reports indicate most of the population is still north of the Canadian border and will soon migrate through North Dakota. With Kenmare’s annual Goose Fest in progress, hunters in the vicinity of the Upper Souris and Des Lacs national wildlife refuges should be aware of the potential for whooping cranes and snow geese in the same area.
The State Game and Fish Department recently honored the Wahpeton Park Board for its ongoing efforts to develop and improve public boating and fishing facilities at numerous lakes, rivers and recreation sites in Richland County.
Each year the Department’s fisheries division presents a “Certificate of Appreciation” to an organization that has a history of accomplishments as a cooperating partner in local fisheries projects. Fisheries development supervisor Bob Frohlich said the park board is a perfect example of how a willing entity can make a difference for local fisheries.
Even with thousands of hunters in the field during the opening week of the pheasant season, the State Game and Fish Department received only a few reports from hunters who found dead deer in southwestern North Dakota.
Game and Fish personnel have been monitoring the deer population in the southwest since late August, when the first reports of dead deer, attributed to epizootic hemorrhagic disease, came in from Bowman, Grant and Burleigh counties.
North Dakota’s Sportsmen Against Hunger Program is again accepting donations of deer at select processors across the state. In addition, the program is also able to accept light goose breast meat (snow, blue and Ross’s geese) for the first time this fall.
Canada goose meat, while accepted during the early goose season, is not eligible for donation during the regular waterfowl season.
Wet conditions over the past two weeks have delayed the fall harvest of row crops.
With most hunting seasons open, North Dakota hunters are reminded that hunting in unharvested crops is not allowed without a landowner’s permission, including waterfowl hunters driving on land to set up decoys.
To maintain proper landowner-sportsmen relations, hunters are urged to stay off harvested fields in wet conditions.
Fisheries biologists who questioned how a late spring and delayed ice-off would influence fish reproduction in North Dakota waters finally have a few answers.
“It looks better than we expected,” said Scott Gangl, State Game and Fish Department fisheries management section leader. “Our biologists have been seeing some pretty good numbers of young-of-the-year yellow perch in lakes statewide, signaling some good reproduction this year. This was especially true in our larger lakes that traditionally provided a perch fishery.”