Excellent walleye fingerling production from the Garrison Dam (9.7 million) and Valley City (1.3 million) national fish hatcheries resulted in a record 11 million walleye fingerlings stocked into state waters.
Jerry Weigel, North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries production and development section leader, said with a record number of walleye waters across the state, there has never been a larger demand for walleye production. “We are fortunate to have the production capability of the two federal hatcheries to help address this demand,” he said.
North Dakota’s early Canada goose season is set, and bag limits and licensing requirements have changed from last year.
The season will open Aug. 15 and continue through Sept. 15, except in the Missouri River Zone where the season ends Sept. 7. This year, states can offer a possession limit of three times the daily bag limit for most migratory birds. The early Canada goose season has a limit of 15 daily and 45 in possession.
A new state law requires both resident and nonresident early Canada goose season hunters to purchase a special license.
All resident hunters, regardless of age, must buy a $5 early Canada goose season license, in addition to having a general game and habitat license. Residents age 16 and older also need a small game license.
2013 Small Game and Furbearer Regulations Set
North Dakota’s 2013 small game and furbearer regulations are set and most season structures are similar to last year.
Continued expansion of fishers in eastern North Dakota has allowed the Game and Fish Department to change from a quota system to a limited number of days with no quota. The season will run from Nov. 25 – Dec. 1. Fishers can only be taken by traps and cable devices. A limit of one fisher per person is allowed during this season.
Wildlife populations were flourishing in 2006-07 when Conservation Reserve Program acres peaked at more than 3.25 million in North Dakota. Since then, as CRP acres have steadily declined, so has the overall harvest of game species.
This is never more evident than with pheasant. According to statistics released by the State Game and Fish Department, while the number of pheasant hunters increased by 4 percent from 2011 to 2012, overall harvest fell 10 percent.
The online application for North Dakota’s 2013 tundra swan license lottery will be available July 25 on the state Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. The deadline for applying is Aug. 14.
Paper applications will be available the end of July from Game and Fish offices, county auditors and license vendors. Hunters can also apply by calling (800) 406-6409. A service fee is added for license applications made by phone.
North Dakota boaters are reminded that children ages 12-15 who want to operate a boat or personal watercraft must take the state’s boating basics course.
State law requires youngsters ages 12-15 to pass the course before they operate a boat or personal watercraft with at least a 10 horsepower motor. In addition, major insurance companies give adult boat owners who pass the course a premium discount on boat insurance.
Years of rising water, a record number of fishing lakes and aggressive fish management in North Dakota have helped produce record fishing license sales.
State Game and Fish Department fisheries chief Greg Power said in 2012-13 virtually every license category established a record high, or at the least had a substantial increase. “Even more impressive is this was spread throughout the state, and not just in the rapidly growing counties of western North Dakota,” Power said.
North Dakota’s pronghorn population is finally growing after five years of steady decline. However, Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor for the State Game and Fish Department, said numbers are still below population objectives and not high enough to warrant a hunting season. Therefore, the Game and Fish Department is recommending the pronghorn hunting season remain closed in 2013.
The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring a fur harvester education class in Bismarck, Jamestown and Dickinson for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers.
The free 16-hour course in Bismarck and Jamestwon is Aug. 13, 15 and 17. The course in Dickinson is Sept. 7 and 14.
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 North Dakota Game and Fish Department is proposing to chemically eradicate existing fish populations in Danzig Dam and the Storm Creek watershed in Morton County.
Aquatic habitat supervisor Scott Elstad said Danzig Dam was recently drawn down to install a water control structure and complete shore enhancement projects. The lake has a history of fish kills and the water control structure should help prevent significant winter kills.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has completed a draft revision of a 2005 plan that addresses conservation of sage grouse within the state. The Department is accepting public comments on the revised plan through Aug. 1.
The sage grouse plan is available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov; or by mail by contacting Game and Fish at (701) 328-6300.