North Dakota’s 2013 bighorn sheep auction license sold for a record $75,000 at the March 23 Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation annual meeting in Bloomington, Minn. The previous high of $50,000 was set in 2007.
In addition, a 5 percent conservation fee for all auction licenses generated an additional $3,750 from the sale of North Dakota’s license.
North Dakota’s auction license allows the winning bidder the rare privilege of pursuing a North Dakota bighorn on a self-guided hunt.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meeting for District 3 is scheduled April 15 at the Fire Hall in Esmond. District 3 includes Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m., and is hosted by the Buffalo Lake Wildlife Club. At 6 p.m., Game and Fish along with other conservation partners, will hold an informational session for landowners interested in qualifying land for the Conservation Reserve Program general signup May 20-June 14. A short formal presentation will begin at 6:30.
North Dakota’s spring turkey season opens Saturday, April 13 and continues through May 19.
Hunters are reminded a 2013-14 hunting license is required, as last year’s 2012-13 licenses expired March 31. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license.
All spring turkey licenses for 2013 have been issued.
Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meeting in their area.
These public meetings, held each spring and fall, provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss fish and wildlife issues and ask questions of their district advisors and agency personnel.
Whooping cranes are in the midst of their spring migration and sightings will increase as they make their way through North Dakota over the next several weeks. Anyone seeing these birds as they move through the state is asked to report sightings so the birds can be tracked.
Hunters, trappers and anglers are reminded that new fishing and furbearer licenses are required April 1.
The dates for the furbearer license coincide with fishing season. The 2013-14 licenses are effective April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
Licenses can be purchased online by accessing the online services link at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 34,500 deer during the 2012 deer gun hunting season.
The State Game and Fish Department made available 65,150 deer gun licenses in 2012, and more than 95 percent were issued. Overall hunter success was 63 percent, and each hunter spent an average of 4.4 days in the field.
Wildlife, shooting, civic and fraternal organizations are urged to submit an application for the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a State Game and Fish Department grant program developed to assist in recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.
Grant funds will help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets, and eye and ear protection.
Even though bald eagle nests in North Dakota are more common today than in the past, the State Game and Fish Department is asking for help in documenting locations.
Sandra Johnson, Game and Fish Department conservation biologist, emphasizes the department is looking for locations of nests with eagles present, not individual eagle sightings. “March and April is the best time to see an eagle nest, as eagles are actively incubating eggs,” Johnson said. “It may become difficult later in spring to see the nest because of leaves beginning to grow on trees.”
North Dakota spring light goose hunters can track general locations of geese as birds make their way through the state.
Hunters are able to call (701) 328-3697 to hear recorded information 24 hours a day. Migration reports are also posted on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Updates will be provided periodically during the week as migration events occur, until the season ends or geese have left the state.
North Dakota’s 2013 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation is finalized and applications are available at the State Game and Fish Department’s website. The deadline for applying is March 27.
A total of 111 moose licenses are available in 2013, 32 fewer than last year.
Randy Kreil, Game and Fish Department wildlife chief, said a downward population trend in the northeastern portion of the state is of great concern. “Unit M1C will remain closed,” Kreil said, “and in addition, unit M4, which encompasses the Turtle Mountains, is also closed this year.”
Samples taken from North Dakota deer during the 2012 hunting season have all tested negative for chronic wasting disease, according to Dr. Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the State Game and Fish Department.
Last fall, samples for CWD testing were taken from more than 1,300 deer harvested by hunters in the western third of the state.
“As always, the success of our surveillance program could not be accomplished without the cooperative efforts of hunters, meat processors and taxidermists,” Grove said.