As snow geese continue to make their way through the state, hunters are advised to properly identify their target as whooping cranes could potentially be in the same areas.
Whooping cranes are also 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.
A total of 43,500 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 26,300 deer during the 2014 deer gun hunting season.
The State Game and Fish Department made available 48,000 deer gun licenses in 2014, and all licenses were issued. Overall hunter success was 60 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.
Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 60 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 56 percent.
Jack Fletcher’s catch on Feb. 28 broke a state record for cisco that was established nearly 15 years ago.
The Fargo angler reeled in a 2-pound, 9-ounce cisco from Beaver Bay, Lake Oahe, breaking the old record by 1 ounce.
The previous record was held since 2000 by two family members from Pick City, Tylor and Scott Borup Jr., who each reeled in a 2-pound, 8-ounce cisco from the Garrison Dam Tailrace on the same day.
Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to attend a North Dakota Game and Fish Department spring 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.
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.
Spring light goose hunters, anglers and trappers are reminded that 2015-16 licenses are required starting April 1.
The 2015-16 small game, fishing and furbearer licenses are effective April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.
Licenses can be purchased online by accessing the online services link at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
Applications for this fall’s moose and elk hunting seasons must be in the mail and postmarked before midnight March 25.
To apply online, or to print out an application to mail, access the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Applications are also available at Game and Fish offices, county auditors and license vendors.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is prohibiting open burning this spring on property managed south of Bismarck and Mandan, as a means to reduce potential for wildfires on a heavily wooded recreation area along the Missouri River.
Bill Haase, wildlife resource management supervisor, said all open burning, including campfires, is banned until further notice on the Oahe Wildlife Management Area along both sides of the Missouri River. Haase said these woodlands are prone to wildfires prior to spring green-up.
Wildlife, shooting, fraternal and nonprofit civil 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 recruitment of the next generation of hunters and shooters.
The maximum grant allowed is $3,000. The program currently helps fund approximately 40 club and organizational events and projects, with an average grant of $1,550.
North Dakota’s elk and moose hunting seasons are set with more licenses available in 2015 than last year. However, the bighorn sheep hunting season will be closed for the first time since 1983.
A total of 301 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, an increase of 40 from last year. Unit E1 has an additional 15 any-elk and 15 antlerless licenses, and unit E3 has an increase of 10 antlerless licenses. In addition, the split season antlerless elk only portion of E1 is eliminated to provide additional hunting opportunity and address late-season depredation issues.
The 2015 spring wild turkey lottery has been held and hopeful hunters can check individual results by accessing the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.
A total of 700 licenses remain in nine units. The governor’s proclamation allows a maximum of two licenses, and hunters who did not apply in the first drawing are also eligible.
Anglers are reminded that North Dakota’s darkhouse spearfishing season closes March 15.
Individuals who would still like to get out for the first time this year must register with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Registration is available through the department’s website, gf.nd.gov, or through any Game and Fish Department office.
March 15 is also the deadline for anglers to remove permanent fish houses from state waters.
Anglers have until mid-March to remove permanent fish houses from North Dakota waters, and from any state wildlife management area or federal refuge land.
State law requires permanent fish houses must be removed from North Dakota waters by midnight March 15. In addition, it is illegal to leave fish houses on any state-owned or managed land, and federal refuge land, after March 15.
Anglers are advised to use caution while accessing area lakes because mild weather conditions can quickly result in unstable ice conditions.