The North Dakota Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s annual spring breeding duck survey showed an index of 4.8 million birds, up 16 percent from last year and 112 percent above the long-term average (1948-2011). The 2012 index is the third highest on record.
All species were well above the long-term average. Wigeon (+88 percent) and green-winged teal (+221 percent) were at record highs. Mallards, gadwall, blue-winged teal, shovelers, redheads and ruddy ducks exceeded the long-term average by more than 100 percent.
Fall Turkey Season Set, Apply Online
North Dakotaâ€™s fall turkey season is set with 4,145 licenses available to hunters, a decrease of 10 percent from last year.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department, said harvest and population data from hunting units in the southwest and in some units in the central part of the state indicate poor production and chick recruitment from 2008-2011.
North Dakota deer hunters are reminded the deadline for submitting applications for the 2012 gun season is June 6. Hunters are encouraged to apply online at the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
The deadline applies to muzzleloader, regular gun, gratis and nonresident landowner, and youth antlered mule deer applications (specifically for antlered mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, and 4A-4F).
North Dakota anglers are reminded they can fish for free June 2-3.
That is the weekend North Dakota residents may fish without a license. All other fishing regulations apply.
Refer to the 2012-14 North Dakota Fishing Guide for season information.
Biologists Hope Shad Boost Oahe Forage Base
Game and Fish Department biologists stocked roughly 225 adult gizzard shad in Lake Oaheâ€™s Beaver Bay in May to help jumpstart a limited forage base.
A good share of Oaheâ€™s young-of-the-year rainbow smelt were flushed through the dam during flooding in 2011, drastically thinning what game fish have to eat. In addition, high flows and sediment-laden water reduced production of other forage fish.
Even though the number of strutting males observed during the spring sage grouse survey was up 15 percent from last year, the population remains well below management objectives. Therefore, the sage grouse hunting season will remain closed in 2012.
Aaron Robinson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department upland game bird biologist, said biologists counted 72 males on 12 active strutting grounds. Last year, 63 males were counted on 12 active leks in the southwest.
â€śThis is great news,â€ť Robinson said. â€śThe population has shown it can possibly come back given the right conditions.â€ť
Paddlefish Snagging Season to Close to Additional Harvest Friday Afternoon
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced today that the state's 2012 paddlefish snagging season will close to any additional harvest at 1 p.m. Central Daylight Time, Friday, May 11, to protect the population level of the fish. The additional seven-day snag-and-release season will begin Saturday, May 12 and run through Friday, May 18.
Deer Season Set, Online Apps Available May 9
North Dakotaâ€™s 2012 deer season is set, with 65,300 licenses available to hunters this fall, 44,650 fewer than last year and the lowest since 1988.
Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said the decline in the deer population is a result of increased adult mortality and reduced fawn production following the severe winters of 2008-10. In addition, the extreme winter conditions followed nearly a decade of aggressive deer management featuring large numbers of antlerless licenses in many units.
Game Warden Exam is May 18
Individuals interested in taking the game warden exam scheduled for May 18 are reminded to submit a letter of intent to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department before 5 p.m., May 17.
Letters of intent should be addressed to chief game warden Robert Timian, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501â€‘5095. The test will be given at 10 a.m., May 18 at the department's main office in Bismarck.
Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelorâ€™s degree. Other requirements are a current North Dakota peace officer license, or eligibility for a license, and a valid driverâ€™s license. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.
Game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations as determined by the department. Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions, at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.
Game warden duties also require the ability to perform physically demanding tasks involving lifting and carrying large, heavy objects, walking and running over uneven terrain and tolerating adverse weather and other environmental conditions.
Selection procedures following the test may include an evaluation of the application, a structured oral interview, background and reference checks, and psychological and medical examinations.
The salary for beginning game wardens through training is $3,000 per month. Upon successful completion of training, the salary is $3,550 per month. Wardens also receive the state benefits package, including travel allowance. Uniforms and other equipment are provided.
North Dakotaâ€™s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through the end of the month. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 36-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.