Even though results from this summerâ€™s survey indicated the bighorn sheep population in western North Dakota remains steady, State Game and Fish Department biologists are concerned about a significant decline in the number of adult rams.
Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist in Dickinson, said the July-August survey showed a minimum of 299 bighorn sheep, unchanged from last year and only 17 percent below 2008â€™s record summer survey.
The 2013 fall wild turkey lottery has been held and more than 930 licenses remain in seven units. Unsuccessful applicants who applied online will have a refund issued directly to their credit card.
Beginning Sept. 27, all remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters are allowed a maximum of 15 licenses for the fall season.
Resident and nonresident hunters will be able to apply online, or print out an application to mail, at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will also be available at license vendors.
North Dakota's 2013 fall duck flight is expected to be down significantly from last year, but still similar to the good fall flights of 2007-11.
Mike Johnson, game management section leader for the State Game and Fish Department, said the fall flight estimate is a combination of the spring breeding duck survey and the summer brood survey.
Results from the breeding duck survey in May indicated the duck index was down 17 percent from 2012, but still exceeded the long-term average by 73 percent.
May water conditions were up 17 percent from 2012 and 12 percent above the long-term average.
North Dakotaâ€™s second deer lottery has been held and individual results are available on the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.
While slightly more than 1,000 antlerless deer licenses were still available after the second lottery, all of them are in units 3F1, 3F2 and 4F in the southwestern part of the state, where Game and Fish is receiving ongoing reports of white-tailed deer mortality caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease.
Canada goose hunters are reminded the daily and possession limits in the Missouri River Zone differ from the rest of the state.
The daily bag limit for Canada geese in the Missouri River Zone is five, with 15 in possession. The remainder of the state has a daily bag of eight Canada geese, with 24 in possession. A hunter may take up to eight Canada geese in a day, provided no more than five come from the Missouri River Zone. Subsequently, a hunter may possess up to 24 Canada geese, provided not more than 15 come from the Missouri River Zone.
â€‹Grouse and partridge season open up this weekend along with youth waterfowl, sandhill crane, squirrel, ruffed grouse and the close of early Canada goose. Whew. But for most it's the grouse and partridge which take center stage.
It's brought to my mind several thoughts and memories. While upland game won't draw out the crowds and fever the pheasant or deer opener generate they did in my mind in the 1980s.
North Dakotaâ€™s sandhill crane season opens Sept. 14 and continues through Nov. 10.
Limits are three daily and nine in possession in unit 1 (west of U.S. Highway 281), and two daily and six in possession in unit 2 (east of U.S. Highway 281). Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Nov. 2. Beginning Nov. 3, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.
Hunters are urged to use caution and identify birds to prevent shooting at whooping cranes as they begin their fall migration.
North Dakotaâ€™s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August indicates total birds, number of broods and average brood size are all down statewide from 2012.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants are down 30 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were down 29 percent, and the average brood size was down 10 percent. The final summary is based on 253 survey runs made along 101 brood routes across North Dakota.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is currently working with 18 landowners in 16 hunting units across the state who would like to host hunters with antlerless deer licenses in 2013.
Participating landowners are located in hunting units 2C, 2G2, 2I, 2J2, 2K2, 3A4, 3B3, 3C, 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4B and 4E.
The program is not intended for buck hunters, but designed to direct hunters with antlerless licenses to specific areas to reduce deer populations.
Friday, Sept. 20 at noon signals the start of a nine-and-a-half day deer hunting season for youth ages 12-15.
Licensed residents ages 12 and 13, and 11-year-olds who turn age 12 in 2013, are allowed to hunt statewide, but only for antlerless white-tailed deer. Resident deer gun hunters age 14 or 15, and 13-year-olds who turn age 14 in 2013, with a â€śyouth seasonâ€ť license, can hunt statewide for any deer, except antlerless mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F. In addition, a special license is required to hunt antlered mule deer in those same units.