North Dakota bowhunters compiled what is likely a record archery deer harvest during the 2012 season, according to statistics recently released by the State Game and Fish Department.
The Game and Fish Department issued 19,940 resident and 2,336 nonresident bow licenses last year, 245 more than the previous record bow license sales in 2010. Approximately 19,300 of those license buyers actually hunted, taking an estimated 6,856 deer, for an overall hunter success rate of 35.4 percent.
Administrative Rules Hearing Scheduled
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will hold a public hearing to address proposed new rules and amendments to North Dakota Administrative Code Title 30. The hearing is scheduled for 1:15 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 5 at the agencyâ€™s main office in Bismarck.
The purpose of the proposed rule changes is to implement statutes. The proposed rules changes are not expected to have an impact on the regulated community in excess of $50,000.
The purpose and an explanation of the proposed rule changes follow:
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. â€śWe are fortunate to have the production capability of the two federal hatcheries to help address this demand,â€ť he said.
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 (see attachment). 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.
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. â€śEven more impressive is this was spread throughout the state, and not just in the rapidly growing counties of western North Dakota,â€ť Power said.
Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest
The deadline for submitting photos to the North Dakota Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Sept. 30.
The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.
Contest entries are limited to digital files submitted on disk or via email. Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.
North Dakotaâ€™s 2013 pheasant crowing count survey indicates that rooster numbers were down about 11 percent statewide compared to last year, heading into the spring breeding season.
All four pheasant districts had lower counts than last year. The number of crows heard in the northeast declined by 18 percent, southeast and southwest by 11 percent, and the northwest by nearly 2 percent.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds outdoor recreationists who celebrate the Fourth of July along any heavily-used recreational area to keep it clean by packing out all trash, including fireworks.
All garbage, including used fireworks, should be placed in the proper trash receptacle. If trash cans arenâ€™t available, or are full, take the trash and dispose of it at home.
North Dakota game wardens issued a record number of citations during the recent paddlefish snagging season.
From opening day May 1until the season closed May 19, wardens cited more than 170 individuals as part of an annual saturation effort in Williams and McKenzie counties. Last year the citation total for a similar timeframe was 82.
One thing I've learned with close to two decades of work as a game warden and biologist is the outdoors is relative. No matter the deer population if you draw a tag and fill it, odds are you'll consider it pretty successful. And in similar fashion if the duck index is strong (which it is) but the weather pushes the birds through or you just don't have good "luck" hunting, it's hard to acknowledge a strong waterfowl population.