Even with thousands of hunters in the field during the opening week of the pheasant season, the State Game and Fish Department received only a few reports from hunters who found dead deer in southwestern North Dakota.
Game and Fish personnel have been monitoring the deer population in the southwest since late August, when the first reports of dead deer, attributed to epizootic hemorrhagic disease, came in from Bowman, Grant and Burleigh counties.
Mid-October traditionally is high time for hunters with about every season imaginable OPEN-the exception is deer gun-and weather and field conditions typically overlap peak duck & goose migration along with optimal rooster chasing not to mention the build up of archery deer hunting. My point? Lots of field activity.
But unlike last year. This fall is wet. Across North Dakota I'm not sure if anyone is praying for a 1/2 inch of rain (or snow for that matter) but the prairie trails and backroads are soft, muddy and won't be drying out anytime soon.
Wet conditions over the past two weeks have delayed the fall harvest of row crops.
With most hunting seasons open, North Dakota hunters are reminded that hunting in unharvested crops is not allowed without a landownerâ€™s permission, including waterfowl hunters driving on land to set up decoys.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel recently stocked seven waters with catchable trout.
Jerry Weigel, fisheries development and production section leader, said these trout will provide exciting fall and winter fishing opportunities. â€śShasta strain rainbow trout average more than one pound each, with some up to five pounds,â€ť Weigel said. More than 800 were stocked in the Turtle River near Arvilla in Grand Forks County, while 115 went in the Owls Pond in Burleigh County.
The Oct. 4-5 snowstorm that covered southwestern North Dakota may present some challenging travel conditions for hunters when the 2013 pheasant season opens this Saturday.
State Game and Fish Department officials say that while most of the foot or more of snow that fell in some counties will likely be gone, the moisture left behind may still make travel difficult on some section line trails and other unimproved roads.
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.
Last week was quite active with moose, elk and even a mountain lion involved in vehicle-critter accidents. Let's keep vigilant:
Motorists are reminded to watch for deer along roadways, especially this time of year, because juvenile animals are dispersing from their home ranges.
Find it. Now. If you canâ€™t. Do you really think youâ€™ll be able to find it by the opener? Neither did I ;)
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department urges deer hunters to find their license and check it for accuracy.
Every year the Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s licensing section receives last-minute inquiries from hunters who canâ€™t find their license. When that happens, itâ€™s difficult to try to get a replacement license in time for the season opener.
Another reason to check the license now is to make sure the unit and species is what was intended.
With the non-resident opener today in North Dakota I've had a number of questions on legal transportation requirements. Here it is:
Transportation and Storage
State law restricts nonresident waterfowl hunters to zones (exception - statewide license) and specified days.