Winter anglers are encouraged to consider early ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota lakes.
Keep in mind:
Snow insulates ice, hampering solid ice formation, and makes it difficult to check thickness. Snow also hides the blemishes, such as cracked, weak and open water areas.
Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.
North Dakotaâ€™s darkhouse spearfishing season opens on most state waters December 1. The season extends through March 15. Legal fish are northern pike and nongame species.
Darkhouse spearing is allowed for all residents with a valid fishing license and for residents under the age of 16. Nonresidents may darkhouse spearfish in North Dakota if they are from states that offer the same privilege for North Dakota residents.
North Dakota hunters are reminded that several national wildlife refuges open to late-season upland game bird hunting the day after the deer gun season closes.
Arrowwood, Audubon, Des Lacs, J. Clark Salyer, Lake Alice, Lake Zahl, Long Lake, Lostwood, Tewaukon (pheasants only), and Upper Souris NWRs open Nov. 26.
Mule Deer Production Remains Low
Aerial observations during the North Dakota Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s fall mule deer survey indicated production in 2012 was about the same as last yearâ€™s record low.
Biologists who accompanied pilots in fixed-wing planes counted 1,224 (1,055 in 2011) mule deer in the October survey. The buck-to-doe ratio of 0.37 (0.47 in 2010) was similar to the long-term average of 0.43 bucks per doe, and the fawn-to-doe ratio of 0.59 equaled the lowest fawn-to-doe ratio since the demographic survey began in 1954. The long-term average is 0.92 fawns per doe.
Even with fewer deer licenses available this year, tens of thousands of hunters are looking forward to Friday, Nov. 9 at noon when the regular deer gun season begins. No doubt the number of questions from deer hunters will remain high. Hereâ€™s a few of the most common:
What licenses do I need for deer gun season?
A fishing, hunting, and furbearer certificate, the general game and habitat stamp or a combination license, and the deer license. Gratis license holders need only the gratis license.
Fisheries crews have completed their annual salmon spawning operation on Lake Sakakawea after collecting 1.5 million eggs, easily surpassing their goal of 900,000.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters to keep in mind the Sportsmen Against Hunger program this fall.
While this yearâ€™s deer proclamation allows only one deer gun license per hunter, families with more than one license might want to consider donating a deer to this worthy cause. In addition, hunters with an archery and muzzleloader license can help as well.
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.
North Dakotaâ€™s roadside pheasant survey conducted in late July and August suggests much improved production this spring, meaning more young birds added to the population and a better fall population in all areas of the state.
Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey shows total pheasants statewide are up 59 percent from last year. In addition, brood observations were up 65 percent, and the average brood size was up 16 percent. The final summary is the result of 255 runs made along 106 brood routes across North Dakota.
North Dakotaâ€™s two-day youth pheasant season is Oct. 6-7. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents ages 15 and younger may hunt roosters statewide.
Resident youth hunters, regardless of age, must possess a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. Nonresident youth hunters from states that provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents qualify for North Dakota resident licenses. Otherwise, nonresident youth hunters must purchase a nonresident small game license.