North Dakotaâ€™s 2014 deer season is set, with 48,000 licenses available to hunters this fall, 11,500 fewer than last year, and the lowest number since 1980.
Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the State Game and Fish Department, said even after five years of reducing gun licenses, deer populations are still below management objectives in most units. Currently, only units 3F1, 3F2 and 4F meet or exceed management goals.
â€śHarvest and survey data indicate deer numbers are still declining, especially in the eastern part of the state,â€ť Kreil said.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department conducted its annual spring mule deer survey in April, and results indicate western North Dakotaâ€™s mule deer population has increased 19 percent from last year.
Bruce Stillings, big game supervisor, said the increase is a result of less severe winters the past couple of years, no harvest of antlerless deer in 2012 and 2013, and improved fawn production. The 2014 index is only 7 percent below the long-term average.
North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists are asking anglers for help in documenting lakes that may have experienced winter fish mortality.
Fisheries management section leader Scott Gangl said some winterkill is expected every year, with the severity depending on winter weather conditions.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will continue to implement camping restrictions on some wildlife management areas in western North Dakota and along Lake Sakakawea.
Overnight camping is prohibited on the following WMAs: Antelope Creek, Lewis and Clark, Big Oxbow, Ochs Point, Neuâ€™s Point (except campers accessing by boat, and only at the point area), Overlook, Sullivan and Tobacco Garden in McKenzie County; Van Hook in Mountrail County; and Hofflund and Trenton in Williams County.
More than 500 archers registered to compete in the North Dakota National Archery in the Schools Program state tournament April 11-12 in Bismarck.
Jeff Long, NASP coordinator for the State Game and Fish Department, said: â€śThis program continues to grow every year, and all three winning teams committed to go to the national tournament, along with at least three of the top individuals,â€ť Long said, while noting 517 registered this year, up more than 20 percent from last year.
Update Date: April 15
Plenty of activity happened over the weekend, with mild temperatures causing birds to be on the move. We have received reports that snow geese are beginning to make their way into Canada, while most of the geese that remain in the state are north of Interstate 94. Birds will continue to trickle through the state over the next couple weeks.
Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route
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 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.
Potential snaggers are reminded that opening day, May 1, falls on a Thursday. Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, so opening day is snag-and-release only.
Anglers and boat owners are reminded to review their licenses for the 2014 fishing and boating season.
Anglers must have a 2014-15 fishing license. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at the Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov. A new state law requires residents age 18 or older to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driverâ€™s license number or a North Dakota nondriver photo identification number.
Update Date: April 11
As expected with the recent mild weather conditions, a major movement of snow geese is occurring in the state. Birds have been observed from the Canadian border to South Dakota. Temperatures for the weekend call for highs near 50 with lows around 30.
Some Notes on the Spring Migration Route
Confiscated hunting and fishing equipment will be sold Saturday, May 3 at the North Dakota Wildlife Federationâ€™s Report All Poachers auction in Minot. The auction is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the North Dakota State Fair Centerâ€™s 4-H hall.
Auction items can be viewed between 12-2 p.m. Items include more than 70 rifles, shotguns and handguns; fishing equipment; bows; knives; spotlights; coolers and other miscellaneous merchandise.
More information, including a comprehensive list of items for auction, is available by visiting the wildlife federationâ€™s website at ndwf.org.