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North Dakotaâ€™s 2012 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation has been finalized and applications are available at the State Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s website. The deadline for applying is March 28.
A total of 301 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, 200 fewer than last year.
The number of elk licenses in units E3 and E4 is reduced by 200 due to the successful population reduction effort by the National Park Service in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Jeb Williams, North Dakota Game and Fish Department assistant wildlife chief, said 100 any-elk licenses will be available in units E3 and E4.
â€śA total of 868 elk â€“ 642 adult cows â€“ were taken out of the park by the reduction effort, and an additional 299 elk were taken by licensed hunters in E3 and E4 during the last two hunting seasons,â€ť Williams said. â€śBased on a recent elk survey, the estimated number of elk in the park is 200.â€ť
Williams said the successful elk reduction effort in TRNP during the past two years, and the possibility of similar results this year, will continue to significantly reduce elk numbers in units E3 and E4. Therefore, elk licenses in the future will be limited.
The October and extended seasons have been eliminated in units E3 and E4.
Certain private lands in units E1 and E2 could open to hunting of antlerless elk from Aug. 10 â€“ Sept. 30 if depredation problems occur and other measures are proven ineffective.
A total of 143 moose licenses are available in 2012, a decrease of 20 from last year.
Moose hunting unit M11 has been merged with hunting unit M10. â€śMoose have dispersed from the Missouri River bottoms in M11 due to flooded habitat conditions caused by the increased water level in Lake Sakakawea,â€ť Williams said, while mentioning that a recent aerial survey revealed only 25 moose in the Missouri River bottom survey area, down from a high of 78 in 2009.
A downward population trend in the northeastern portion of the state, which includes hunting units M4 and M8, as well as closed hunting unit M1C, is a continuing concern, Williams said. â€śNo antlerless licenses will be issued for M8, while licenses in M4 will remain the same,â€ť he added. â€śWe will continue to closely monitor moose numbers in M4 and consider a unit closure in 2013 if the trend continues.â€ť
The bighorn sheep season will have four licenses available, down from six last year. Two licenses are available in unit B4, one license in unit B1/B2, and one license auctioned through the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation is restricted to unit B3. The bighorn sheep hunter drawing the license in units B1/B2 is eligible to hunt both units.
To apply online, access the Game and Fish Departmentâ€™s website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available on the website (for printing) and at license vendors the week of March 12.
Bighorn sheep, moose and elk lottery licenses are issued as once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota. Hunters who have received a license through the lottery in the past are not eligible to apply for that species again.