last chance!-by Doug Leier
The 2014 big three applications close at midnight Dec 26! North Dakota’s 2014 bighorn sheep, elk and moose proclamation is finalized and most season information is the same as last year.
The bighorn sheep season will have five licenses available, one more than last year. Licenses in Unit B1 increased from one to two due to skewed male-female ratios caused by declining numbers of females. Unit B2, which was created to prevent overharvest of Sully Creek rams, has been immersed into B1 due to low numbers in the area. Similar to last year, collared rams may not be harvested in Unit B3. The season length has been extended to two months, and the new opening date corresponds with the peak of the rut to improve prospects of finding mature rams.
A total of 261 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, the same as in 2013. A total of 937 elk – including 701 adult cows – were taken out of the South Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park during the National Park Service’s reduction effort from 2010-2012. In addition, an estimated 363 elk were taken by licensed hunters in E3 and E4, reducing the number of elk in the park to below 200. Therefore, the number of elk licenses in units E3 and E4 will remain the same as last year.
A total of 111 moose licenses are available in 2014, the same as last year. Hunting units M1C and M4 will remain closed due to a continued downward trend in moose numbers in the northeastern part of the state.
Online applications are available by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available on the website for printing, and at license vendors the week of March 10. The deadline for applying is March 26.
The application fee for moose, elk and bighorn sheep has increased from $3 to $5 for each species, as part of the license fee increase bill passed by the 2013 state legislature. For those who are fortunate enough to draw a license, the fee has increased from $20 to $30.
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.