The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual fall wetland survey indicates fair wetland conditions statewide for duck hunting. However, hunters will need to plan ahead because most areas of the state are substantially drier than last year.
Wetland counts were down by about one-half in the northern tier of the state, and about two-thirds in the southern tier. However, waterfowl biologist Mike Szymanski said perception is everything. “Last year’s moisture level was one for the record books,” Szymanski said. “We are left with numbers of wetlands slightly lower than in 2005 and 2009, despite very dry conditions.”
Hunters may find shallow wetlands they hunted last year to be dry. However, deeper semi-permanent wetlands will likely be holding water. “Most semi-permanent wetlands will also have a mud-margin between cover and the water’s edge,” Szymanski said. “That margin will vary a lot depending on the shape of the wetland, but should not be a major hindrance to hunters in most cases.”
The wetland survey is conducted in mid-September just prior to the waterfowl hunting season, to provide an assessment of conditions duck hunters can expect.
Opening day for North Dakota residents was Sept. 22 for ducks, coots, mergansers and geese. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Sept. 29.
Check for ANS When Removing Structures
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department requests local entities and water recreationists to monitor for new aquatic nuisance species infestations when pulling and storing fishing piers, boat docks and lifts prior to ice up.
Fred Ryckman, ANS coordinator, said it is especially important to look for zebra mussels. “Zebra mussels will attach to hard surfaces,” Ryckman said. “Inspecting these types of structures provides a good opportunity to determine if mussels may be present in the respective water body.”
To date, adult zebra mussels have not been found in any North Dakota waters.
If mussels are found, citizens are requested to leave the suspicious mussel attached, take a digital picture, and report findings immediately to a local Game and Fish Department district office.
Pictures of zebra mussels are available on the 100th Meridian Initiative website at 100thmeridian.org/.
Teddy Roosevelt Family Day Scheduled Sept. 30
Families looking for a fun afternoon filled with outdoor activities are invited to attend the first annual Teddy Roosevelt Family Day on Sunday, Sept. 30 at McDowell Dam just east of Bismarck.
The free event runs from 1-5 p.m. and families can come and go at any time. It features many hands-on activities including archery, BB gun shooting, fishing, canoeing, animal tracks, duck identification, plant identification, camping, games, prizes and more.
The first 500 kids who attend also receive a free Teddy Roosevelt patch.
Organized by area Boy Scout, Girl Scout and 4-H organizations, Teddy Roosevelt Family Day is sponsored by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department and North Dakota Chapter of the Wildlife Society. In addition, a number of local wildlife groups have stepped forward to assist with the event.
McDowell Dam is 3.5 miles east of Bismarck on ND Highway 10, then one mile north.
For more information contact: Bill Jensen, Game and Fish Department, (701) 220-5031.
Youth Pheasant Weekend Oct. 6-7
North Dakota’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.
Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course. The daily bag limit and all other regulations for the regular pheasant season apply.
An adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter in the field. The adult may not carry a firearm.
See the 2012 North Dakota Small Game Hunting Guide for additional information.