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marine_man

ND GNF August Newsletter

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Remaining Doe Licenses Issued First-Come, First-Served

More than 38,000 antlerless deer gun licenses are still available after the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently completed its lottery drawing. These remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no limit to the number of licenses a hunter can receive.

Hunters can apply online at the Game and Fish Department HSOforum, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available by Aug. 22 from Game and Fish offices, county auditors and license vendors. Hand delivered applications will not be processed at the department while the applicant waits. Residents and nonresidents are eligible to apply.

Hunters are reminded that these additional doe licenses can be used during the archery season with a bow; the deer gun season with a bow, rifle or muzzleloader; or during the muzzleloader season with a muzzleloader. Hunters must stay in the unit to which the license is assigned.

Remaining doe licenses in units 2C and 2D can be used during the seven-day September antlerless deer gun season (Sept. 26 – Oct. 2). Hunters are restricted to either unit 2C or 2D.

The regular deer gun season begins at noon Nov. 7.

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Landowners Seek Doe Hunters

North Dakota Game and Fish Department big game biologist Bill Jensen is currently working with a number of landowners across the state who would like to host antlerless deer hunters in 2008.

“We are hoping to match landowners who want a good deer harvest with antlerless whitetail and mule deer hunters looking for a place to hunt,” Jensen said. “We have worked with several dozen landowners in the past, and most have reported good success in matching up with doe hunters.”

This program is not intended as a guide service for buck hunters, Jensen said, but to direct antlerless hunters to specific areas to reduce deer depredation problems in the future.

“These landowners have contacted us and asked for help in reducing the deer population in their areas,” Jensen said. “We’re happy to direct some hunters to them, but we don’t want them to be overrun either. This is the reason we have developed and set up the contact list.”

Landowners participating in the program are located in hunting units 2C, 2E, 2G2, 2I, 2J1, 2J2, 2G2, 2K1, 2K2, 3A2, 3A3, 3A4, 3B1, 3C, 3D1, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4D, 4E and 4F.

Interested hunters can get their name on a list of possible participants by accessing the Game and Fish Department’s HSOforum at gf.nd.gov. Hunters who do not have Internet access can call the department’s main office in Bismarck at 701-328-6300.

Hunters will provide their address, hunting unit(s) where they hold valid antlerless licenses, and if using firearm or bow. From this list the department will select the number of hunters landowners have agreed to host. These hunters will be sent the landowner’s name, phone number and any information relating to the landowner’s specific situation.

Not everyone who signs up will end up with a new place to hunt, Jensen said, because not everyone’s schedule will match up with a landowner’s, and more people will likely put their name on the list than there are landowners.

North Dakota’s 2008 deer gun season runs from Nov. 7-23. In addition, a September antlerless deer gun season is open from Sept. 26 – Oct. 2 in hunting units 2C and 2D. The archery season extends from Aug. 29 through Jan. 4, 2009; the youth season is from Sept. 12-21; and muzzleloader runs from Nov. 28 – Dec. 14.

Deer, Pronghorn Archery Seasons Open Aug. 29

North Dakota’s deer and pronghorn archery seasons open Friday, Aug. 29 at noon, and hunters should refer to the 2008 deer and pronghorn hunting guides for season information and regulations.

The pronghorn archery season runs through Oct. 5, while the archery deer season is open through Jan. 4, 2009.

Bow hunters are reminded of a few proper etiquette guidelines for using tree stands: do not erect or use tree stands on private property without landowner permission; follow all regulations of the managing agency when using tree stands on public hunting areas; do not use the tree stand of another hunter without that hunter’s permission; and do not remove or tamper with a tree stand without the owner’s or landowner’s permission.

Tree stands are private property, and theft constitutes a criminal violation that should be reported to the local sheriff's department.

The Game and Fish Department made available 149,400 deer gun licenses to hunters this fall. Bowhunters are reminded that those individuals with additional concurrent season doe licenses can use these during the archery season in the designated hunting unit.

Hunting Big Game over Bait Prohibited on WMAs, Other Public Lands

With big game hunting seasons fast approaching, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds hunters that hunting big game over bait on state wildlife management areas is prohibited.

In addition, hunting over bait is also not allowed on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, all North Dakota state school lands, and all North Dakota state park lands.

Hunting over bait is defined as the placement and/or use of baits for attracting big game and other wildlife to a specific location for the purpose of hunting.

Baits include but are not limited to grains, minerals, salts, fruits, vegetables, hay or any other natural or manufactured foods. It does not apply to the use of scents and lures, water, food plots, standing crops, or livestock feeds being used in standard practices.

BOW, Delta Waterfowl to Host Waterfowl Workshop

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program and Delta Waterfowl are sponsoring a waterfowl hunting workshop Sept. 27-28 in Minot.

Saturday’s events will include instruction on waterfowl identification, firearm safety, hunting with decoys and calling birds. Sunday will feature a mentored hunt, followed by cleaning game.

Women interested in participating in the workshop must have a firearms safety certificate, 2008 hunting license and duck stamp. Waders or rubber boots are recommended. Shotguns and ammunition will be provided if necessary.

The workshop is open to the first 20 woman ages 18 or older to register. The cost is $20, and preregistration with payment is required.

For more information contact Nancy Boldt, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, at 701-328-6312; or email ndgf@nd.gov.

Registration forms are available on the Game and Fish HSOforum (gf.nd.gov) by accessing the education/outreach link.

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Hunters Should be Aware of Dry Ground Conditions

Despite some much needed moisture over portions of the state in July and early August, the Rural Fire Danger Index in several western and central counties remains high. With conditions like this, hunters are encouraged to keep up with the daily fire danger index, as temperature and wind forecasts can restrict some outdoor activities.

As of Aug. 25, four counties had banned open burning, which includes campfires, and another dozen were monitoring conditions based on the fire danger index, red flag warnings and other factors.

Counties have the authority to impose restrictions beyond those indicated by fire danger index guidelines. These restrictions apply regardless of the daily fire danger index, and remain in place until each county’s commission rescinds the ban.

Hunters are encouraged to use extra caution to prevent fires, and should carry a cell phone in the vehicle, along with shovels, fire extinguishers, extra water and heavy fabric for putting out accidental fires. However, individuals who are not trained firefighters should not attempt to fight a fire that is out of control. Instead, contact the nearest fire department immediately.

The daily fire danger index is issued by the National Weather Service to alert the public to conditions that may be conducive to accidental starting or spread of fires. The index can change from day to day depending on temperature, wind and precipitation forecasts.

The daily fire danger index can reach into the extreme category when the NWS daily forecast calls for hot temperatures and high winds. If the index reaches the extreme category, open burning is prohibited; off-road travel with a motorized vehicle is prohibited, except for people engaged in a trade, business or occupation where it is required; and smoking is restricted to inside of vehicles, places of habitation and areas cleared to mineral soil.

Information on current fire danger indexes is available through the NWS Internet site at www.crh.noaa.gov/data/BIS/RFDBIS, the Game and Fish Department's HSOforum at gf.nd.gov, or county sheriff offices.

Hunters should contact the respective county’s emergency management office or sheriff’s department to find out about fire-danger-related restrictions in a particular county.

Pronghorn Lottery Held, Licenses Remain

The 2008 pronghorn lottery has been held and 100 doe/fawn licenses remain in three units. Licenses are issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Wednesday, Aug. 27. Two licenses per hunter are allowed for the 2008 regular gun season.

Licenses remain for the following units: Unit 4-A (late season), 66; Unit 4-C, 19; and Unit 6-A, 15.

Hunters can apply Aug. 27 by accessing the North Dakota Game and Fish Department HSOforum, gf.nd.gov. Otherwise, interested hunters can request an application by calling the department’s Bismarck office at 701-328-6300.

Only North Dakota residents are eligible for pronghorn gun licenses. The season runs Oct. 3-19.

Youth Deer Hunting Season Opens Sept. 12

North Dakota’s youth-only deer hunting season opens for 14- and 15-year-old first-time hunters Friday, Sept. 12 at noon, and continues through Sunday, Sept. 21.

The season is statewide, except for restricted licenses and units in western North Dakota. After opening day, hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Solid daylight fluorescent orange vests or coats, and hats are required for all youth deer season hunters and their adult mentors.

Each youth deer hunter must be under direct supervision of an adult while in the field.

In addition to the deer license, hunters must possess a general game and habitat license and hunting certificate.

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2008 Waterfowl Regulations Set

North Dakota’s 2008 waterfowl season has been set. Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 27 for ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Oct. 4.

The Hunter’s Choice bag limit for duck hunting is in place for the third consecutive year. Hunters may take five ducks per day with the following restrictions: two scaup, two redheads, two wood ducks; and only one from the following group: one hen mallard, or one pintail, or one canvasback. For ducks, the possession limit is twice the daily limit.

The daily limit of five mergansers may include no more than two hooded mergansers.

The hunting season for Canada geese in the newly created Missouri River zone will close Jan. 2, 2009, while the remainder of the state will close Dec. 25. The season for whitefronts closes Dec. 7, while the season on light geese is open through Jan. 2, 2009. Shooting hours for all geese are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Nov. 1. Beginning Nov. 2, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.

Extended shooting hours for all geese are permitted from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset on Saturdays and Wednesdays through Nov. 30, and on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from Dec. 3 through the end of each season.

The daily bag limit for Canada geese during the regular season is three, with six in possession. The daily limit on whitefronts is two with four in possession, and light goose is 20 daily, with no possession limit.

The special youth waterfowl hunting season is Sept. 20-21. Legally licensed residents and nonresidents 15 years of age or younger can hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and geese statewide. A licensed adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field. The daily bag limit and species restrictions for the youth season are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons.

Nonresidents have the option of buying either a statewide waterfowl license or one with zone restrictions. Nonresidents who designate zones 1 or 2 may hunt that zone for only one seven-day period during the season. Nonresident hunters who chose to hunt in zone 1 or 2 and wish to use the full 14 consecutive days allowed, must use the other seven days in zone 3. Hunters in zone 3 can hunt that zone the entire 14 days.

In accordance with state law, nonresidents are not allowed to hunt on North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife management areas or conservation PLOTS (Private Land Open To Sportsmen) areas from Oct. 11-17.

All waterfowl hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. Hunters purchasing a license from the Game and Fish Department can easily get a HIP number. Otherwise, hunters must call 888-634-4798, or log on to the Game and Fish HSOforum at gf.nd.gov, provide the registration information, and record the HIP number on their fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. Those who HIP registered to hunt this spring’s light goose season do not have to register again, as it is required only once per year.

Hunters should refer to the 2008 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide, available in early September, for further details on the waterfowl season.

PLOTS Guide at Vendors Early September

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Conservation Private Land Open To Sportsmen Guide is printed and will be available throughout the state in early September.

The guides are free, and available at county auditor offices and most license vendors; and at Game and Fish Department offices in Bismarck, Riverdale, Harvey (Lonetree), Williston, Dickinson, Jamestown and Devils Lake.

Hunters can also view the guide, and find a list of vendors where guides are available, on the department’s HSOforum, gf.nd.gov.

The PLOTS Guide will be similar to 2007 and feature more than 1 million PLOTS acres that are open to hunters this fall. The guide features maps highlighting these walk‑in areas – identified in the field by inverted triangular yellow signs – as well as remaining public lands.

However, there will be some PLOTS displayed in the guide that are no longer in the program because producers terminated selected Conservation Reserve Program contracts or portions of the PLOTS agreement after the guide was printed.

Kevin Kading, private land section leader for the Game and Fish Department, said as a result the habitat on some PLOTS will have changed significantly from in the past. “Hunters may be surprised when they arrive at a PLOTS tract this fall only to find out the habitat is partially gone, or the entire PLOTS tract is being farmed,” he said.

Increased demands for more cropland and high commodity prices have influenced many producers to opt out of their U.S. Department of Agriculture CRP contract to begin farming the land again. About 500,000 acres of CRP are enrolled in the PLOTS program, so when those CRP contracts expire or the producer opts out, PLOTS will be impacted.

“To minimize possible problems, hunters should do their homework ahead of time by visiting the department’s HSOforum to check for updates to the PLOTS Guide,” Kading said, while mentioning the map sheets will be updated as often as needed.

If hunters come across a PLOTS tract that is being farmed and looks questionable whether it’s still enrolled in the program, they should contact a private land biologist in that area (phone numbers are listed in the PLOTS Guide), or the Game and Fish Department in Bismarck.

Sharptails, Ruffed Grouse and Partridge Seasons Open Sept. 13

Upland game hunters take to the field Sept. 13 with the opening of sharp-tailed grouse, ruffed grouse and Hungarian partridge seasons.

While spring counts indicated a slight increase in sharptail numbers from last year, preliminary summer brood counts suggest poor reproductive success with fewer young birds. Counts showed Hungarian partridge numbers are down slightly from last year, and ruffed grouse are still toward the lower end of the cycle.

The sage grouse season is closed in 2008 due to low counts during the spring survey.

Aaron Robinson, upland game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said untimely spring rain at the peak of the hatch for most upland game birds resulted in poor success. Drier than typical weather during late summer roadside counts may have contributed to low numbers observed.

“While hunters in some local areas may find good numbers of sharptails, most hunters will have to work a little harder this fall to find birds,” Robinson said.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Sharptails, ruffed grouse and Huns each have a daily limit of three and a possession limit of 12.

Hunters, regardless of age, must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate and general game and habitat license. In addition, hunters ages 16 and older need a small game license.

For further season information and regulations, hunters should consult the North Dakota 2008-09 Small Game Hunting Guide.

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