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Rick

Moose, Elk and Bighorn Sheep Seasons Set

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BISMARCK ND - North Dakota’s 2011 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation has been finalized and applications are available at the state Game and Fish Department’s website. The deadline for applying is March 30.

A total of 501 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, a decrease of 60 from last year.

The number of elk licenses in units E3 and E4 has been reduced by 100 due to the successful population reduction effort by the National Park Service in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Randy Kreil, North Dakota Game and Fish Department chief of wildlife, said 300 any-elk licenses will be available in units E3 and E4, and there will be no antlerless licenses issued in these two units in an effort to give hunters the maximum opportunity to harvest an elk.

“A total of 406 cow elk were taken out of the park by the reduction effort, and an estimated 76 cow elk were taken last fall by licensed hunters in E3 and E4,” Kreil said. “This harvest effectively reduced the cow elk population in and around the park by at least one third.”

Kreil said the successful elk reduction effort in TRNP this past year, and the possibility of similar results the next two years, will reduce elk numbers dramatically in units E3 and E4. Therefore, elk licenses will likely be reduced even further in future years.

Certain private lands in units E1 and E2 could open to hunting of antlerless elk from Aug. 12 – Sept. 30 if depredation problems occur and other measures are proven ineffective.

A total of 163 moose licenses are available in 2011, a decrease of 10 from last year.

The boundary for moose hunting unit M11 has been expanded to allow hunting over a wider area in western North Dakota where moose numbers have increased south of Williston along the Missouri River corridor.

“This area will be monitored closely in the coming years to see if populations decrease now that Lake Sakakawea is full and much of the habitat that allowed the moose population to grow is under water,” Kreil said.

Unit M1C will remain closed due to an extremely low moose population in the northeastern portion of the state.

The bighorn sheep season will be similar to last year with six licenses available – one license in units B1/B2, two in units B3 and B4, and one license auctioned through the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation. 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 Department’s website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications will be available on the website (for printing) and at license vendors the week of March 14.

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.

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