While North Dakota produces more ducks than pheasants, I’d guess if you asked every hunter their favorite quarry, ducks might finish behind deer and pheasants — though a lot of people are avid participants in all three seasons.
Thanks to a mild winter and early spring, pheasant numbers have rebounded across North Dakota and neighboring states
Pheasant hunters have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this fall in North Dakota, where summer roadside surveys showed a 59 percent increase from 2011, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Unless something drastic changes between now and next weekend, waterfowl hunters will be in for one of the driest falls in recent history when the regular season for ducks and geese opens Saturday in North Dakota and Minnesota.
North Dakota’s fall waterfowl season will begin Sept. 22 for residents and Sept. 29 for nonresidents, with a six-duck limit and a change that allows hunters to take six scaup, compared with two last year.
It’s not conclusive, but a combination of poor health and old age appear to be the main factors in the death of a whitetail doe that gave birth to quadruplet fawns this past spring near Minto, N.D. The fawns, the first set of whitetail quadruplets ever documented in North Dakota, all died, as well.
As reported across the state earlier this week, North Dakota’s fall duck flight is expected to have twice as many birds as last year. Results from the annual mid-July waterfowl production survey showed the duck index was up 16 percent from 2011 and 112 percent higher than the long-term average.
North Dakota’s estimated Canada goose population this spring stood at a whopping 415,000 birds. That’s more than twice the 162,000 Canada geese tallied in the spring of 2000 and five times higher than the state Game and Fish Department’s management goal of 80,000 birds.
In an effort to reduce record populations of resident Canada geese, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is looking to raise the daily limit from eight birds to 15 during the early season that begins in August.
Under the new laws, failure to remove a drain plug while transporting a watercraft will mean a $100 fine instead of a $50 penalty. The fine for unlawfully possessing and transporting prohibited AIS will increase from $250 to $500.
According to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual spring breeding duck survey, this year’s duck index is 4.8 million birds, an increase of 16 percent from last year and 112 percent higher than the long-term average from 1948 to 2011.
I’ve remarked often that the popularity of fishing and hunting at times is underappreciated by those who aren’t active participants. A few thousand people walking through the turnstiles and gathering in one location for a concert or sporting event in North Dakota turns heads. But for the sake of comparison, it would take nearly six Fargodomes to seat all of North Dakota’s anglers.
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