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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: N.D. reports sheep, elk and moose harvests; N.D. to propose fisher season etc.

N.D. reports sheep,

elk, moose harvest

BISMARCK -- North Dakota hunters tallied 100 percent success last fall for bighorn sheep, 85 percent for moose and 40 percent for elk, the Game and Fish Department said.

The department issued five bighorn sheep licenses in three units -- one license in units B1 and B3 and three in unit B4. One additional hunter was able to buy a license by auction to hunt any open area.

All six hunters shot adult rams.

In related news, Game and Fish said it will offer 501 elk licenses this fall, down from 577 in 2010. Last year, 230 hunters shot 122 bulls and 108 cows or calves.

Officials said the number of elk licenses has been reduced in units adjacent to Theodore Roosevelt National Park because of a successful effort to reduce the size of the park's bloated elk herd.

Game and Fish also is reducing the number of available moose licenses to 163, down from 172 last year. In 2010, 146 hunters were successful, shooting 94 bulls and 52 cows or calves.

The number of bighorn sheep licenses will remain at six.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

N.D. to propose

trial fisher season

Details haven't been set, but the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is planning to propose an experimental season on fishers this fall.

Most common in forested areas such as northern Minnesota and Canada, the furbearing mammals in recent years have become increasingly abundant in North Dakota, especially in the northeastern part of the state.

According to Randy Kreil, wildlife division chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the season most likely would be quota-based, but the quota and the boundary area haven't been set, and it hasn't been determined whether both trapping and hunting would be allowed.

He said the department will have a better handle on the season proposal by the time the agency holds its spring advisory board meetings next month.

Kreil said the department is proposing the season as a way to learn more about the species.

-- Brad Dokken

NDGF tests coyotes

for bovine TB

Biologists from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department have been working with federal sharpshooters this week near Park River, N.D., testing coyotes the shooters kill for the bovine tuberculosis bacteria.

The shooters, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services division, are working to reduce coyote numbers for several landowners in the Park River area.

Randy Kreil, wildlife division chief for Game and Fish in Bismarck, said coyotes are a "sentinel species" for bovine TB. That means they don't get the disease, but they conceivably could ingest animals such as deer that might carry the pathogen. He said Stephanie Tucker, furbearer biologist, and Dr. Dan Grove, a veterinarian for Game and Fish, have worked with the USDA shooters to test more than 100 coyotes the past two years. None of the coyotes tested positive for the TB bacteria.

Kreil said the Park River area is a good place to test for bovine TB because of its proximity to northwestern Minnesota, where efforts have been in place to eradicate the disease -- with considerable success -- since 2005.

-- Brad Dokken

Did you know?

- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has conducted its spring wild turkey lottery, and more than 750 licenses remain in 10 units. Only hunters who don't have a license for the spring season are eligible to apply, and the season is open to resident hunters only. Info:

- South Dakota's pheasant season will open Oct. 15, and the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission has approved a season identical to last year. It will run from Oct. 15 to Jan. 1 with a daily limit of three roosters and a possession limit of 15. Shooting will begin at noon for the first week and then switch to a 10 a.m. start beginning Oct. 22.

- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be closing some state forest roads and trails to vehicle traffic during the spring thaw to reduce the potential for damage. The DNR will post signs at entry points and parking lots in state forests, but people still should check on the latest conditions before planning trips. The DNR will update road and trail condition by 2 p.m. every Thursday at

- The DNR again this summer will offer monthly and seasonal camping from May 6 through Sept. 4 at Hayes Lake and Old Mill state parks in northwestern Minnesota, and reservations are due by March 31. Hayes Lake will have nine campsites, all with electrical hookups, available, while Old Mill will have five sites, also with electric and water hookups. Info: Hayes Lake, (218) 425-7504; Old Mill, (218) 754-2200; or


- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation on March 6 wrapped up its largest annual conservation fundraiser in Reno, Nev. The 27th Annual Elk Camp & Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Expo racked up gross revenues topping $2.5 million.

- National Wildlife Week begins Monday and continues through March 20. The theme for this year's event is "Animals That Move Us." Info:

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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