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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: North Dakota Game and Fish Department allocates five bighorn sheep tags, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to release roadside survey results etc.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is allocating five bighorn sheep licenses this year, three fewer than last year. (N.D. Game and Fish Department photo)

NDGF allocates five sheep tags

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is allocating five bighorn sheep licenses for this fall's hunting season, three fewer than 2016.

The number of once-in-a-lifetime licenses allotted to hunters is based on data collected from the department's recently completed summer population survey. Results of the survey showed a total of 83 rams, 21 fewer than 2016.

Brett Wiedmann, big game management biologist for Game and Fish in Dickinson, N.D., said the 20 percent decline in ram numbers is the result of an ongoing bacterial pneumonia outbreak that first was detected in 2014.

"In addition, 2016 had the lowest lamb recruitment on record so very few yearling rams were observed," Wiedmann said. "Encouragingly, no adult animals within the herds that were exposed to disease in 2014 showed clinical signs of pneumonia, and the summer lamb count in those herds improved."

Two licenses are available in Unit B3 and two in B4. Also, one license, as authorized under North Dakota Century Code, was auctioned in spring by the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, from which all proceeds are used to enhance bighorn sheep management in North Dakota.

Similar to last year, Game and Fish announced in February that the status of the bighorn sheep hunting season would be determined after completion of the summer population survey. Now that the survey is complete, the bighorn lottery was held and successful applicants were notified.

Prospective hunters were required to apply for a bighorn license earlier this year on the bighorn sheep, moose and elk application.

The bighorn sheep season opens Friday, Nov. 3

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

DNR to release roadside survey

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will release its annual roadside wildlife survey on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

The report summarizes roadside counts of pheasants, gray (Hungarian) partridge, cottontail rabbits, white-tailed jackrabbits and other wildlife observed in the early morning hours during the first two weeks of August.

The observations take place throughout the farmland region of Minnesota. Observers typically survey 172 routes of 25 miles each; 151 of the routes are in pheasant range.

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

• Openings remain for the youth mentored deer hunt set for Oct. 28-29 at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County. The hunt can accommodate 15 young hunters and their mentors, and six openings remained after the lottery. For more information, contact Gregg Knutsen, refuge manager, at (218) 687-2229 ext. 16 or by email at gregg_knutsen@fws.gov. The refuge will accept additional hunters through Friday, Oct. 6 or until the hunt is filled.

• North Dakota hunters are reminded that hunting big game over bait is prohibited on all state owned or managed wildlife management areas, all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, U.S. Forest Service national grasslands and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.

• The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's Private Land Open To Sportsmen (PLOTS) Guide for 2017 now is available on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov, and at most vendors throughout the state. This year's guide features about 737,000 PLOTS acres.

• North Dakota's swan lottery has been held and 522 licenses remain. Only hunters who do not have a swan license can apply, as regulations limit hunters to one license per year. Beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6, all remaining licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Season begins Sept. 30 and continues through Dec. 31. Info: gf.nd.gov.

• North Dakota's fall turkey season is set with 3,505 licenses available to hunters, five fewer than last year. Interested hunters, including gratis applicants, must submit an online application at gf.nd.gov. Paper applications are not available this year. Applications also can be made by calling the department's toll-free licensing line at (800) 406-6409. A service fee is added for telephone applications. license applications made over the phone. The deadline for applying is Wednesday, Sept. 6

• Hunters who missed the lottery deadline for the Camp Ripley archery hunt in central Minnesota can purchase surplus permits on a first-come first-served basis beginning at noon Friday, Sept. 15. Hunters who already received a permit will not be allowed to purchase a surplus permit. A total of 1,269 permits remain for the first hunt Oct. 19-20, while 513 permits remain for the second hunt set for Oct. 28-29. A person may only purchase a permit for one of the hunts. Info: mndnr.gov/hunting/deer.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. 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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