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Outdoors Notebook: NDGF offers elk, moose and bighorn applications

NDGF offers elk, moose and bighorn applications

Applications for North Dakota's elk, moose and bighorn sheep seasons now are available, and hunters can apply online by going to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at

Prospective hunters also can submit general lottery applications by calling (800) 406-6409. Preferential landowner (gratis) applications must be submitted online. Paper applications no longer are available for any lottery or gratis licenses, including deer gun, pronghorn, swan and fall turkey.

The deadline to apply for the once-in-a-lifetime licenses is March 28.

A total of 408 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, an increase of 19 from last year and the most since 2011.

A record 334 moose licenses are available in 2018, an increase of 89 from last year and 203 more than in 2015. Most of the increase is antlerless licenses in units M10 and M11, due to an increasing moose population in these units.

Hunting units M1C and M4 will remain closed because of a continued downward trend in moose numbers in the northeastern part of the state.

A bighorn sheep hunting season tentatively is scheduled to open in 2018, depending on the sheep population. The status of the bighorn sheep season will be determined Sept. 1, after summer population surveys are completed. The season was closed in 2015 because of a bacterial pneumonia outbreak.

Bighorn sheep applicants must apply for a license at the same time as moose and elk but not for a specific unit. Once Game and Fish determines total licenses for each unit in late summer, the bighorn lottery will be held, and successful applicants will be contacted to select a hunting unit.

As per state law, the bighorn sheep application is not refundable, even if there isn't a season.

Elk, moose and bighorn sheep lottery licenses are issued as once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota.


-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

N.D. Fishing Hall seeks nominees

The North Dakota Fishing Hall of Fame in Garrison, N.D, is seeking nominations for potential Hall of Fame inductees. Anyone may nominate a person or organization they believe has made a significant and lasting contribution to sport fishing in North Dakota. Nominees will be chosen based upon consideration of their ethics, leadership and commitment to improving sport fishing in North Dakota, unselfish contributions to the sport, scope of impact on fishing and overall contribution to the sport or to fisheries management in North Dakota.

Nominations are due by May 1 for this year's inductees. Nomination forms and additional information is available on the Hall of Fame website at, by emailing Keith Witt at or by calling the Garrison Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 799-4242.

-- Herald staff report

New pike regs set for Minnesota

Anglers in Minnesota will have new regulations for catching and keeping northern pike when fishing season on inland waters reopens May 12.

The new fishing regulations have three distinct zones—with different bag and slot limits for each zone—to address the different characteristics of pike populations in Minnesota.

While not designed to manage for trophy pike, the new regulations are meant to restore pike populations for better harvest opportunities across the state for sizes that make good table fare, up to about 28 inches or so.

A closer look:

• North-central Minnesota: Pike limit is 10, but all fish from 22 inches to 26 inches must be released; anglers can keep two pike longer than 26 inches.

• Northeast: Two pike; anglers must release all from 30 to 40 inches, with only one over 40 inches allowed in possession.

• South: Two fish; minimum size 24 inches.

Darkhouse spearing regulations for pike change slightly, and those regulations are listed in the spearing section of the regulations booklet.

The new regulations, which apply to inland waters of the state, don't affect border waters such as Lake of the Woods or lakes and streams with special pike regulations already in place, such as Upper Red Lake.

For more information, go to or contact a local area fisheries office. Contact information can be found in the fishing regulations booklet, available online at

-- Minnesota DNR

DNR to discuss Winnie changes

The DNR's area fisheries office in Grand Rapids, Minn., will hold an open house from 7 to 10 p.m. March 20 to discuss historic and recent changes in Lake Winnibigoshish.

The meeting will be held at the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center, 413 13th St. S.E., Grand Rapids.

The meeting will begin with a short presentation of data and include time for questions.

Known as "Winnie," for short, Lake Winnibigoshish is a destination fishery for walleye and yellow perch. Fisheries biologists will share data about changes in fish populations, and the impacts of exotic species and regulations.

"Like many walleye populations, walleye numbers on Winnie have gone through periods of ups and downs over time. Presently, the fishery is going through one of the down periods," said Gerry Albert, DNR large lake specialist. "We're investigating whether recent changes are a normal part of walleye biology on Winnie, or if something has changed in the system."

The meeting is not a regulation review meeting, and no special fishing regulation changes are being proposed. Interested parties are invited to attend the meeting, review current biological data, and provide input regarding Lake Winnibigoshish management.

For more information, contact the Grand Rapids Area Fisheries office at (218) 328-8836, or Gerry Albert, Lake Winnibigoshish large lake specialist, at

-- Minnesota DNR

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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