After the winter of 1996-97 — arguably the worst winter for resident wildlife in the last half century — I remember hearing upland game biologist Lowell Tripp and wildlife division chief Randy Kreil, now both retired, repeatedly say North Dakota was on the northern tier of the pheasant range and winters "like this" are going to take their toll. They also related how such a winter probably wasn't a one-time phenomenon, which proved true a decade later, from December 2008 to spring 2013.
The concern over chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease of the nervous system in deer and elk, often draws comparisons to the threat of introducing zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species. While the disease and the mussels affect different parts of the natural world, one of the primary strategies for addressing them both is minimizing or eliminating the potential for people to spread them to new areas. Which is why there are rules and regulations in place.
For more than four decades, Americans have recognized the fourth Saturday in September as National Hunting and Fishing Day. This year that falls on Sept. 23, and Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a proclamation officially recognizing that event in North Dakota, as well.
The good news for North Dakota hunters is that the 2017 waterfowl season is similar to last year as far as regulations and bag limits. Continental duck numbers are about the same as last year, as well, and goose populations that frequent North Dakota remain high.
As a prairie kid in the 1980s, the image of a Game and Fish distribution truck backing up to a favorite small lake or reservoir and stocking fingerlings spawned daydreams of fishing memories to come. And I remember the local chatter revolving around what kind of fish and how many were stocked created a certain buzz. Today, with a much better understanding of what it takes to maintain a fishery, I know that while stocking may stimulate enthusiasm for future fishing success, the proper balance of forage, escape cover and water quality and depth are the key factors in determining whether those
Growing up in the Midwest, I always thought August was more about fishing, baseball and the last stretch of summer vacation, rather than a prelude to fall accompanied by football, school and hunting. But times have changed, and the transition to fall now seems to start in August rather than in September, especially since the advent of the early Canada goose management season in North Dakota.
The state Game and Fish Department recently posted the 2017 version of the North Dakota Private Land Open to Sportsmen—or PLOTS—guide to its website. In addition to the updated maps showing PLOTS acres and other public lands available for hunting this year, the guide also has a question-and-answer section with Game and Fish private land section leader Kevin Kading, who provides some further information on the status of this popular program.
My years of experience and work as a biologist and former game warden usually give me a head start when I get questions on a variety of topics, but when I don't know the answer, my first stop is the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov. Recently, I was searching the website and ran across a section relating to the history of the agency and hunting and fishing in North Dakota, and I thought it might be of interest to share a bit. The full link is here: https://gf.nd.gov/history . • In 1909, a five-member Game and Fish Board of Control was created.
Ask an angler with his friends or co-workers within earshot what his three favorite North Dakota fishing targets are, and you'll likely hear walleye, walleye and walleye. But bluegill? Likely not in the first casts of most campfire conversations. But maybe they should be.
Compare gas prices now to just a few years ago, and it's easy to understand that anglers want to take the opportunity to explore more lakes, rivers and reservoirs. I'm not just talking North Dakota, either. But this additional travel also requires more emphasis on preventing the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species.