NDGF to offer 502 nonresident bow tags

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will offer 502 any-deer bow licenses to nonresidents in 2018.

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Applicants must apply online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. Paper applications are not available. The deadline for applying is March 1.

As many as five applicants can apply together as a party. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. Any remaining licenses after March 1 will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

A nonresident archery deer license costs $250.

The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year's mule deer gun license allocation. Game and Fish issued 3,350 mule deer licenses in the 2017 deer gun license lottery.

-- Herald staff report

GF bird count yields 52 species

Observers tallied 52 bird species during the 57th Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Christmas Bird Count, the Grand Cities Bird Club said in reporting results from the Dec. 17 count. Three more species were observed during count week, bringing the total to 55.

This was the fifth time 50 or more species have been recorded on count day, the Bird Club said in its report.

Canada geese and rock pigeons were the two most abundant species in the count, and the most notable records observed during the count were fox sparrow, redhead duck, brown-headed cowbird and barred owl.

Observers talled a total of 6,544 birds during count week within the 15-mile-radius count circle.

In other Christmas Bird Count news, the Northwest Minnesota Birding Report said the Roseau Christmas Bird Count, held Dec. 30 under extremely cold conditions, produced 21 species, including one spruce grouse, 44 sharp-tailed grouse, two northern hawk owls and two great gray owls. In addition, 96 Bohemian waxwings were tallied during count week, the Birding Report said. The Beltrami Island State Forest count on Dec. 31 tallied 15 species, and the Baudette Christmas Bird Count on New Year's Day yielded 27 species.

-- Herald staff report

Rydell meeting to focus on hunting

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff from Rydell National Wildlife Refuge in Erskine, Minn., will host a public scoping meeting from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 to seek input on the future of hunting on the refuge.

Rydell NWR was established in 1992 and is 2,070 acres in size.

The initial Refuge Hunt Plan opened the majority of the refuge to hunting deer under special, highly regulated conditions. This included a permit-based, antlerless-only opportunity during Minnesota's regular gun deer season, as well as a two-day mentored youth hunt and a three-day accessible deer hunt. The antlerless-only hunt was conducted to reduce refuge deer numbers at a time when the population was too high.

In recent years, the only hunting allowed on the refuge has been the mentored youth and accessible deer hunts. Rydell was never opened to hunting for migratory birds or upland game, but hunting is a priority public use on National Wildlife Refuge System lands, and the possibility exists to expand hunting opportunities on the refuge. That could include changes to the framework of deer hunting on the refuge or opening parts of the refuge to hunting migratory birds, upland game or both.

Rydell staff now are seeking input on any changes the public would like to see in future hunting opportunities on the refuge.

The Jan. 22 meeting will be conducted as an open house in the Rydell Visitor Center. Refuge staff will consider ideas and comments from the meeting when completing the revised Hunt Plan and associated Environmental Assessment.

For more information, contact Gregg Knutsen, refuge manager, at (218) 687-2229 ext. 16 or gregg_knutsen@fws.gov.

-- Herald staff report

Did you know?

• The North Dakota Game and Fish Department reminds people with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs to look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form. The checkoff provides an opportunity to support nongame wildlife such as songbirds and birds of prey, while contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife. Info: gf.nd.gov.

• The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has scheduled an examination for 10 a.m. Feb. 23 at the department's main office in Bismarck to select candidates for the position of a full-time temporary district game warden in Bismarck. Applicants must register to take the exam no later than Feb. 19 by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website. More info: gf.nd.gov.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken