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Outdoors Notebook: N.D. clay target league continues to grow, Fall mule deer survey, etc.

The fall season of the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League has 564 student athletes representing 27 high school shooting sports teams competing for six weeks. The fall season began Sept. 15 and will wrap up Oct. 26.

Clay target league still growing

The fall season of the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League has 564 student athletes representing 27 high school shooting sports teams competing for six weeks. The fall season began Sept. 15 and will wrap up Oct. 26.

“The high participation this fall is a reflection of the tremendous success of our spring offering, in which nearly 1,700 student athletes representing 63 teams participated,” John Nelson, league president, said. “With more new teams already being formed for the spring, along with the expansion of existing teams, we expect to see over 2,000 student athletes participating this spring in North Dakota’s fastest-growing and safest high school sport.”

Since its founding in 2001, the League has no reported injuries. Nationwide, over 32,000 students representing over 1,000 school-approved teams participated in the League this year.

The Fall League is open to high school teams that competed in the 2019 Spring League. The fall competition is three weeks shorter than in the spring, and there is no final tournament to end the season.

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-- Herald staff report

Fall mule deer survey underway

The state Game and Fish Department’s annual fall aerial mule deer survey was set to begin Monday, Oct. 14 in western North Dakota and should wrap up early this week. Weather permitting, the survey takes a week to complete.

During the survey period, people could notice low-flying small airplanes over some parts of the Badlands.

Game and Fish biologists have completed aerial surveys of the same 24 Badlands study areas since the 1950s. The department uses the survey to collect mule deer population data for monitoring demographic trends, such as buck-to-doe and fawn-to-doe ratios.

Biologists counted 2,446 mule deer in 306.3 square miles during last year’s survey. The buck-to-doe ratio was 43 bucks per 100 does, while the fawn-to-doe ratio was 84 fawns per 100 does.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Stay safe when water temp falls

As the leaves fall and the air temperature drops, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources again reminds hunters and anglers to think safety.

This time of the year can be especially dangerous because falling into cold lakes, ponds or rivers can incapacitate even strong swimmers.


And while some people like the solitude that comes with being on the water in the fall, it’s a double-edged sword because cries for help may go unheard or rescues may take longer than they would have during the warm-weather months.

Survival rates drop drastically during the cold water season, the DNR says.

“Few things are as heartbreaking as telling someone their loved one isn’t coming home, especially when the reality is so many incidents could be avoided by taking a few simple safety precautions,” said Jon Paurus, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator.

Wearing a life jacket (foam is better than inflatable during the cold-water season) is the one action most likely to help people survive a fall into cold water. People can reduce the likelihood of a fall overboard by distributing weight evenly in the boat and abiding by the manufacturer’s weight limits. Having a means of communication is important, too, as is making sure other people know where you’re going and when you plan to return.

“Minnesota is a wonderful place to live and recreate, but our opportunity for getting out on the water to fish and hunt is relatively compressed,” Paurus said. “It’s understandable people don’t want to let cold water or cold weather get in their way of enjoying the outdoors, but it’s imperative they’re safe and smart about it.”

-- Minnesota DNR

NDGF offers license reminder

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is reminding deer hunters of a state law that requires them to purchase a general game and habitat license before receiving a deer license.

North Dakota Century Code 20.1-03-02 reads “a person may not acquire any resident or nonresident license to hunt, catch, take or kill any small game or big game animal unless that person first obtains an annual general game license.”


Just like last year, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department is not mailing deer licenses until the recipient has purchased the general game and habitat license. Game and Fish recommends that deer hunters who do not yet have a general game license should get theirs well in advance of the planned hunt to allow for adequate delivery time to receive the deer license through the mail.

The general game and habitat license can be purchased online by visiting My Account at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Also, it’s important to locate your deer license and check it for accuracy, making sure the unit and species is what is intended.

Deer hunters who can’t find their deer license and who have already purchased their general game and habitat license, can get a replacement license by printing out a duplicate (replacement) license application from the Game and Fish website, or can request an application by calling (701) 328-6300.

The form must be completed and notarized, and sent back into the department with the appropriate fee.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

New N.D. law affects trail cameras

Outdoor recreationists who install devices for viewing wildlife on private land in North Dakota should be aware of a state law that was passed during the 2019 legislative session.

House Bill 1503 requires anyone who enters private property and installs a device for observing, recording or photographing wildlife to receive written permission from the landowner. Otherwise, the device must be identified with a permanently affixed metal or plastic tag with either a registration number issued by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, or the person’s name, address and telephone number.


An equipment registration number can be generated by visiting buy and apply on the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. One registration number will be issued that can be used on all equipment that requires identification.

The equipment registration number does not expire.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

DNR seeks applicants for two committees

The Minnesota DNR is seeking applicants to serve on two advisory committees: The Commissioner’s Advisory Committee on Natural Heritage and the Aquatic Invasive Species Advisory Committee

The Natural Heritage committee has four vacancies, and appointees will advise the DNR on issues related to sustaining the state’s natural heritage, biological diversity and ecosystem services.

The Aquatic Invasive Species committee was established in January 2013 to help guide the DNR’s AIS prevention and management activities. Members provide advice and diverse perspectives to the DNR Invasive Species Program. Responsibilities include reviewing reports, preparing comments and participating in eight meetings a year in a central Minnesota location.

Applications for both committees are due by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11.

For more information on applying for the natural heritage committee, go to at mndnr.gov/cac. For more information on the AIS committee, contact Heidi Wolf, invasive species unit supervisor, at (651) 259-5152.


-- Minnesota DNR

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