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Outdoors notebook: Devils Lake walleye tagging, Fall turkey licenses etc.

DL walleye tagging: Fisheries crews from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently tagged 1,000 walleyes on Devils Lake in the final phase of a three-year project.

DL walleye tagging: Fisheries crews from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department recently tagged 1,000 walleyes on Devils Lake in the final phase of a three-year project.

Crews during the past three years tagged 3,000 walleyes for the study, which allows biologists to gather information on walleye movements, total fish mortality between years, angling mortality rates and differences in mortality rates between sexes.

This year's tags are blue -- last year's were yellow and tags in 2007 were orange -- and are attached by wire to the top of the fish.

Anglers who catch a tagged fish don't need to send in the tag -- only the tag number, whether the fish was kept or released, the date it was caught, and the length, location and angler's name and address.

Tags can be reported online at the Game and Fish Department Web site, gf.nd.gov, or by filling out and returning cards available at bait shops around the lake. Anglers also can bring the information in or call the Devils Lake Game and Fish office at (701) 662-3617.

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Game and Fish will send anglers who return tags follow-up letters with information such as when and where the fish was tagged and the length of the fish at the time it was tagged.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Snapping turtle deaths: A Game and Fish Department biologist said a bacterial infection found in the lungs of snapping turtles caused the deaths of 20 turtles near the Maple River Dam in southern Cass County.

Biologist Doug Leier said the outbreak is believed to be isolated. He said a landowner contacted the department to report the deaths.

Leier said snapping turtles, which can live for decades, are resilient and can fight off most predators and disease. He said the stress of the tough winter and the flooding likely helped spread the infection.

-- Associated Press

Fall turkey season: North Dakota is offering 6,805 licenses for the fall turkey season, the Game and Fish Department says.

According to Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for Game and Fish in Bismarck, license numbers are down 17 percent from last year. But an additional 1,300 licenses may be used in specific hunting units if turkey reproduction is exceptionally good this spring.

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Hunting success and population data in 2008 from units in the southwest indicate turkey numbers have decreased because of last year's poor production and chick recruitment. Kohn said aggressive hunting seasons since 2003 also have started to stabilize turkey numbers in many units.

Another change from last year is the number of hunting units. Since 2003, the state has been divided into 29 turkey units. This year, Game and Fish combined several smaller units in the eastern part of the state into larger units, reducing the total number of units to 22 for this fall.

An experimental hunting season will be reinstated for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan, N.D. A maximum of 30 licenses will be available. These licenses will be available at the Game and Fish Department after first obtaining a permit from USDA.

Hunting units 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) and 53 (Divide and Williams counties) will remain closed to fall turkey hunting in 2009 because of low turkey numbers.

The fall wild turkey season begins Oct. 10 and continues through Jan. 10, 2010.

Prospective hunters, including gratis applicants, can apply online or print out an application to mail on the Game and Fish Web site at gf.nd.gov. Lottery applications will be available in mid-June from Game and Fish Department offices, county auditors and license vendors.

Applications also are accepted at the department's toll-free licensing line, (800) 406-6409. A service fee is added for license applications made over the phone.

Applications for the fall season must be postmarked no later than July 1. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply in the first lottery. Nonresidents can apply for fall turkey licenses remaining after the first lottery.

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-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Did you know?

- Thomas A. Thompson of Bismarck won the North Dakota state four-position smallbore rifle Championship held recently at the Forks Rifle Club's W.G. Coulter Range west of Grand Forks. Coby Dalgliesch, Sarles, N.D., won the 200-yard state championship, and Tom Reiten, Grand Forks, won state prone smallbore rifle championship. Matthew Pueppke, Amenia, N.D., won the state junior four-position championship and the state junior prone championship.

- Joshua Bartz recently earned the first entry since 2007 on North Dakota's list of state record fish. Bartz, of Bismarck, arrowed a 51-pound, 4-ounce buffalo May 30 from the Missouri River near Fox Island in Bismarck. The 44-inch fish shattered the old record of 40 pounds, 6 ounces taken by Trey Opp of Mandan, N.D., in 2007 at Heart Butte Reservoir, also known as Lake Tschida.

- Fargo-Moorhead group River Keepers recently contracted with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource to develop a master plan and map of the Otter Tail River. Paper copies of "The Otter Tail River Canoe and Boating Guide" will be available in a few weeks, but the guide now is available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/ottertailriver/index.html

- A couple from Belle Plaine, Minn., have become the first to complete the DNR's Geocaching Wildlife Safari by finding a hidden geocache at each of Minnesota's 72 state parks and recreation areas. Jason and Sarah Geisel completed this year's event last weekend when they found their final cache at Zippel Bay State Park on Lake of the Woods. Info: mnstateparks.info.

- The headquarters office at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays during the month of June. The refuge is located northeast of Thief River Falls in Marshall County. Visitors can check out a key to climb the refuge's 100-foot fire tower or to explore refuge "back roads," weather permitting.

Related Topics: FISHINGHUNTING
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