Refuges to open to upland hunting

Several North Dakota national wildlife refuges again will open to late-season upland game bird hunting the day after the deer gun season closes.

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Arrowwood, Audubon, Des Lacs, J. Clark Salyer, Lake Alice, Lake Zahl, Long Lake, Lostwood, Tewaukon (pheasants only) and Upper Souris NWRs open Nov. 21.

Portions of each refuge will be closed to hunting. Hunters should contact refuge headquarters for information on closed areas and other restrictions: Arrowwood, (701) 285-3341; Audubon, (701) 442-5474; Des Lacs, (701) 385-4046; J. Clark Salyer, (701) 768-2548; Lake Alice, (701) 662-8611; Lake Zahl, (701) 965-6488; Long Lake, (701) 387-4397; Lostwood, (701) 848-2722; Tewaukon, (701) 724-3598; and Upper Souris, (701) 468-5467.

Details on individual refuges also are available by going to fws.gov and clicking on "National Wildlife Refuges."

National wildlife refuges are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and nontoxic shot is required on all service lands. State regulations found in the North Dakota 2016-17 Small Game Guide apply. Seasons for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge and ruffed grouse in North Dakota close Jan. 8.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Elk removal effort underway

MEDORA, N.D.-The National Park Service will be removing about 30 surplus elk at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota until Dec. 17.

The management goal is to maintain the number of elk between 100 and 400 animals. The past several years, the park has kept the population at 200 elk.

The South Unit's backcountry trails will not be closed during the time elk are being removed. The reduction efforts could take place at any point in the seven-day week depending on staff availability to provide greater program flexibility and take advantage of favorable weather conditions.

Roads and overlooks, as well as Cottonwood Campground and the four front-country trails in the South Unit-Buck Hill, Wind Canyon, Ridgeline Nature Trail and Coal Vein Trail-also will remain open.

Although the park's elk herd is classified as free of chronic wasting disease, staff will continue to test culled elk to support North Dakota's monitoring effort for the infectious disease. Elk meat will be packed out of the park and donated to Sportsmen Against Hunger through the North Dakota Community Action Partnership. The park has conducted elk management operations with little change over the past six years, and this year will be no exception. Park staff will continue to use only non-leaded ammunition during the reduction.

-- Herald staff report

DNR: Check for AIS

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding lake property owners to carefully check boats and trailers, docks and lifts and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when closing cabins for the winter.

Several recent new zebra mussel confirmations initially were reported by people making end of season inspections of docks, boats and boat lifts.

"These recent confirmations serve as a reminder of the importance of carefully examining all equipment when taking it out of the water," said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. "A few simple steps now can help prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species."

The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:

• Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.

• Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota's aquatic invasive species laws, and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.

• Contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if you think you have discovered an invasive species that has not already been confirmed in your lake.

It's especially important to keep docks and boat lifts out of the water at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water. This state law is central to the training DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses receive. Anyone transporting a dock or lift from the adjacent shoreline property to another location for storage or repair may need a permit to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

More info: mndnr.gov/AIS.

-- Minnesota DNR

Artist goes 4 for 4 in stamp contests

Richfield, Minn., artist Timothy Turenne won the 2017 Minnesota Walleye Stamp contest. His painting was selected by judges from among eight entries for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Turenne's painting of a walleye foraging on minnows will be featured on the 2017 walleye stamp.

Turenne also won the walleye stamp contest in 2010 and now has won all four state stamp contests he's entered this year-leaving out only the pheasant stamp.

"This is an incredible feat to win all these contests in one year," said Neil Vanderbosch, DNR fisheries program consultant. "The only reason he did not enter the pheasant stamp contest this year was because he won that contest last year and was ineligible to enter."

The voluntary walleye stamp validation costs $5 but is not required to fish or keep walleye. For an extra 75 cents, buyers will be mailed the pictorial stamp. A pictorial collectable stamp without the validation is available for $5.75. Walleye stamps are available year-round and need not be purchased at the same time as fishing licenses.

The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work.

Revenue from stamp sales is used to purchase walleyes for stocking in Minnesota's lakes. More info: mndnr.gov/stamps.

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

• Fisheries crews from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department collected about 2 million salmon eggs during their annual fall spawning operation on the Missouri River System. Dave Fryda, Missouri River System supervisor for Game and Fish, said crews collected enough eggs to stock the 400,000 smolts planned for Lake Sakakawea in 2017. Fryda said the average size of Lake Sakakawea female salmon was 7.6 pounds, about 3 pounds smaller than 2015, but the overall number of spawning salmon was "exceptional." He said the abundance of young male salmon, also called jacks, again was high in 2016.

• Grafton High School was the top trapshoot team in the fall season of the North Dakota High School Clay Target League, which wrapped up Oct. 29. Grafton's team accumulated 1,443.5 points on the season, while Richland (N.D.) High School was second with 1,135 points. Calvin Clasen of Shanley High School in Fargo had the high overall male average with 23.10, and Emma Mielke of Valley City High School had the high overall female average with 16.9. More info: ndclaytarget.com.

• North Dakota requires a permit for anyone wanting to take possession of a dead deer or parts such as the skull and antlers found near a road or in the field. Only shed antlers can be possessed without a permit. The permits are free and available from game wardens and local law enforcement officers. Hunters cannot leave dead deer on the side of a road or in a ditch, and deer parts can't be thrown in commercial trash receptacles.

• Angler Kanchic Yang of St. Paul caught Minnesota's new state record white bass Oct. 10 at Vadnais Lake in Ramsey County. The fish weighed 4 pounds, 8 ounces, was 20 inches long and had a girth of 16 inches. Minnesota's previous state record white bass weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces. North Dakota's state record white bass, which came from Six-Mile Bay of Devils Lake in June 2012, weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 19 inches. Charlie Vang of Brooklyn Park, Minn., caught the fish.

• Archery hunters took 113 deer during this year's bow hunts Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 29-30 on the 53,000-acre Camp Ripley Military Reservation near Little Falls, Minn. The DNR issued 2,995 permits, and 2,270 hunters participated. Participation and harvest declined this year since bonus permits weren't allowed. Brian Sanoski of Randall, Minn., took the largest buck, tipping the scales at 218 pounds. Devin Nelson of Watkins, Minn., weighed in the largest doe at 148 pounds.

-- Compiled by Brad Dokken