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Outdoors Notebook: North Dakota Game and Fish accepting online gratis deer license applications, DNR maintains four-walleye limit on Upper Red Lake etc.

NDGF accepting online gratis applications

North Dakota Landowners interested in applying for a 2018 deer gratis license now can fill out their application on the Game and Fish Department website at

General deer lottery and muzzleloader applications will be available online in early May. The deadline for applying is June 6.

According to Kim Kary, chief of administrative services for Game and Fish in Bismarck, the department decided to open the deer gratis application period a month earlier than in past years to provide additional time for landowners to get accustomed to the new online-only licensing system.

Gratis applicants who previously applied online or by paper already have their land description entered into the system and will be able to copy the land description from the previous year into this year's application, Kary said.

"Landowners will still need to bring up their land description and add the number of acres for each tract," she said. "In addition, any changes to the land description from the previous year will have to be made."

Online applications are part of 2015 legislation requiring Game and Fish to develop an all-electronic licensing system that went into effect two years ago, Kary said.

"When you factor in that more than 90 percent of regular lottery applications, and nearly 75 percent gratis, were already submitted online, it was the right time to eliminate paper applications and go completely online," she said.

Landowners who do not have access to a computer can submit the application at a public location such as a library, stop at a Game and Fish office or request help from a friend, relative or neighbor.

The electronic system at vendors is not set up to handle lottery/gratis applications.

"We will continue to require all electronic applications as we move forward, which includes pronghorn, swan and fall turkey," Kary said.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

DNR maintains Upper Red fishing regs

Anglers fishing Upper Red Lake this spring again will be able to keep four walleyes, of which only one may be longer than 17 inches, continuing the same regulation that was in place this past winter and the previous 2017 open water season, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced.

Minnesota's walleye season opens Saturday, May 12.

Under the regulation, anglers this winter harvested about 152,000 pounds of walleyes on Upper Red — a record high for winter harvest since reopening walleye fishing in 2006 — but there remains room within the target harvest range to allow the regulation to continue into the open water season.

"Anglers really like the current opportunities to keep lots of walleye on Upper Red Lake," said Gary Barnard, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji. "These regulations serve a specific purpose now, but we want to be clear that eventually we may need to pull back."

Red Lake's walleye harvest is managed under a joint harvest plan, revised in 2015 by the Red Lakes Fisheries Technical Committee. An Upper Red Lake Citizen Advisory Committee reviewed previous season harvest totals and regulation options and recommended continuation of the current walleye regulation for the state waters of Upper Red Lake.

More information on Upper Red fishing regulations are available at

-- Minnesota DNR

DNR accepting bear lottery apps

The DNR is accepting applications for bear hunting licenses in lottery permit areas through Friday, May 4. Hunters can apply wherever Minnesota hunting and fishing license are sold, online at or by telephone at (888) 665-4236.

A total of 3,350 licenses are available in 13 permit areas, unchanged from last year. Bear licenses cost $44 for residents and $230 for nonresidents, and there is a $5 application fee. The season is open from Saturday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 14. An unlimited number of bear licenses again will be sold over the counter for the no-quota area in east-central and far northwest Minnesota. No-quota licenses are valid only in the no-quota area and allow hunters to shoot one bear.

More info:

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

• Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County again this spring is offering viewing blinds for the public to watch prairie chickens and sharp-tailed grouse on their booming and dancing grounds. Visitors need to be in the blinds an hour before sunrise, and grouse activity usually tapers off about 8 a.m. Reservations can be made beginning Wednesday, April 18 and continuing through late May through the Crookston Chamber of Commerce at (218) 281-4320, (800) 809-5997 or by email at

• A total of 1,403 students from 49 North Dakota high schools are participating this spring in the North Dakota High School Clay Target League. The spring season launched April 1, and the North Dakota state tournament is set for June 16-17 at The Shooting Park in Horace, N.D.

• The Minnesota Waterfowl Symposium—a one-day conference for hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife professionals—is set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at Minnesota National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington, Minn. More info:

• The next North Dakota guide and outfitter written examination is set for 1 p.m. May 12 at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state. Info/registration: (701) 328-6604.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998.  A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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