States receive LWCF grants

North Dakota will receive more than $1.5 million, and Minnesota more than $2.9 million, as part of a grant package totaling more than $170 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the LWCF grants Thursday. The grants are funded by offshore oil revenues dedicated to outdoor recreation projects in all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

“Using zero taxpayer dollars, LWCF invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help rehabilitate and improve infrastructure at state and local parks and other recreation areas,” Bernhardt said in a statement. “Funds will also be used to maximize access by opening up landlocked public lands. A small investment in a little strip of land can open up thousands of acres to outdoor recreation enthusiasts.”

Congress established the LWCF in 1964 to ensure public access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations, and to provide money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans.

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Since its inception, the LWCF has provided more than $4.4 billion to state and local governments to fund more than 43,000 projects throughout the nation.

-- Herald staff report

N.D. youth deer season opens Sept. 13

North Dakota’s 9½-day youth deer season starts at noon CDT on Friday, Sept. 13, and the Game and Fish Department is reminding young hunters they have to buy a general game and habitat license before the department mails the youth deer license.

Hunters should buy the required license early, since it takes a couple of days to receive the deer license in the mail.

As part of the youth season, licensed residents who turn 11, 12 or 13 years old this year can hunt statewide, but only for antlerless white-tailed deer.

Resident deer gun hunters who turn 14 or 15 this year can hunt statewide for any deer with a youth license, except a special license is required to hunt antlered mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F (valid only in the unit printed on the license).

After opening day, hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Solid daylight fluorescent orange vests or coats, and hats, are required for all young hunters and their adult mentors. Each youth deer hunter must be under the direct supervision of an adult while in the field.

The youth deer season closes Sunday, Sept. 22.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

N.D. sandhill crane season opens Sept. 14

North Dakota’s sandhill crane season opens Saturday, Sept. 14 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 10.

Limits are three daily and nine in possession in Unit 1 (west of U.S. Highway 281), and two daily and six in possession in Unit 2 (east of U.S. Highway 281). Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m. each day through Nov. 2. Beginning Nov. 3, shooting hours are extended until 2 p.m. each day.

Hunters should use caution and identify birds to prevent shooting at whooping cranes as they begin their fall migration.

In addition to other licenses required, resident hunters need a $10 crane permit, while nonresidents need a $30 permit. Hunters can buy a license on the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

Harvest Information Program certification is required for hunting all migratory birds. To get HIP-certified, hunters can access the department’s website or call (888) 634-4798.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

N.D. offers youth, military waterfowl hunt

North Dakota’s two-day youth waterfowl and special veteran and active military personnel waterfowl weekend is Saturday, Sept. 14 and Sunday, Sept. 15.

Legally licensed resident and nonresident youth waterfowl hunters age 15 and younger, and veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers statewide.

The daily bag limit and species restrictions are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons, with one exception: The additional two blue-winged teal allowed during the first 16 days of the regular season are not allowed during this weekend.

Resident and qualifying nonresident youth waterfowl hunters must possess a general game and habitat license. Nonresidents from states that do not provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents must purchase the entire nonresident waterfowl license package.

Veterans and members of the Armed Forces must possess a resident hunting license, which includes a general game and habitat license, and a small game license.

Hunters age 16 and older must also possess a federal waterfowl stamp.

In addition, all hunters must be Harvest Information Program certified, and youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course.

Hunters who do not HIP certify when they buy their North Dakota license can add it by going to gf.nd.gov or by calling (888) 634-4798 and recording the HIP number on their printed license.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Minnesota pheasant index declines

Minnesota pheasant prospect map. (Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)
Minnesota pheasant prospect map. (Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)

Minnesota pheasant numbers are down 17 percent from last year across their range, the Department of Natural Resources said in reporting results from its annual roadside pheasant survey.

When Minnesota’s pheasant season opens Saturday, Oct. 12, hunters are likely to find some areas with plenty of pheasants and other areas where the birds will be tougher to find. The 2019 index was 11 percent below the 10-year average and 60 percent below the long-term average. This year’s statewide pheasant index was 37.4 birds per 100 miles of roads driven.

“Though some regional and statewide pheasant indices declined, there is still reason to be optimistic,” said Tim Lyons, DNR upland game research scientist. “Birds are still abundant in some areas. But after a prolonged winter and wet spring, hunters may need to be choosier about where they go.”

Looking at the survey results, Minnesota’s pheasant index decreased throughout much of the pheasant range, except in the south-central and east-central regions, where the index grew by 24 percent and 13 percent, respectively, from 2018. The highest pheasant indexes were in the west-central and south-central regions, where observers reported 43 to 49 birds per 100 miles driven. Hunting opportunities also will be good in the southwest and central regions.

Minnesota’s pheasant season continues through Wednesday, Jan. 1. More info: mndnr.gov/hunting/pheasant.

-- Minnesota DNR

Did you know?

  • September is Public Lands Month. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers launched Public Lands Month in 2017 to focus attention and drive action in support of North America’s public lands and waters. National Public Lands Day in 2019 is Saturday, Sept. 28.

  • Fourth-grade students can get a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas through the Every Kid Outdoors Program. An interagency collaboration between the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Forest Service, the program provides fourth-graders with free access to explore, learn and recreate in national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries and forests. More info: nps.gov/everykidoutdoors.

  • The Bell Museum and the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine are partnering to host “Spotlight Science: Chronic Wasting Disease,” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Bell Museum, 2088 Larpenteur Ave. W., in St. Paul. Experts from the university and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will be available to discuss the brain disease that’s fatal to deer, elk and moose and highlight research being done to help combat its spread and what people can do to help. Info: z.umn.edu/BellCWD.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken