UND plans hunter harvest survey

A graduate student in the UND wildlife program will conduct a “mixed mode” survey of North Dakota small game, upland game and waterfowl hunters next fall in an effort to determine the most effective technique for gathering harvest information.

According to Jay Boulanger, a UND assistant professor of Wildlife Ecology and Human Dimensions, the study with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department will involve a mix of paper and Internet surveys for small game, upland game and waterfowl hunters to report their harvest success.

Jay Boulanger
Jay Boulanger

UND hasn’t hired a student to conduct the study but will advertise the position later this fall, Boulanger said.

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Game and Fish historically has relied on paper surveys mailed to a random sample of license holders to estimate hunting success for the various game species.

Younger hunters tend to prefer electronic surveys, while older hunters who might not be as computer literate are more apt to return paper surveys. With mailing and return postage, the costs of paper surveys can be considerable, and time-consuming for staff to enter the data.

“The idea is finding a balance so we can maybe increase efficiency, help inform wildlife harvest management decisions and also save the North Dakota Game and Fish Department some money at the same time,” Boulanger said.

Another graduate student, Ethan Kalinowski, conducted a similar survey of deer and turkey hunters, Boulanger said, but survey results are still being compiled.

-- Brad Dokken

DNR sets statewide youth deer season

Minnesota's inaugural statwide youth deer season is open to hunters age 10 to 17 years old, and is set for Oct. 17-20. (Photo/ Minnesota DNR)
Minnesota's inaugural statwide youth deer season is open to hunters age 10 to 17 years old, and is set for Oct. 17-20. (Photo/ Minnesota DNR)

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the first time this fall is offering a statewide four-day youth deer season beginning Thursday, Oct. 17 and concluding Sunday, Oct. 20, coinciding with the annual teachers' convention that gives students a long weekend.

The youth season began in 2004 in northwest Minnesota before expanding to southeast Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area, where deer were most abundant. A 2018 statewide survey of Minnesota hunters showed support for a statewide youth deer season, the DNR said. Deer management interest groups also supported the concept.

“This is a hunting season just for kids,” said Barb Keller, DNR big game program leader. “It’s a chance for parents, relatives and trusted adults to discover, explore and practice hunting with youth in Minnesota’s fields and forests.”

Typically, temperatures in the middle of October are warmer than those during the regular November firearm deer season, snow has yet to set in for winter and deer are moving more during the daylight hours. Those factors create an ideal opportunity for youth deer hunters.

To participate, young hunters must be 10 to 17 years old and have a deer license. An adult parent, guardian or mentor must accompany 10- to 13-year-old hunters. All youth hunters and mentors must follow blaze orange/pink clothing requirements. Adults may not hunt, unless they are in an area open during the early antlerless season.

“Hunting is a pathway for understanding nature, supporting sound natural resource management and becoming a conservation advocate,” Keller said. “Creating this opportunity is one of the ways the DNR is working to preserve Minnesota’s hunting heritage.”

More info: mndnr.gov.

-- Minnesota DNR

Minnesota team wins Leech Lake muskie tourney

Matthew Quintano of Harrison Township, Mich., and fishing partner Spencer Berman of St. Clair Shores, Mich., landed big fish honors with this 53-inch muskie during the Professional Musky Tournament Trail Mega Event, held Sept. 13-15 on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn. (Photo/ Professional Musky Tournament Trail)
Matthew Quintano of Harrison Township, Mich., and fishing partner Spencer Berman of St. Clair Shores, Mich., landed big fish honors with this 53-inch muskie during the Professional Musky Tournament Trail Mega Event, held Sept. 13-15 on Leech Lake in Walker, Minn. (Photo/ Professional Musky Tournament Trail)

The team of Dan Burrow of Milaca, Minn., and Chris Whitney of Walker, Minn., boated six muskies up to 49.25 inches in length for 466 points to win the Professional Musky Tournament Trail Mega Event tournament, held Sept. 13-15 on Leech Lake in Walker. More than 100 anglers from across North America registered to fish the tournament and had to catch and register one muskie over 30 inches on one of the first two days to fish the third and final day.

A total of 21 two-person teams registered 34 muskies the first two days to move on to the final day of competition Sunday, Sept. 15.

Burrow and Whitney caught their fish casting Chaos Tackle Medussa muskie lures in natural-colored patterns near weed edges and rocks to win the tournament and a prize package worth more than $25,000.

Placing second, with five muskies up to 51.25 inches and 387 points, was the team of Ryan Marjama of Menahga and Chris Fusco of Inver Grove Heights, Minn.

Rounding out the top five:

  • Third: Jason Hansen and Jake Thomas, New Ulm, Minn., four muskies up to 47 inches, 323 points.

  • Fourth: Mike Dolezal, White Bear Lake, Minn., and Joe Uselman, Middleton, Wis., three muskies up to 48 inches, 262 points.

  • Fifth: Bobby Landreville, Walker, and Alan Landreville, Ham Lake, Minn., three muskies up to 45.5 inches, 186 points.

Big fish honors went to the team of Mathew Quintano, Harrison Township, Mich., and Spencer Berman, St. Clair Shores, Mich., with a 53-inch muskie, their only fish of the tourney, earning them a 12th place finish with 116 points.

  • More info: www.promusky.com or (815) 478-4092.

-- Herald staff report

Watchable Wildlife photos due Oct. 1

The deadline for submitting entries in the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is Tuesday, Oct. 1.

The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants or insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category determined by the number of qualified entries.

The contest guidelines are the same as in previous years, but the process for submitting photos has changed. This year, photographers will provide information and upload images through the Game and Fish Department website only, at gf.nd.gov/photo-contest.

Contestants are limited to no more than five entries. Photos must have been taken in North Dakota.

By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine and on the department’s website.

For more information or questions, contact Patrick Isakson, conservation biologist, at pisakson@nd.gov.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Duck hunters should think safety first

With waterfowl seasons now underway in North Dakota and Minnesota, natural resource departments in both states are reminding hunters to wear a life jacket and put safety first.

Capsizing and falling overboard from small boats are the most common types of fatal boating accidents for hunters. In addition, duck hunters each year are involved in firearms-related incidents that lead to injury or death. The three most common factors are careless handling, not knowing the safe zone of fire and not being sure of what’s beyond the target.

By following the four tenets of safe firearms handling, hunters can avoid most firearm- and hunting-related incidents:

  • Treat each firearm as if it is loaded.

  • Always control the muzzle of the firearm.

  • Be sure of the target and what’s beyond.

  • Keep finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.

“Safe hunts are successful hunts, but they don’t just happen on their own,” said Jon Paurus, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator. “It’s up to hunters to put themselves in safe situations.”

-- Herald staff reports

Did you know?

  • Saturday, Sept. 28 is the 26th annual National Public Lands Day. More than 100,000 volunteers across the U.S. are expected to join in trail maintenance projects, park and river cleanups, tree planting activities and invasive species removal projects, as well as hikes and other fun activities throughout the country.

  • National Hunting and Fishing Day is Saturday, Sept. 28. President Richard Nixon on May 2, 1972, signed the first National Hunting and Fishing Day proclamation, declaring, “I urge all our citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and ensuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.” Since then, Americans have celebrated National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken