Cold & Snow Bring End to EHD Threat

By Nick Simonson Throughout late summer and early fall, the North Dakota Game & Fish Department (NDG&F) had received reports of dead and sick deer on the landscape throughout southwestern North Dakota.  As September progressed into October, the reports remained steady and expanded throughout the western half of the state. Charlie Bahnson, NDG&F Veterinarian, confirmed…

Our Outdoors: Vote Like Your Hunting & Fishing Depends on It

By Nick Simonson Some hunting seasons bring snow, cold, winds and inhospitable conditions which we as hunters prepare for in order to pursue an oft-anticipated portion of our year, and in the end find success in the field through our efforts.  These efforts may start way back in spring or summer, getting into shape through…

RAP Aids Wardens in Protecting Wildlife

 By Doug Leier Most hunters, and nonhunters for that matter, are shocked, surprised and maybe a little bewildered, when they learn that just 35 game wardens safeguard North Dakota’s vast hunting and fishing resources across the state.    Certainly, no one has led me to believe those warden numbers are too high. Just think of…

The Fine Points of Mentoring

By John Bradley, NDWF Executive Director My dad recently told me a story about his little brother who, on his first gun season in Southern Minnesota, was dropped off in a tree grove before sunrise, given a couple slugs for his shotgun, and was strictly told to sit here and wait until someone came to…

EHD Impact Spurs G&F to Offer Refunds to Western ND Whitetail Hunters

NDG&F Press Release Based on continuing reports of white-tailed deer mortality in western North Dakota caused by epizootic hemorrhagic disease, the state Game and Fish Department is allowing hunters with whitetail licenses in units 3D1, 3D2, 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F the option of turning those licenses in for…

Our Outdoors: Musts for Gusts

By Nick Simonson Beyond the usual celebration of dog and bird and of field boots and swinging shotguns, this year’s pheasant opener was highlighted by another frequent autumn occurrence in the upper Midwest: gusty conditions.  In the gales that topped forty miles per hour on one stretch of my first weekend walks, the pines around…

Seeing Double: A C&R Story

By Nick Simonson For most anglers, a walleye of 30 inches or better is the fish of a lifetime.  That magic number signals a true trophy and is often the threshold at which many would consider zipping back to the launch and off to the taxidermist to get the fish mounted.  However, for Jamie Risovi,…

A Safety Top 10

By Doug Leier What are the most important reminders as fall hunting seasons are in full stride? Knowing the limits? Having the right license? Taking a kid hunting? These are all good, but the list below should occupy the top spot: 1. Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm. 2. Control…

Upward Trends

By Nick Simonson Autumn is always a time of optimism for many hunters as opportunities for excitement abound over the top of each rise and in the shady depths of every creek bottom.  Putting the approach of winter aside, fall provides so much in the way of hopefulness in the pursuit of game that it…

Our Outdoors: FOMO

By Nick Simonson FOMO is the acronym for the “fear of missing out.”  The term was coined in the mid-2000s as shorthand for a growing form of social anxiety about not being in on the latest happenings and events, particularly as online displays of all the fun other people were having increased through channels such…

Picture Perfect

By Doug Leier  I was paging through old photographs at Mom and Dad’s earlier this fall, looking for a 1980s picture of my Dad, his friend, Robert, and myself after a pheasant hunt in LaMoure County. We each held and proudly displayed one trophy rooster. It was from 1983 when you had 24 or so…

Our Outdoors: The Shed

By Nick Simonson My four-year-old son calls it an “adventure.”  Which, being of much slighter stature, and not as familiar with the rise and fall of the hillsides in the small drainage just outside of our housing development, the thirty-minute hike we take from time-to-time probably is a grand trek when perceived from his vantage…

An Autumn Preview

By Doug Leier While 2020 has been an unusual year, to say the least, there is some good news in the outdoors as many of North Dakota’s bird and big game populations are on the rise. PHEASANTS The spring population index for ring-necked pheasants in North Dakota was up 15% from 2019. In the primary…

Youth Seasons Provide Launchpad for Mentoring

By Nick Simonson As the leaves turn their yellow, gold, red and brown, another change in color signals the shift toward fall.  In the morning, along any given gravel road, should the conditions be just right and a recently-harvested field be available in pheasant country, it’s easy to see the transition in the bird population…

Duck Numbers Up for Opener

By Nick Simonson A wet fall of 2019 and abundant moisture which carried over into the start of 2020 primed the pump for a successful breeding season for waterfowl in North Dakota’s prairie pothole region.  With good recruitment comes increased numbers of ducks for hunters headed out to stake out their favorite slough as the…

Our Outdoors: Scent Checked

By Nick Simonson In the headlights, the yellowing leaves of fall in the ash tree alongside the approach on the gravel country road were pre-dawn reminders of the ongoing seasonal shift.  The cool air that curled into the truck as I opened the door was the second, and the third was the ritualistic walk around…

EHD Likely Cause of SW ND Deer Deaths

By Nick Simonson Reports throughout southwestern North Dakota of dead and dying whitetail deer discovered on the landscape – but particularly related to drainages and low water areas – are likely the result of an increase in a viral infection particular to the animals.  Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) is a virus carried by biting midges,…

The Ethical Hunter

By John Bradley, NDWF Executive Director Ethics refers to the study of how to determine the right or moral way to act when faced with everyday human predicaments. Hunting ethics are a set of moral standards that help us, as hunters, to make the right choice when we out on a hunt. I usually explain…

Our Outdoors: The Shot Not Taken

By Nick Simonson The eastern bank of clouds meant that my friends on the far side of the state likely would not see much hunting action as my dog and I traversed the gravel roads south and west of town away from the shadow of the frontal boundary.  The sun slowly climbed over the gray…

Meadowlark Decline Causes Concern

By Doug Leier Hunters often keep their eyes and ears open this time of year for reports on the fall flight forecast of ducks from North Dakota (up 9% from 2019) and late summer pheasant brood counts (better than last year).    Lost in this glimpse of what the 2020 fall hunting seasons might hold is…

Pheasant Numbers Jump in ND

By Nick Simonson With the completion of summer roadside surveys by the North Dakota Game & Fish Department, there’s plenty of good news for much of the state when it comes to upland game bird populations, with notable rebounds of pheasants in the western half of the state driving an overall increase in their numbers. …

Our Outdoors: They’re Laughing With You

By Nick Simonson The day after I tagged my deer last season was warm but windy and there was no snow on the ground.  It was more like a September scene than one from November.  With temperatures in the mid-50s and gusty breezes at 25 miles per hour, I watched the hillside grasses bend as…

Ruffing It

By Nick Simonson With ruffed grouse numbers still near their cyclical high this fall, opportunities to chase the thundering wing beats of this popular game bird abound from the aspen stands of northeastern Minnesota to the forests of the Rainy River drainage, to the Turtle Mountains and Pembina Gorge areas of northern North Dakota.  If…

Our Outdoors: Cast & Blast

By Nick Simonson As a youngster, I was fond of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.  More often than not, I’d cheat and just read each page and then figure my way back through the story to slay the dragon, escape from the alien prison camp, or ultimately get the best result possible in its pages….

Field Care for Velvet Antlers

By Nick Simonson South Dakota and North Dakota have some of the nation’s earliest-opening archery deer seasons.  With the Rushmore State’s bow opener on Sept. 1 and the Peace Garden State’s season kicking off at noon on Sept. 4, hunters across the northern great plains have the very unique opportunity of harvesting a whitetail or…

Small Grains for Small Birds

By Nick Simonson Dove hunting season is truly the initial sign of fall.  Federally set to start on the first of September this year, as it has most every year in the past, the chance to take mourning doves begins in an autumn month and kicks off as the calendar page turns.  Well ahead of…

Our Outdoors: In Good Standing

I’ve never been fond of heights.  Despite being marketed (and statistically confirmed) as the safest way to travel, airplanes have always made me uneasy.  Even the top of the Ferris wheel in the Fargo Scheels makes my stomach drop a little bit when my son and I reach the apex on the slow-moving trip to…

A Dedication to Fisheries Development

By Doug Leier  I grew up listening to Casey Kasem’s Weekly Top 40 music countdown. It was a different era where musical success wasn’t measured by downloads and clicks. Even to this day I can’t say I really understood how his Top 40 was compiled, but I was hip to the long-distance dedications.    Listeners (maybe thousands?) would write the show…

ND Pheasant Broods Up at Survey Midpoint

By Nick Simonson With summer conditions trending fair, and a shot of moisture at the season’s midpoint to help stretches of the state rebound from a minor drought early on, things are setting up well over most of North Dakota for pheasant recruitment.  Early indications from roadside reports conducted by the North Dakota Game &…

Meat in the Heat

By John Bradley Growing up hunting in Minnesota with my family, we’d avoid bowhunting for deer in September in fear of the occasional 80-degree day that could spoil meat quickly. It wasn’t until I moved out west that I started hunting the early season, when deer are often more predictable. During early season hunts like…