Our Outdoors: What I’d Hoped For

By Nick Simonson I can still hear the whisper from my left and sense Gene leaning in as the deer emerged in the first tree line below our position on the top of the hillside along the Sheyenne River valley one temperate November evening in 2008.  It’s a moment I relive each time I’m in…

Advancements in Walleye Stocking

By Doug Leier I’ll interrupt the usual “migration” of hunting information this time of year with an interesting update on the future of fishing in North Dakota where fisheries biologists continue to mix the standard tried and true fish stocking with innovation and experimentation.    North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries biologists have for years stocked millions…

Leaving Lead Behind

By John Bradley Hunters and anglers are the primary funders of wildlife conservation through license fees and excise taxes on equipment like fishing tackle, guns, and ammunition.  These taxes, resulting from the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts, were advocated by hunters and anglers to restore game and fish properties across the country.  Take a moment to…

Our Outdoors: The Weight and the Wait

By Nick Simonson With the anchor-like weight of a deer tag becoming more and more tangible in the right leg pocket of my camouflage hunting pants and that heft spurring much of my recent outdoor activity, I catch myself thinking ahead, beyond the quiet morning sits and windy sneaks through the countryside as I wait…

Care & Cooking of Wild Game

By Doug Leier I grew up in an era when wild game cooking involved a can of cream of mushroom soup and a roaster. The wild game – grouse, duck, partridge or a rare pheasant – was simmering beneath the greyish gravy base. It was the way Mom did it, the way Grandma did it…

Talking Tails

By Nick Simonson When it comes to trophies following a successful hunt, most people’s minds turn to the antlers on the buck they just shot, or the tenderloins in the doe they just tagged; but there’s one part of a whitetail deer that stands out to those hunters who also create their own lures in…

The Deal with Deer Units

By Nick Simonson In North Dakota, the unit in which a sportsman hunts deer is almost analogous to one’s hometown in the grand sense of things, and particularly in November for the state’s firearms deer season.  The response of “4B” or “2F2” to the question of “where’d you draw your tag” conjures up rugged hillsides…

Our Outdoors: Slow Morning

By Nick Simonson Those days when overcast conditions settle in well before dawn provide a unique time to be outdoors, particularly during deer season.  The lack of the pinks and oranges streaking overhead from the eastern horizon and lighting up the sky early makes the anticipation of first legal light even more excruciating, despite the…

Modified CWD Watch Continues in ND

By Doug Leier North Dakota had its first confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in deer detected in 2009.   Since then, CWD has become a familiar term to most North Dakota deer hunters. Dr. Charlie Bahnson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife veterinarian explains, “We first started finding deer with CWD in Grant and Sioux counties, hunting…

Deer Hunting Q&A, Part 2

By Doug Leier While some hunters have already notched their 2020 archery tag the regular deer gun  season runs from Friday November 6 at noon through  Nov. 22. Here’s a few more answers to questions and situations hunters may find useful. Can I transport someone else’s deer? Yes, but you will need a transportation permit…

Deer Hunter’s Checklist

By Nick Simonson With the rapid approach of the deer firearms season opener, more hunters are gearing up for another November afield.  Whether in pursuit of that monster buck or a doe to provide enough sausage to last the winter, being prepared for the hunt and checking off those things needed to make it safe…

On the Topic of Smell

By Nick Simonson While recently waxing philosophical about the power of my dog’s nose, I got to wondering, and then worrying, about another well-developed sense of smell in the outdoors.  As I drew to the end on my column which detailed how victory often comes in the form of trusting the nose of my dog…

Deer Season Q&A

By Doug Leier  The 2020 North Dakota deer season opens Nov. 6 at 12 noon Central time and runs through Sunday Nov. 22. Legal shooting hours after opening day are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset each day.  Here’s a few of the more common questions that seem to come up each…

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…

ND PF Eyes Habitat Rebound to go with Bird Numbers

By Nick Simonson Despite the pandemic-related headwinds which hindered fundraising efforts and banquet activities for Pheasants Forever (PF) chapters across North Dakota this spring, State Coordinator Rachel Bush sees a lot of great developments for the organization in the region, and is eyeing up a successful return to the field buoyed by better bird numbers…

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…