Part of the Ritual

By Nick Simonson In wrapping up a ruffed grouse trip in Northeastern Minnesota, I walked an old familiar trail in the woods north of Virginia. Known more to me for the scenery and less for the number of birds I had seen in the past, the trek always produced at least one opportunity, particularly in…

Safeguards in Place to Slow CWD Spread

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. The concern over chronic wasting disease, a fatal disease of the nervous system of deer and elk, often draws comparisons to the threat of introduction of zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species. While the disease and the mussels affect different parts of the natural world, one of the primary…

Five Bighorn Tags Issued

NDG&F Press Release The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is allocating five bighorn sheep licenses for the 2017 hunting season, three fewer than 2016. Two licenses are available in Unit B3 and two in B4. Also, one license, as authorized under North Dakota Century Code, was auctioned in spring by the Midwest Chapter of…

Stocking Just Part of Successful Fisheries

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. As a prairie kid in the 1980s, the image of a Game and Fish distribution truck backing up to a favorite small lake or reservoir and stocking fingerlings spawned day dreams of fishing memories to come. And I remember the local chatter revolving around what kind of fish and how…

Fall Brings Chance at Big Carry-Over Trout in ND

By Nick Simonson While hunting seasons get underway this month in North Dakota and the chill of autumn makes its presence felt, the cooling air of September also brings with it a unique and often overlooked opportunity to catch sizeable trout on the rise in certain waters of the state which were stocked earlier in…

PLOTS Guide Now Available

NDG&F Dept. Press Release The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen Guide for 2017 is now available online at the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, PLOTS guides are available at most vendors throughout the state. The guide will feature about 737,000 PLOTS acres. Because the guide is printed in mid-August,…

Youth Outdoors Festival is Aug. 31 in Minot

NDG&F Press Release The North Dakota Game and Fish Department, local wildlife clubs and other sponsors will usher youngsters into fall during the annual Youth Outdoor Festival in Minot. The event is Thursday, Aug. 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Game and Fish Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park on the grounds of the…

The Quest for Velvet

By Nick Simonson With the turn of the calendar into September, hunters wake from their summer dreams of those giant bucks in the pictures on their trail cameras appearing in front of their stand and prepare to make those visions a reality. For many, the early season brings with it the challenge and the chance…

Dove Season Opens Sept. 1

NDG&F Press Release North Dakota’s dove season opens statewide Sept. 1, and hunters are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting. The daily limit is 15 and possession limit is 45. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. The season is open through Nov. 29. All dove hunters must possess a…

Deer Archery Season Opens Sept. 1

NDG&F Press Release North Dakota’s deer archery season opens Friday, Sept. 1 at noon, and bowhunters are reminded that deer bow licenses and accompanying tags are only available through electronic purchase. Bowhunters can buy a license online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov; by calling 800-406-6409; or at vendors linked to the Game and Fish Department’s…

Salmon Season Expected to be Excellent

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. Count me among the thousands of North Dakota anglers who enjoy knowing that if we want to experience the thrill of catching a hard-fighting chinook salmon, we can do it without leaving the state. If that experience is on your “bucket list” as it is on mine, the next several…

Waterfowlers Reminded to Get HIP, Stamp

NDG&F Press Release Harvest Information Program registration for all migratory game bird hunters, regardless of age, and a federal duck stamp for waterfowl hunters age 16 and older, are required beginning Sept. 1. Migratory game birds include ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, cranes, snipe, doves and woodcock. Waterfowl includes ducks, geese, swans, mergansers and coots. Hunters…

Fit for Fall, Part 2 – Big Game, Bigger Prep

By Nick Simonson As fall progresses, hunters’ eyes will shift west over the plains and into the badlands of both North and South Dakota for a shot at a monster mule deer, or for some, a trip of a lifetime hunting elk in rugged, mountainous places like Montana or Colorado.  With the change in topography…

ND Businessman Helps Hunters Find Their TRAX

By Nick Simonson Drawing on nearly two decades of technology experience and a love of the outdoors, Korey Kirschenmann, owner of Kirsch’s Outdoor Products in Fargo, has created a tool for hunters, anglers and outdoors enthusiasts which keeps them on the right track to enjoying their favorite pastimes. However, it wasn’t the commercial viability of…

Fit for Fall, Part 1 – Train to Your Game

By Nick Simonson Upland hunting provides a good level of challenge for hunters who are not used to trekking over uneven ground and putting in miles after their favorite pursuits.  Whether it’s pheasants, sharptails or partridge, covering distance and working through various habitat types in North Dakota presents a physical challenge each fall which may…

G&F History

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. My years of experience and work as a biologist and former game warden usually give me a head start when I get questions on a variety of topics, but when I don’t know the answer, my first stop is the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov. Recently…

Rise of the Mechanicals

By Nick Simonson With North Dakota’s archery season fast approaching, many hunters are preparing their bows and related equipment for the Sept. 1 opener.  While most hunters have a set of gear they’re happy with – from their bow and quiver to their sight and stabilizer – one variable that is always on the minds…

Hot Bite Continues as Sakakawea Drawdown Begins

By Nick Simonson Following a heavier than normal snowpack this winter in the mountains which feed the Missouri River system, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) will begin a late-summer drawdown of Lake Sakakawea, which will drop the elevation of the reservoir from a forecasted height of 1,846.3 feet at the end of July…

Bluegill Opportunities Expand in ND

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. Ask an angler with his friends or co-workers within earshot what his three favorite North Dakota fishing targets and you’ll likely hear walleye, walleye and walleye. But bluegill? Likely not in the first casts of most campfire conversations. But maybe they should be. “I think it’s safe to say, in terms…

N.D. Pronghorn Season Set, Lottery Opens Jul. 20

NDG&F Press Release North Dakota’s 2017 pronghorn hunting season is set, with 410 licenses available in five open units. Bruce Stillings, big game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department, said the recently completed aerial survey indicated the pronghorn population is down 14 percent from last year. “Numbers were a bit disappointing, but…

Fur Harvester Classes Scheduled

NDG&F Press Release The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring two fur harvester education classes for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers. Courses in Bismarck and Jamestown are set for Aug. 22, 24 and 26. Courses are free and take 16 hours to complete over a three-day period. Students will learn…

Record Number of Walleyes Stocked in N.D.

NDG&F Press Release North Dakota Game and Fish Department fisheries personnel are wrapping up a record year for stocking of walleye fingerlings in more than 130 waters across the state. Jerry Weigel, fisheries production and development supervisor, said more than 12 million fingerlings were stocked, besting the previous high by more than 1 million fish….

Summer Roundup

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. Down time doesn’t exist for hunting, fishing and outdoors news and notes, so this week I’ll feature some important news and reminders from the last month or so. Waterfowl hunters should note the 70th annual North Dakota Game and Fish Department spring breeding duck survey conducted in May showed an…

Advancements Aid C&R Fishing

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. I’ve always preferred simple tackle for fishing – bobbers, jigs, spoons and hooks – though I’m not categorically against using the latest legal tools and technology. I call it low impact angling. Some call it bobbers and worms. Whatever you declare, it’s more about enjoying fish and less about trophy…

Nearly Ideal Spring for ND Geese

By Nick Simonson On the heels of the recent North Dakota Game & Fish (NDG&F) Breeding Duck Survey, agents report an almost perfect breeding season for Canada Geese in the state, and hunters once again look forward to a successful early Canada goose hunting season opening in mid-August. “Canada goose populations look like they’re doing…

Share The Water This Summer

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. No matter where in North Dakota you call home, finding a place to wet a line or relax on a boating excursion is not too far away. It’s kind of an interesting thought, as the state has more waters than ever to use for all recreation, and we also have more…

The Best Time to Fish

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. I’m the first to admit I’m not a professional angler. When it comes to tips and tactics on how to land a lunker walleye or fill a stringer in short order, I’ve got more questions than answers. At times, I casually refer to myself as the human cold front because…

Wildlife Photo Contest Open

NDG&F Press Release The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest is now open, and the deadline for submissions is Oct. 2. The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph will be chosen, with the number of place winners in each category…

USA Clay Target Eyes International Expansion, National Tournament

By Nick Simonson The USA High School Clay Target League (USA Clay Target), parent organization of the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League and affiliated leagues in 24 states, is looking to expand internationally in the coming seasons, and it’s not just to nearby Canadian provinces either. “We may become international in scope…

Summer Water Safety Starts with Life Jackets

NDG&F Press Release Failure to wear a personal flotation device is the main reason people lose their lives in water recreation accidents. North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats of less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft…