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…

Our Outdoors: A Time Out of Place

By Nick Simonson Even in the dim start of the day which hinted back to how many seasons in the area had begun, with low clouds hanging over the rock-and-cedar covered edges of the small stream on Lake Superior’s north shore, it was evidently summer.  The humidity stuck to everything like the rust-colored algae on…

WMAs Provide Vital Access

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept When you consider North Dakota’s storied hunting heritage and the reality that about 93% of the land in the state is privately owned, it’s no wonder landowner-hunter relations have long been a vital component of our hunting legacy.   Nevertheless, the Game and Fish Department’s owned or managed wildlife management areas also play an important role in not only providing…

PLOTS Tops 800,000 Acres for 2020

By Nick Simonson   The North Dakota Game & Fish Department’s (NDG&F) Private Land Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program has regained an important benchmark in its efforts to open access to high-quality habitat for hunters each fall, as this year, according to Kevin Kading, NDG&F Private Lands Section Leader, the program has topped 800,000 acres…

High Goose Numbers Meet Aug. 15 Start of Management Take

By Nick Simonson   Where once Canada geese were a rarity in North Dakota, populations now continue to climb, leading to liberalized bag limits and more opportunities for hunters to start after these popular waterfowl.  With the August Management Take/Early September Season kicking off on Sat. Aug. 15, hunters will have an even greater chance…

Our Outdoors: Make it a Mentorship

By Nick Simonson   The recruitment, retainment and reactivation (R3) efforts underway across the hunting and fishing world are notable, monumental and ultimately important to the future of the outdoors and conservation.  States across the map have created special youth hunting weekends ahead of the general openers and agencies sponsor dedicated programs for facilitating time…

Canada Goose Management Season Enters Third Decade

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. August is no longer just about winding down the fishing season and starting the planning and preparation for upcoming hunting seasons. While North Dakota has long had a crow season that got its start in mid-August, it wasn’t until changes several years ago put the early Canada goose opener in…

Daily Edge for Sat. 8/8 – Super Start

CALM & COOKING.  Highs will reach the upper 80s today and it’ll be a calm one as light and variable breezes settle in.  The heat is a factor around the region and we check in with changes and announcements from various agencies around the Roughrider State in today’s Outdoors Roundup. Featured Photo:  WHAT’S THAT SMELL? …

Daily Edge for Fri. 8/7 – Sizzle

HIGH THERE.  The week’s hottest temperatures arrive today before moderating into the mid-80s this weekend.  Despite the heat, we see some improvements in the drought monitor, check in on a popular winter pursuit, and get a tackle tip on adding split rings for better cranking in today’s Outdoors Roundup. Featured Photo:  GROWING.  A young 3×3…

Our Outdoors: Summer Slabs

By Nick Simonson   Whether tucked in along a late summer weedline, pinned up against a steep break along a shoreline channel edge, or suspended off a pile of debris behind a bridge piling picking off the bits of food that flow by, many of my late summer angling adventures have been defined by schools…

Daily Edge for Thu. 8/6 – Heating Up Again

UPSWING.  Temperatures move in a more late-summer direction, as things heat up today and tomorrow. We’ve got more on the upcoming early Canada goose season, some deer cam tips and a look at this warm surge in today’s Outdoors Roundup. Featured Photo:  A Canada goose lounges in calm summer water.  Simonson Photo.   WEATHER (Bismarck…

Thousands of Antlerless Deer Tags Remain

NDG&F Release More than 3,700 antlerless deer licenses are still available in 12 units for North Dakota’s 2020 deer gun season. These licenses will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Aug. 11 at 8 a.m. Central Time. Residents and nonresidents who have not already received a lottery or landowner license are eligible to apply by…

Help & High Waters

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Outreach Biologist Growing up in North Dakota in the 1980s, the number of fishing waters dotting the landscape was less than half of the 400-plus waters today. The quality of our fisheries, while fewer than some other states, is certainly worth bragging about. I remind anglers when the rod tip is…

Daily Edge for Wed. 8/5 – A Look Ahead

HARD CORE HUNTING.  We’ve got the updates to get you set for fall from the state’s premier deer hunting publication to a last call for pronghorn applications, to a law that guarantees funding for the future.  That’s all part of our Outdoors Roundup today. Featured Photo:  LOOKING OUT. A buck in velvet pauses in front…

Daily Edge for Tue. 8/4 – Hey Big Shooter

TAKE A SHOT.  There are a number of great upcoming shooting sports events for everyone across the state to get their aim sharpened and their shot it shape.  We cover them in today’s Outdoors Roundup and take a look at conditions as our cooler start to August continues. Featured Photo:  HAVING A BLAST.  Shooters take…

Daily Edge for Mon. 8/3 – Start It Up

ON REPEAT.  We again climb toward a super-warm weekend, with temps generally increasing throughout the week, and a shot at 100 likely on Friday.  In the meantime we’ve got the news you can use to get set for fall in today’s Outdoors Rounup. Featured Photo:  Under the Bridge.  Boats cruise along the Missouri River between…

Daily Edge for Sat. 8/1 – New Month, New Feel

COOL DOWN.  Uncharacteristically for August, temperatures dip for the weekend as northern breezes take things under 80 for the first time in quite a while.  We’ve got insight into North Dakota’s pronghorn populations, a shift in drought conditions in the state and tips for topwater fishing bass in today’s Outdoors Roundup. Featured Photo:  WHAT’S THAT? …

Our Outdoors: A Win When We Needed It

By Nick Simonson   The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, a bill which would provide permanent funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) through royalties generated by offshore drilling in federal waters around the United States, represents a bright, optimistic light in a time of challenge and a future full of…

Prioritize Sobriety & Safety While Boating

By Doug Leier, NDG&F Dept. I’ll never tire from stressing the importance of outdoor safety because hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors is beneficial in a variety of ways. Outdoor recreation brings people – old friends, new acquaintances, family – together. If you simply need time away from the stress at work or need to…