FROM THE DAKOTAS
New license needed
If you want to fish starting April 1, you need to get that new 2018-19 license.
By Doug Leier
North Dakota Outdoors
North Dakota Game and Fish
One advantage for North Dakota anglers is our fishing season for gamefish is open year-round.
That said though, there is a beginning and end to the fishing license period, and that occurs April 1, as it does for hunting and trapping licenses as well. So, if you want to fish starting April 1, you need to get that new 2018-19 license.
Another benchmark for April 1 this year is that a new fishing proclamation goes into effect. North Dakota’s fishing regulations cover a two-year period, so this year’s changes apply through March 31, 2020.
With that in mind, here’s a few highlights from this year’s changes. You can find full details of the 2018-20 North Dakota Fishing Guide available at Game and Fish offices and license vendors throughout the state, as well as online at the department website, gf.nd.gov.
· The season for taking of nongame fish with a bow will now be open year-round.
· The transportation of live white suckers, other than within Richland, Cass, Traill, Grand Forks, Walsh and Pembina counties, is now illegal.
· The beginning of the darkhouse spearfishing season changes from December 1 to whenever ice-up occurs. When ice-up occurs in North Dakota is unpredictable. However, whenever it does occur, ice conditions continue to improve with no significant melting, thus safety concerns such as opening large holes in the ice are reduced. This is not true in the spring, when warm weather can create unsafe conditions … therefore the closing date of March 15 will remain in place.
· Paddlefish snagging days will begin at 7 a.m. (was 8 a.m.) and close at 7 p.m. (was 9 p.m.). Also, the season length will be shortened to 21 days (May 1 – May 21). These changes are an effort to both extend the paddlefish season to more than a few days, and to improve safety conditions due to snagger congestion at the Confluence area.
· The statewide daily and possession limit for bluegill is reduced to 10/20 respectively (was 20/40). The number of quality bluegill fisheries in North Dakota is limited. Reducing the harvest somewhat, should help maintain the size of bluegill in some lakes. Bluegill populations are more in line with crappie where populations can be managed over a longer time, versus yellow perch populations which are tied closely to weather patterns and fluctuations in water levels.
· Walleye length restrictions are eliminated on North and South Golden, Alkali (Sargent Co.), Lueck and West Moran lakes, and Tosse Slough. While minimum length restrictions for these lakes have been in place for a number of years, all biological data collected from angler use and population surveys indicates the restrictions have not yielded positive results. Therefore, these regulations are no longer necessary.
Fishing licenses for the 2018-19 season can be purchased online at the state Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, or at license vendors that are linked to the department’s online licensing system.
Licenses may also be purchased by calling the department’s instant licensing telephone number at 800-406-6409. A service charge is added for this option.
Leier is a biologist with the Game and Fish Department.
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2017 Deer Season Summarized
A total of 49,407 North Dakota deer hunters took approximately 30,100 deer during the 2017 deer gun hunting season, according to a post-season survey conducted by the state Game and Fish Department.
Game and Fish made available 54,500 deer gun licenses last year. Overall hunter success was 61 percent, with each hunter spending an average of 4.4 days in the field.
Hunter success for antlered white-tailed deer was 66 percent, and antlerless whitetail was 61 percent.
Mule deer buck success was 83 percent, and antlerless mule deer was 86 percent.
Hunters with any-antlered or any-antlerless licenses generally harvest white-tailed deer, as these licenses are predominantly in units with mostly whitetails. Buck hunters had a success rate of 63 percent, while doe hunters had a success rate of 60 percent.
Game and Fish issued 13,402 gratis licenses in 2017, and 11,503 hunters harvested 6,059 deer, for a success rate of 53 percent.
A total of 1,022 muzzleloader licenses were issued in 2017, and 933 hunters harvested 354 white-tailed deer (196 antlered, 158 antlerless). Hunter success was 38 percent.
A record 28,481 archery licenses (26,114 resident, 2,367 nonresident) were issued in 2017. In total, 23,003 bow hunters harvested 8,900 deer (7,854 whitetails, 1,046 mule deer), for a success rate of 39 percent.
The department is in the process of determining recommendations for licenses in 2018. The proclamation will be sent to the governor's office for approval in late April.
In addition to harvest rates and winter aerial surveys, the department monitors a number of other population indices to determine license numbers, including depredation reports, hunter observations, input at advisory board meetings, and comments from the public, landowners and department field staff.
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Spring Light Goose Conservation Order
North Dakota’s spring light goose conservation order opened Feb. 17 and continues through May 13.
For more information on regulations refer to the 2018 Spring Light Goose Hunting Regulations and the 2017 North Dakota Waterfowl Hunting Guide.
Residents must have a valid current season 2017-18 (valid through March 31) or 2018-19 (required April 1) combination license; or a small game, and general game and habitat license. The 2018-19 license is available for purchase beginning March 15.
Nonresidents need a 2018 spring light goose conservation order license. The cost is $50 and is valid statewide. Nonresidents who hunt in the spring remain eligible to buy a fall season license. The spring license does not count against the 14-day fall waterfowl hunting season regulation.
In addition, nonresident youth under age 16 can purchase a license at the resident fee if their state has youth reciprocity licensing with North Dakota.
A federal duck stamp is not required for either residents or nonresidents.
Resident and nonresident licenses are available online at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov, by calling 800-406-6409, and at license vendors.
Hunters must register annually with the Harvest Information Program prior to hunting in each state. The HIP number can be obtained online, or by calling 888-634-4798. The HIP number obtained for North Dakota’s spring conservation order is also valid for North Dakota’s fall hunting season.
The Game and Fish Department will provide hunters with migration updates once geese have entered the state. Hunters can access the department’s website, or call 701-328-3697, to receive generalized locations of bird sightings in North Dakota until the season ends or geese have left the state. Migration reports will be updated periodically during the week.
The spring conservation order is only open to light geese – snows, blues, and Ross’s. Species identification is important because white-fronted and Canada geese travel with light geese. The conservation order is closed to whitefronts, Canada geese, swans and all other migratory birds.
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Tentative 2018 Season Opening Dates
To help North Dakota hunters prepare for hunting seasons in 2018, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department annually provides its best estimate for opening dates for the coming year.
Dates become official when approved by governor’s proclamation. Tentative opening dates for 2018.
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