Elk, moose, sheep licenses availableThe 2009 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation has been finalized, and for the second consecutive year changes to North Dakota’s elk hunting season highlight the special big game seasons.
The 2009 moose, elk and bighorn sheep proclamation has been finalized, and for the second consecutive year changes to North Dakota’s elk hunting season highlight the special big game seasons.
A total of 561 elk licenses are available to hunters this fall, the same as in 2008.
The elk hunting season in Unit E2 will open in early October and continue through December. Randy Kreil, wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said this season extension came at the request of area landowners in an effort to increase the potential for hunter success.
Units E3 and E4 will each have a September and October any-elk season. There is also an extended season for all any-elk license holders in November and December.
Units E3 and E4 will also have a season for antlerless elk beginning in September and continuing through December. “This is a change from 2008 when there were September and October seasons for antlerless elk,” Kreil said. “We eliminated the October season due to poor hunter success — less than 15 percent. Now, antlerless license holders will have one long season.”
E3 and E4 lottery license holders must hunt in their unit for the first three days of the season. After the first three days, lottery license holders may hunt either E3 or E4. Landowner preference license holders may only hunt in their unit.
Elk hunters in Units E3 and E4 are required to provide hunter harvest information no later than Feb. 1, 2010. Failure to do so will result in loss of eligibility for all lottery licenses in 2010. “Timely harvest informa-tion is needed to make management decisions for the upcoming elk seasons,” Kreil said.
Unit E5, which includes the remainder of the state not included in Units E1-E4, has been expanded to in-clude the Turtle Mountains (described as deer Unit 1). E5 is open to all lottery license holders. Hunters may only take the type of elk designated on their license. Five elk were taken by hunters in Unit E5 last season.
A total of 148 moose licenses are available in 2009, an increase of six from last year. Moose hunting Unit M11 was created in northwestern North Dakota in response to expanding moose populations in the area. Kreil said the number of licenses in several moose hunting units was adjusted slightly depending on the population trend in the area. Unit M1C will remain closed due to an extremely low moose population in the northeastern portion of the state.
The number of bighorn sheep licenses has been reduced by one due to winter mortality in the northern badlands. Five bighorn sheep licenses are available in three units — one license in Units B1 and B3, two in Unit B4, and one license auctioned through the Minnesota-Wisconsin Chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep. Bighorn sheep Unit B2 is closed for the 2009 season due to a decrease in the number of mature rams.
During the 2008 special big game seasons, harvest statistics show overall hunter success was 100 percent for bighorn sheep, 87 percent for moose and 39 percent for elk.
Three bighorn sheep units were open in 2008. One license was issued in Units B1 and B3, and three li-censes were issued in Unit B4. One additional auction license holder was able to hunt any open area. All six hunters tagged adult rams.
The department issued 142 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 118 hunters were successful, harvesting 62 bulls and 56 cows/calves.