Doug Leier, North Dakota Outdoors
Over the past six weeks or so, North Dakota has had a lot going on that relates to hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation that isn’t always tied in directly with fishing on frozen water or hunting the first flocks spring snow geese in frozen fields. Since it’s a legislative year, many North Dakota Game and Fish Department administrators are busy keeping track of all the outdoors-related bills, and providing committee testimony and other information to legislators before votes take place.
It was a hot August Saturday and I was at the pool with the kids. It was even too hot to fish? Ironically the conversation turned from water and fish to big game during the dog days of summer.
Most years there's no shortage of attention grabbers in late fall, with deer season coming and going and the wrap-up of fall sports and harvest and the early stages of the holidays. Such concentration of activity sometimes prevents us from keeping up with an array of hunting and fishing information, and the good news is overshadowed by the not so good. The early start to winter right after opening weekend of deer season was kind of a not-so-good news event. North Dakota resident wildlife could use a mild winter again, and the early cold spell was not a good start.
Every fall, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department advisory board meetings, which typically start the day after deer gun season ends, are a forum to talk deer hunting. This year, with a new proposal for distributing deer licenses on the table for 2015, no doubt that will add to the conversation. Many avid deer hunters have known that distribution of licenses for archery, regular gun and muzzleloader has been discussed for years.
The pond froze over early this year, at least two weeks early and in most years it would still be a month before ice comes to the small body of water that I see most days. Although the ice isn't safe yet, if the weather stays like it has been the past few days, we'll be walking on the ice within a week. This time of year, safety is the No. 1 consideration.
Hunting conversations sometimes have a number of words that are owned and defined by the hunter and the context in which they are used. For instance, a "nice deer" or a "big buck" may not even be on the same page in the same conversation between any number of hunters.
Headline: State's history of wildlife is diverse As North Dakota gives pause to acknowledge the 125th anniversary of statehood, much will be made of its history, and thoughts of how the state will age into the future. And some of that history will revolve around wildlife and the outdoors, from the fur trade that attracted early explorers, to decimation of the vast prairie bison herds, through over-use of local game to provide food for settler families, and finally restoration of many game species through scientific wildlife management that is still ongoing today. It's a nice opportunity as
My job as an outreach biologist is everything from working with local media and civic and school groups, to checking on possible fish kills, and even surveillance of moose or other critters in places we’d rather not have them. I enjoy the variety and never pursued a career in natural resources with a goal of specialization, whether it was enforcement, fisheries, wildlife, disease or habitat.
Throughout the fall season, and honestly in about any discussion on the future of hunting, habitat and wildlife populations, you’ll read, see and hear discussion on the loss of habitat. Thankfully for now in North Dakota, only a small part of that is linked to aquatic nuisance species and the role they can play in degrading otherwise ideal waterfowl habitat.
With fall hunting seasons rolling out almost every week now since Labor Day weekend, I field, hear and read many discussions on rules, regulations, poaching and “what if” scenarios. Sometimes they’re as simple as what to do or who to call if you witness something suspicious, like someone shooting at ducks during what might be before or after legal hours. The simple answer is, if you’re in doubt, call and you’ll find out if the act truly was breaking the law, or in the case of shooting hours realizing that sunrise and sunset times change dramatically from east to west across North Dakota.