Let the seasons begin

Kim Fundingsland/MDN While the state’s sharp-tailed grouse, shown here, and the Hungarian partridge season don’t open until Sept. 9, four of the state’s hunting seasons open this Friday – deer and pronghorn bow, dove and mountain lion.

Autumn officially starts Sept. 22, but for many in North Dakota the fall season really gets underway this Friday. That’s when four hunting seasons begin – deer and pronghorn bow, dove and mountain lion.

Next in line is the sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge opener Sept. 9 and the sandhill crane season Sept. 16. The duck and goose season opens statewide Sept. 30. The extremely popular pheasant and big game seasons will follow.

The deer archery season has been increasing in popularity for several years and is eagerly anticipated by thousands of bowmen, many of whom have been doing significant scouting for several weeks in the hopes of encountering their deer of choice. Those fortunate enough to have a pronghorn tag will be matching wits with one of the state’s most elusive animals. The archery deer season runs through Jan. 7. Archery pronghorn closes Sept. 24.

Mountain lions are not generally targeted by hunters during the early part of September. Lions harvested early in the season are usually taken by hunters in the field seeking other species when they come into contact with a mountain lion. Hunters with tracking dogs normally have their best success when the weather turns colder and there is snow on the ground. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has an annual quota on lions taken. This season’s quota is eight. All lions kills are required to be reported to Game and Fish. When the quota of eight lions is reached the season will be closed.

Doves provide shotgunners with the first hunting season chance to improve their shooting techniques on a darting, elusive and challenging small target. Doves are also excellent eating, are easy for dogs to retrieve and have the most generous bag limit of any of the state’s gamebirds with a daily limit of 15 and a possession limit of 45. The season runs through Nov. 29 but most doves migrate out of the state prior to that date.