BOW waterfowl space available
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is still accepting registrations for Becoming an Outdoors-woman workshops in 2012.
Waterfowl hunting is scheduled Oct. 6-7 in Bismarck. Participants are instructed in firearm and waterfowl safety, shotgun shooting, waterfowl identification, water/field decoys and gear, and techniques for decoying and calling waterfowl. A mentored hunt is featured Oct. 7. Participants must possess a hunter education certificate, current hunting licenses and provide hunting clothing, boots or waders. Workshop fees of $20 include instruction, program materials and use of equipment. No lodging is provided.
A bowhunting workshop for women with no or minimal archery experience is set for Oct. 24-28 at Lake Metigoshe State Park. Participants will achieve the necessary education, experience and confidence to archery hunt alone. Participants must have previously taken the beginning archery course or have demonstrated a minimum level of proficiency, and must provide their own archery equipment. Workshop fees of $135 include lodging and instruction.
BOW workshops are designed primarily for women with an interest in learning skills associated with hunting, fishing and outdoor endeavors. Although open to anyone age 18 or older, the workshops are tailored primarily to women who have never tried these activities or who are beginners hoping to improve their skills.
More information is available by contacting Nancy Boldt at 328-6312, Brittany Fish at 527-3075, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Large duck flight expected
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's May and July waterfowl surveys indicate hunters can expect another large fall flight. Opening day for North Dakota residents is Sept. 22 for ducks, coots, mergansers and geese. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota Sept. 29.
Mike Johnson, game management section leader, said North Dakota's fall flight breeding ducks and the young they produce in the state is based on data from the May breeding duck survey and the July brood survey. "This year's production was up from last year, and there are strong indications for a good fall flight this year," Johnson said. "However, late summer has been dry and hunters should scout their favorite areas to check water conditions prior to the opener."
The brood index from the Game and Fish Department's annual mid-July survey was up 110 percent from 2011 and exceeded the long-term average by 155 percent. Average brood size was 6.9 ducklings, down 0.8 from last year. The long-term average is 7.1 ducklings per brood. The water index observed during the survey was down 48 percent from last year.
Results from the May breeding duck survey indicated the duck index was up 16 percent from 2011 and exceeded the long-term average by 112 percent. Water conditions in May were down 57 percent from 2011 and 6 percent from the long-term average.
Resident hunters must possess a general game and habitat license and a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate. In addition, hunters age 16 and older must have a small game license and federal duck stamp.
All migratory bird hunters are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program through the state Game and Fish Department website (gf.nd.gov) or instant licensing telephone number (800-406-6409).
Hunters should refer to the waterfowl hunting guide for season regulations including licensing requirements, dates, bag limits, season zones and nonresident hunting zones.
Bighorn sheep numbers increase
While many of the state's western big game populations remain at low population levels, bighorn sheep numbers are strong, according to Brett Wiedmann, big game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Dickinson.
A July-August survey in western North Dakota showed a minimum 299 bighorn sheep, a slight increase from last year and just 17 below 2008's record summer survey. "Our bighorn sheep population remained stable following three epic winters, so we're pleased to see an increase subsequent to last winter's mild conditions," Wiedmann said.
The current population includes a good number of young rams, Wiedmann added, which should lead to increased hunting opportunity in future years as these animals start reaching maturity. In 2012, Game and Fish reduced the number of sheep licenses from six to four, due to a declining number of mature rams.
Survey results revealed 89 rams, 155 ewes and 55 lambs a record 251 in the northern badlands, an increase of 18 from last year, and 48 in the southern badlands - down nine.
"Bighorn sheep are doing very well in the northern badlands but continue to struggle south of the Interstate," Wiedmann said, while noting that a record 51 lambs were observed in the north, but only four in the south.
The department's survey does not include approximately 30 bighorn sheep that inhabit the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. North Dakota's bighorn sheep hunting season opens Oct. 26 and continues through Nov. 8.