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Outdoors briefs

Early ice awareness

Outdoor enthusiasts are reminded to be aware of early ice conditions before traveling onto and across North Dakota waters.

A few reminders include:

Edges firm up faster than farther out from shore.

Snow insulates ice, which in turn inhibits solid ice formation, hiding cracks, weak and open water areas.

Ice can form overnight, causing unstable conditions. Ice thickness is not consistent, as it can vary significantly within a few inches.

Avoid cracks, pressure ridges, slushy or darker areas that signal thinner ice. The same goes for ice that forms around partially submerged trees, brush, embankments or other structures.

Anglers should drill test holes as they make their way out on the lake, and an ice chisel should be used to check ice thickness while moving around.

Daily temperature changes cause ice to expand and contract, affecting its strength.

The following minimums are recommended for travel on clear-blue lake ice formed under ideal conditions. However, early in the winter it’s a good idea to double these figures to be safe: 4 inches for a group walking single file; 6 inches for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle; 8-12 inches for an automobile; and 12-15 inches for a pickup/truck.

And some life-saving safety tips:

® Wear a personal flotation device and carry a cell phone.

® Carry ice picks or a set of screwdrivers to pull yourself back on the ice if you fall through.

® If someone breaks through the ice, call 911 immediately. Rescue attempts should employ a long pole, board, rope, blanket or snowmobile suit. If that’s not possible, throw the victim a life jacket, empty water jug or other buoyant object. Go to the victim as a last resort, but do this by forming a human chain where rescuers lie on the ice with each person holding the feet of the person in front.

® To treat hypothermia, replace wet clothing with dry clothing and immediately transport the victim to a hospital.

Book traces history of waterfowl species and habitats in ND

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s “The Duck Factory – A History of Waterfowl in North Dakota,” is authored by Mike Jacobs and Erik Fritzell. The 213-page, soft-cover publication in full color traces the history of waterfowl species and their habitats in North Dakota.

Migratory game bird program leader Mike Szymanski said there is a lot of interesting information about the interactions with people and waterfowl in North Dakota.

“This book is appealing to both waterfowl hunters and people interested in history,” Szymanski said. “It has a lot of really cool, old photos of hunting scenes and historical figures.”

“The Duck Factory” is an important story because of North Dakota’s longtime and continuing contribution to the world of migratory birds, Szymanski said. “North Dakota is the most important state for breeding ducks,” he added. “The contribution of ducks from North Dakota into the fall flight is unmatched by any other state, and its importance to duck hunters cannot be understated. Describing the history of waterfowl in North Dakota was a story that we felt was certainly worth telling.”

The book is sold only online for $24.99, including shipping, on the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, by clicking on Buy and Apply, and then Shop.

Late-season hunting dates

The statewide duck and white-fronted goose seasons close Dec. 5. However, duck hunting in the high plains unit reopens Dec. 11 and continues through Jan. 2.

In addition, the season for Canada geese closes Dec. 18 in the eastern zone, Dec. 23 in the western zone and Dec. 31 in the Missouri River zone. Light goose hunting closes statewide Dec. 31.

Archery deer, fall turkey, sharp-tailed and ruffed grouse, partridge and pheasant hunting seasons continue through Jan. 2.

The season for tree squirrels closes Feb. 28.

Mountain lion Zone 1 late season opens

North Dakota’s early mountain lion season in Zone 1 closed Sunday, Nov. 21, and the late season, when hunters can pursue lions with dogs, is open.

During the early season, hunters took one cat from a harvest limit of eight. Under the season structure, a conditional season could open five days after the late season closes for hunters to pursue the additional seven mountain lions that were not taken.

The late season in Zone 1 opened Nov. 22 and is scheduled to run through March 31, 2022, or until the harvest limit is reached. The late season harvest limit is seven total lions or three female lions, whichever comes first.

Hunters are advised to check the status of the late season by visiting the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov.

Zone 1 includes land in western North Dakota south of N.D. Highway 1804 from the Montana border to the point where N.D. Highway 1804 lies directly across Lake Sakakawea from N.D. Highway 8, crossing Lake Sakakawea, then south along N.D. Highway 8 to N.D. Highway 200, then west on N.D. Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 85, then south on U.S. Highway 85 to the South Dakota border.

The mountain lion season in Zone 2, which is the rest of the state outside Zone 1, has no harvest limit and is open through March 31, 2022.

The mountain lion season is open only to North Dakota residents. Hunters need a furbearer or combination license to participate.

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