West Fargo While I am no longer a game warden, that's how I started my career with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Though my career transitioned from warden to biologist, the experience and background work is invaluable in my current position. Over the years I have fielded the question hundreds of times: How do you get a job as a game warden?
West Fargo With all the high-visibility world, state and local issues of the new year, I waited a couple of weeks before providing a look back at some of the highlights and challenges the North Dakota Game and Fish Department dealt with in 2017. North Dakota Game and Fish Department deputy director Scott Peterson covered a number of them in the recent January 2018 issue of North Dakota "Outdoors" magazine. More wet than dry
West Fargo Nobody wants to see wildlife starve. Even in mild winters, North Dakota Game and Fish Department biologists are asked about feeding wildlife, and sometimes people don't want to hear the answer. Historically, winter feeding of wildlife—big game animals, game birds and songbirds—was once embraced by many wildlife professionals across the country. Today, the components needed to sustain wildlife through a harsh Midwest winter haven't changed. Food, water, shelter and space are all still required.
West Fargo As a student of biology in high school and through college, and into my professional career as a biologist, I have always appreciated the complexities of nature, such as each individual fish and wildlife species and their connection to the food, water, space and shelter, or habitat, that they call home.
West Fargo If your winter ice fishing or spearing success and satisfaction lean more toward a limit of walleye, or a trophy pike, I'm not the guy to talk to. Same goes for furbearer hunting or trapping. While I enjoy and appreciate these pursuits, I'm no expert. But I do know that a winter outdoor outing that results in a call to 911 or a trip to the emergency room is not a successful outing, and there are precautions people can take to greatly reduce the odds of something going awry.
West Fargo In the spring of 2000, the new North Dakota fishing proclamation carried a provision that eliminated the requirement for licensing winter ice fishing shelters. And yet, after nearly 18 years, I still get a fair number of phone calls, emails and personal visits while I'm out and about from anglers who inquire about ice shelter identification and licensing. It's a reminder that it doesn't hurt to review the rules and regulations for whatever season is coming up or in progress. Here's a short review of some of the rules that guide fishing through the ice:
West Fargo Ice fishing is certainly a hot topic in North Dakota this year. I can't remember a year when I have heard so much positive chatter, and many anglers who haven't already ventured out to their favorite lake, or a promising new destination, are waiting in anticipation of good ice to get their winter fishing season started. And with good reason. North Dakota has a record number of lakes on the landscape right now and a lot of them have good populations of walleye, perch and/or northern pike.
West Fargo Lately, I have been intrigued by the growing interest in hunting and fishing methods that are more "retro" or "back-in-the-day." From recurve bows for deer hunting, to fishing with a hook and bobber in the summer, to spearing through the ice in winter. There's something to be said for hunters and anglers who understand the heritage, and realize that while modern technology, gear and gadgets are fine, they aren't afraid to try tactics and techniques that were successful in the past.
West Fargo For much of October, North Dakota weather was a little of this and a little of that. The fall migration of ducks and geese once again seemed to stay in the northern tier a little longer than hunters in the rest of North Dakota would've preferred. Smaller ponds froze up and then the wind blew.
West Fargo While North Dakota's 2017 deer gun season is winding down, it still generates a fair amount of questions and conversation. The November issue of "North Dakota Outdoors" magazine covered a few of the topics that I've heard about in the past few weeks. First off, this year's deer hunting season did open later than what a lot of people think is normal. The traditional deer opener has been the Friday before Nov. 11 for more than three decades years. That means the range for the opener, based on this rotating standardized approach, is Nov. 4 through Nov. 10.