Outdoors briefly

Snowshoeing day at Audubon NWR

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge will host a snowshoe hike on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants will snowshoe across the wintery prairie landscape in hopes of viewing white-tailed deer, ring-necked pheasants, rough-legged hawks, bald eagles and signs of wildlife.

Traditional snowshoes will be provided for those participating in the program, or you are welcome to bring your own. Both adults and youth are invited to participate. Participants should wear boots and warm winter clothing, dressing in layers, so they can be easily removed as you warm up.

After the hike, participants may warm up with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa while browsing through the refuge exhibit hall. The Prairie Pond Store will be open.

Please call 442-5474, ext. 110, to pre-register for this program, as class size is limited.

The Refuge also offers a program where snowshoes can be borrowed to families or individuals who would like to hike through the refuge on their own. Snowshoes may be used during office hours 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday except Federal holidays.

Midwinter bald eagle survey

This year’s midwinter bald eagle survey conducted Jan. 10 along the Missouri River revealed 61 bald eagles, slightly above average since the survey started in 1986.

Patrick T. Isakson, conservation biologist with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the survey route from Bismarck to the Garrison Dam is conducted at the same time each year, and in coordination with other surveys nationwide.

“Conducting the surveys close to the same day throughout the nation reduces the number of eagles that may be counted by other surveys as eagles tend to move around,” Isakson said.

Large numbers of waterfowl are allowing a high number of bald eagles to winter in the state. “A change in weather conditions will force waterfowl to migrate further south, thus the eagles will follow,” Isakson said.

Watchable Wildlife on state tax form

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs are reminded to look for the Watchable Wildlife Checkoff on the state tax form.

The 2012 state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support non-game wildlife like songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.

To learn more about Watchable Wildlife program activities, contact the N.D. Game and Fish Department at 328-6300, or email ndgf@nd.gov.

Nonresident any-deer bow licenses

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 180 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2013. Similar to last year and pending the final proclamation, antlerless mule deer may not be legal to harvest within a large area of western North Dakota.

The deadline for applying is March 1. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. If licenses remain after March 1, they will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year’s mule deer gun license allocation. The Game and Fish Department issued 1,200 antlered mule deer licenses in the 2012 deer gun lottery.