Outdoors briefs

Duck brood index down from last year

North Dakota’s 2013 fall duck flight is expected to be down significantly from last year, but still similar to the good fall flights of 2007-11.

Mike Johnson, game management section leader for the State Game and Fish Department, said the fall flight estimate is a combination of the spring breeding duck survey and the summer brood survey.

Results from the breeding duck survey in May indicated the duck index was down 17 percent from 2012, but still exceeded the long-term average by 73 percent. May water conditions were up 17 percent from 2012 and 12 percent above the long-term average.

The mid-July waterfowl production survey indicated a duck brood index that was down 48 percent from 2012, but still 27 percent above the long-term average. Average brood size was 7.2 ducklings, up 0.3 from last year. The long-term average is 7.1 ducklings per brood.

The water index in mid-July was up 60 percent from last year and 67 percent above the long-term average.

PLOTS Guide available online

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Private Land Open To Sportsmen Guide for 2013 is now available online at the department’s website, gf.nd.gov. In addition, PLOTS Guides will be available at most license vendors throughout the state in early September.

The guide will feature about 760,000 PLOTS acres. Because the guide is printed in mid-August, some PLOTS tracts highlighted in the guide may have been removed from the program since the time of printing. There will also be some PLOTS tracts where the habitat and condition of the tract will have changed significantly. Conversely, Game and Fish may have added new tracts to the program after the guide went to press.

To minimize possible confusion, Game and Fish will update PLOTS map sheets weekly on its website. The PLOTS Guide features maps highlighting these walk-in areas, identified in the field by inverted triangular yellow signs, as well as other public lands.

PLOTS Guides are free, and available at county auditor offices and license vendors in the state; by walk-in at the Game and Fish Department’s Bismarck office; and at district offices in Riverdale, Harvey (Lonetree), Williston, Dickinson, Jamestown and Devils Lake.

The guides are not available to mail, so hunters will have to pick one up at a local vendor, or print individual maps from the website.

Deer archery season 0pens Aug. 30

North Dakota’s deer archery season opens Aug. 30 at noon, and bowhunters are reminded that deer bow licenses and accompanying tags are only available through electronic purchase this year.

Bowhunters can buy a license online at the State Game and Fish Department website, gf.nd.gov; by calling (800) 406-6409; or at license vendors in counties that are linked to the Game and Fish Department’s online licensing system.

In counties that are not on the Game and Fish system, deer bow licenses will not be available at the usual license vendors. Hunters who purchase bow licenses online should allow for several days to receive their tag in the mail.

County auditors and all their authorized license vendors that are part of the Game and Fish Department electronic licensing system are: Adams, Barnes, Benson, Bottineau, Bowman, Burleigh, Cass, Dickey, Grand Forks, Grant, McIntosh, Mercer, Morton, Ramsey, Ransom, Rolette, Sargent, Stark, Steele, Stutsman, Walsh, Ward and Williams.

Bowhunters must follow all regulations of the managing agency when using tree stands on public hunting areas. The archery season is open through Jan. 5, 2014. Hunters should refer to the 2013 deer hunting guide for season information and regulations.

Agencies prohibit hunting over bait

Hunters are reminded that hunting big game over bait is prohibited on all state owned or managed wildlife management areas, all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas, U.S. Forest Service national grasslands, and all North Dakota state school, state park and state forest service lands.

The governor’s proclamation relating to chronic wasting disease also includes a provision that prohibits hunting big game over bait on both public and private land in deer units 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2 and 3C west of the Missouri River.

In addition, any firearms, equipment or accessories used by hunters on Private Land Open To Sportsmen acreage may not be left unattended and must be removed when the hunter leaves the area. This includes, but is not limited to, guns, blinds, stands, baits, scents and decoys. This means a hunter cannot place bait on PLOTS prior to or during the season and leave it there. Any bait would have to be brought to the PLOTS with the hunter the same day and taken out with the hunter the same day he/she leaves.

Hunters reminded of big game transport rules

Big game hunters are reminded of requirements for transporting deer, elk and moose carcasses and carcass parts into and within North Dakota as a precaution against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease.

Hunters harvesting a big game animal this fall in North Dakota deer unit 3F2 cannot transport a carcass containing the head and spinal column outside of the unit unless it’s taken directly to a meat processor. The head can be removed from the carcass and transported outside of the unit if it is to be submitted to a State Game and Fish Department district office, CWD surveillance drop-off location or a licensed taxidermist.

If the deer is processed in the field to boned meat, and the hunter wants to leave the head in the field, the head must be legally tagged and the hunter must be able to return to or give the exact location of the head if requested for verification.

In addition, hunting big game over bait is prohibited in deer units 3E1, 3E2, 3F1, 3F2 and 3C west of the Missouri River.

Hunters are prohibited from transporting into North Dakota the whole carcass, or certain carcass parts, of deer, elk, moose or other members of the cervid family from areas within states and provinces with documented occurrences of CWD in wild populations, or from farmed cervid operations within states and provinces that have had farmed cervids diagnosed with CWD. Only the following portions of the carcass can be transported:

Meat that is cut and wrapped either commercially or privately.

Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached.

Meat that has been boned out.

Hides with no heads attached.

Clean (no meat or tissue attached) skull plates with antlers attached.

Antlers with no meat or tissue attached.

Upper canine teeth, also known as buglers, whistlers or ivories.

Finished taxidermy heads.

Hunters should refer to the 2013-14 CWD proclamation on the Game and Fish Department’s website, gf.nd.gov, for game management units, equivalent wildlife management units, or counties in other states that have had free-ranging deer, moose or elk diagnosed with CWD.

Landowner-Sportsman Council to meet

The North Dakota Landowner-Sportsman Council has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday. The meeting will be held at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, in Bismarck. Meeting time is 7:30 p.m.