Outdoors briefly

Summer jobs

for youth at Audubon NWR

Audubon National Wildlife Refuge will be participating in the Youth Conservation Corps program during the spring and summer of 2014. This is a summer employment program for young men and women age 15 though 18 years of age.

YCC participants accomplish needed conservation work on National Wildlife Refuges and Waterfowl Production Areas. Work projects may include mowing, painting, trail maintenance, boundary fencing and signing, recycling materials, as well as Canada goose banding, tours to refuge islands, and assisting with special events for the public. Refuge staff incorporates the YCC participants into biological, habitat management and visitor services programs, to help the participants develop an understanding and appreciation of natural resources and the environment.

Three positions are available this year. Students who are interested in applying for a position may contact the refuge, or check with their school counselor for an application. Applications should be completed and sent to Audubon Refuge by Feb. 14.

Pay will be $7.25 per hour for 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday for eight to 12 weeks. Refuge staff is flexible with the student’s summer schedule. The scheduled start date for the YCC program is May 27. Call 442-5474, ext. 117, for further information.

Spring turkey season set, apps now available

The state Game and Fish Department is offering 5,880 wild turkey licenses for the spring hunting season, a decrease of 50 from last year. The decrease is a result of poor production and chick recruitment.

Two of the 22 hunting units have slightly more spring licenses than in 2013, while 16 remain the same. Unit 21 (most of Hettinger and Adams counties) is again closed in 2014 due to lack of turkeys in the unit.

Successful spring turkey applicants must purchase a 2014-15 hunting license. In addition to the spring turkey license, hunters must have a fishing, hunting and furbearer certificate, and a general game and habitat license. Also, hunters ages 16 and older must possess a small game license, or combination license.

The spring turkey license has increased from $8 to $15, and the general game and habitat license increased from $13 to $20. In addition, the small game license increased from $6 to $10. The combination license, which includes general game and habitat, small game, furbearer and fishing, increased from $32 to $50.

First-time spring turkey hunters ages 15 or younger are eligible to receive one spring license valid for the regular hunting season in a specific unit. To be eligible, the youth hunter must be 15 or younger on opening day of spring turkey season, and have never received a spring turkey license in North Dakota.

Spring turkey licenses are available only to North Dakota residents. Applicants can apply online or print an application at the Game and Fish Department website, (gf.nd.gov). The spring turkey season opens April 12 and continues through May 18.

Midwinter waterfowl survey tabs 71,500

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated 71,500 birds were in the state.

Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 40,700 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 12,000 were scattered on Nelson Lake. Lake Sakakawea, declared iced-over on Dec. 14, had no geese on the lake itself. A total of 52,700 Canada geese and 18,700 mallards were tallied statewide.

“Conditions leading up to this year’s survey were colder than normal, resulting in fewer birds in the state compared to the past couple winters,” Szymanski said. “Most waterfowl were pushed from North Dakota just prior to Thanksgiving, with the exception of those using the Missouri River system.”

According to Szymanski, early December cold temperatures and strong winds pushed most Missouri River birds from the state. Conditions remained the same through most of January, essentially causing all waters in the state to freeze by the time of the survey, with the exception of a few places with fast-moving or warm water.