Outdoors briefly

Specifics of NDG&F antelope lottery clarified

During the recent spring Advisory Board Meetings, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department announced that pronghorn antelope hunting would return to at least two hunting units in 2014. The state’s last antelope season was held in 2009 with subsequent seasons closed due to low pronghorn numbers.

Game and Fish anticipates holding a lottery for a limited number of pronghorn licenses in hunting units 3B and 4A in Slope and Bowman counties. Successful applicants will be allowed to hunt with a bow during the early bow-only season and, if not successful, they have the option of hunting with a gun or bow during the October late season. Pronghorn applicants will apply for a license only, without regard to whether or not they choose to hunt with a gun or bow.

Pronghorn surveys will be conducted throughout the state’s antelope range later this summer. Although it is not presently anticipated, if summer surveys show that sufficient numbers of pronghorn exist in certain hunting units, additional units could be opened to hunting this fall.

Anglers, boat owners need current licenses

Anglers and boat owners are reminded to review their licenses for the 2014 fishing and boating season.

Anglers must have a 2014-15 fishing license. Fishing licenses can be purchased online at the Game and Fish Department website, (gf.nd.gov). A new state law requires residents age 18 or older to prove residency on the application by submitting a valid North Dakota driver’s license number or a North Dakota non-driver photo identification number.

Boat owners are reminded that 2014 is the first year of a new three-year registration period. The new boat registration cycle runs through Dec. 31, 2016. The price to register motorboats under 16 feet in length, and all canoes, is $18; motorboats from 16 feet to less than 20 feet in length, $36; and motorboats at least 20 feet in length, $45.

Renewal notices were mailed to boat owners last December. Those who did not receive a renewal notice should contact the Game and Fish Department at 328-6335, or email ndgf@nd.gov. Boat registrations can be renewed online at the department’s website. Anyone buying a new or used watercraft can register online and generate a 10-day temporary permit that is valid until the registration is processed.

Paddlefish snagging season opens May 1

North Dakota’s paddlefish snagging season opens May 1 and is scheduled to continue through the end of the month. However, depending on the overall harvest, an early in-season closure may occur with a 24-hour notice issued by the state Game and Fish Department.

Potential snaggers are reminded that opening day, May 1, falls on a Thursday. Snag-and-release of all paddlefish is required on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, so opening day is snag-and-release only. Mandatory harvest of all snagged paddlefish is required on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, all paddlefish caught must be tagged immediately.

All paddlefish snagged and tagged must be removed from the river by 9 p.m. of each snagging day. The use or possession of a gaff hook within one-half mile in either direction of the North Dakota Highway 200 bridge on the Yellowstone River is illegal at any time during the snagging season.

Those planning to participate during snag-and-release-only days need to have in their possession a current-season, unused paddlefish snagging tag. Use or possession of gaffs is prohibited on snag-and-release-only days, and, if it occurs, during the snag-and-release extension period.

Legal snagging hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. One tag per snagger will be issued. Snagging is legal in all areas of the Yellowstone River in North Dakota, and in the area of the Missouri River lying west of the U.S. Highway 85 bridge to the Montana border, excluding that portion from the pipeline crossing (river mile 1,577) downstream to the upper end of the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Management Area (river mile 1,565).

If the season closes early because the harvest quota is reached, an extended snag-and-release-only period will be allowed for up to four days immediately following the early closure, but not to extend beyond May 31.

All paddlefish snaggers must possess a paddlefish tag in addition to a valid fishing license and certificate that may be required. Cost of a paddlefish tag is $10 for residents and $25.50 for nonresidents.

Peterson named Game and Fish deputy director

State Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand has appointed longtime employee Scott Peterson as the agency’s new deputy director. Peterson, a native of Montpelier in southern Stutsman County, will begin his new position May 1. He has been the Department’s wildlife resource management section leader at the Lonetree district office, located southwest of Harvey, for 22 years.

Game and Fish had been without a deputy director for more than a month since Duane DeKrey, who had served in the position since January 2013, left the agency to work for the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District.