Outdoors briefly

Poacher line tips lead to criminal charges

Two separate cases involving citations issued to out-of-state anglers for exceeding the possession limit on walleyes are examples of public participation in helping enforce game and fish laws.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department chief of enforcement Robert Timian said one anonymous caller reported a case through the department’s enforcement office in Bismarck, while the other contacted a local district game warden.

“Both cases were very similar, and resulted from tips where anglers were catching and keeping more fish than the daily limit allows,” Timian said.

One investigation involved five adults cited for 100 walleyes over the possession limit. The other implicated eight individuals – six apprehended in North Dakota and two cited with cooperation from law enforcement officers in the state where the anglers reside – with an over-possession limit of 84 walleyes.

Timian said violations can be reported through Report All Poachers, a local game warden or law enforcement agency, or a Game and Fish office. RAP is a cooperative project between the Game and Fish Department, State Radio Communications and the North Dakota Wildlife Federation. The RAP line offers rewards – from $100 to $1,000 depending on the nature and seriousness of the crime – for information that leads to conviction of fish and wildlife law violators. Callers can remain anonymous. Witnesses reporting a violation by calling RAP should call 800-472-2121.

Nice weather brings out recreationists

North Dakota Game and Fish Department wardens were busy over the Fourth of July weekend. Chief of enforcement Robert Timian said lake activity was high across the state, especially at popular recreation areas such as the Missouri River, Lake Sakakawea, Devils Lake, Lake Ashtabula, Lake Tschida and Lake Metigoshe, with much of the department’s law enforcement efforts focusing on these areas.

The long holiday weekend produced 211 citations/arrests, with many more verbal and written warnings issued. Timian said most citations were recreational boating-related, such as having an inadequate number of personal flotation devices, failure to display boat registration or failure to have an observer in the boat.

“These violations were not unexpected, as most of the people on the water were participating in recreational activities,” said Timian.

There were five boating accidents with two involving injuries, and also one drowning. The good news, according to Timian, is the number of boating under the influence arrests was much lower than anticipated.

Curly leaf pondweed in Raleigh Reservoir

The recent discovery of curly leaf pondweed in Raleigh Reservoir in Grant County serves as a reminder for anglers to take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species. North Dakota Game and Fish Department ANS coordinator Fred Ryckman said a fisheries crew discovered the unwanted plant in late June.

“This does not come as a total surprise since curly leaf is found in the Missouri River,” Ryckman said, noting the close proximity of the Missouri River to Raleigh Reservoir.

Current law states no aquatic vegetation, or parts thereof, shall be in or on watercraft, motors, trailers and recreational equipment when out of water. Time out of the water needed to remove aquatic vegetation at the immediate water access area is allowed.

Fur harvester program classes scheduled

The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring fur harvester education classes for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers.

A course in Velva is scheduled for Aug. 19, 21 and 23. Audubon National Wildlife Refuge is hosting a course Sept. 16, 18 and 20. Courses are free and take 16 hours to complete over a three-day period.

Students will learn about traps, trapping and snaring techniques, furbearer biology and fur care. A field day allows students to make a variety of land, water and snare sets. Upon completion, graduates are issued a certification card that is recognized by any state requiring trapper education prior to purchasing a license. Anyone interested in signing up for the class should access the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at (gf.nd.gov).