ND Game & Fish

Waterfowl Survey, Record Breaking Burbot, and Other Game & Fish News

North Dakota Game & Fish has a couple quick hit stories this week. Among them are the early results of the midwinter waterfowl survey. You can watch news on results below. And in other Game & Fish News:

A Minot Fisherman Caught a State Record Burbot

Shane Johnson’s 19-pound, 8-ounce burbot broke a state record that’s been in the books for nearly 40 years.

The Minot angler caught the 41.5-inch fish Jan. 3 from the Garrison Dam Tailrace.

The previous record of 18 pounds, 4 ounces was established in 1984 by Orland Kruckenberg, a Hazen angler who was fishing the Knife River.

Participation Needed in Hunter Harvest Surveys

While North Dakota’s 2022 hunting seasons have come and gone, hunter success, or lack thereof, still matters to wildlife managers.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has conducted hunter harvest surveys for more than a half-century, using the findings to help manage the state’s wildlife populations.

Thousands of surveys are sent annually, and participation is strongly urged because hunter harvest plays a noted role, for example, in setting hunting license numbers for the upcoming season.

Hunters are surveyed about their hunting activity because understanding how many animals were removed from the population is an important ecological piece of information. The information collected from the hunter harvest surveys is compared against where the Game and Fish Department stands with its harvest objectives at any point in a given year. And that can mean, in some cases, license increases. But ultimately, these surveys are important because they inform the recommendations passed along to the governor during the proclamation setting process.

Thousands of big game, small game, waterfowl, swan, turkey and furbearer questionnaires will be emailed to randomly selected hunters. A follow-up survey will be mailed to those who did not respond to the first survey.

Not everyone who, say, receives a hunter harvest survey for the 2022 deer gun season will have harvested a deer, but those hunters still need to fill them out and return their surveys.

The surveys are designed so that a random sample of hunters receive them, and it’s understood that some hunters weren’t successful, which in a lot of ways is just as important as knowing who did harvest a deer.

The hunter harvest surveys are short and take very little time to complete. A follow-up survey will be mailed to those who did not respond to the emailed survey.

The more surveys returned to Game and Fish from hunters, the more robust the statistical information is to help produce better harvest estimates.

Watchable Wildlife Checkoff

North Dakotans interested in supporting wildlife conservation programs should look for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on the state tax form.

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

The checkoff – whether you are receiving a refund or having to pay in – is an easy way to voluntarily contribute to sustain this long‑standing program. In addition, direct donations to the program are accepted any time of year.

To learn more about Watchable Wildlife program activities and to view the winning entries in the 2022 photo contest, featured in the January issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS, visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov.

The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey

Josh Wolsky

Developer & Writer @TheMinot Voice, Fan of the Souris River, There's a lot to Savor about Minot. Fortunate to be a 'former' City Council member ;)

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