Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Articles written by Doug Leier


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  • North Dakota Outdoors: The Endangered Species Act turns 50

    Doug Leier|Jan 1, 2024

    I can easily recall in the late 1980s seeing an endangered bald eagle feeding on a deer carcass off the road west of Napoleon in Logan County. Back in those days, if you saw a bald eagle and you could take a picture, you did. At the least you mentally marked the date, time and place and you made sure to phone it in. It was a big deal. While I'm still partial to the sight of a bald eagle, it's become rather routine thanks to the amazing recovery of the population. It's gotten to the point that...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: October 23, 2023

    Doug Leier, N.D. Game & Fish Dept.|Oct 23, 2023

    The opening shots, so to speak, of the 2023 hunting season officially began over two months ago on August 15 with the early Canada goose season. If you’re like many, the intention of brushing up on your swing and transitioning from fishing to shotgunning isn’t as gradual as you’d like. And honestly, I won’t begrudge a miss or “aw shucks” moment or two. Many hunters and anglers play softball and golf, and the transition between the two is similar to fishing and hunting. The only...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Private Land Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS)

    Doug Leier|Sep 11, 2023

    The goal of the Private Land Open To Sportsmen program is to provide walk-in public access for hunting on private land. Just because hunters are allowed access doesn’t mean it’s open for any type of use. Even if you are hunting, PLOTS agreements do not allow activities such as horseback riding, camping, placing bait for any purpose, driving ATVs or snowmobiles, dog training and many others, without written permission from the landowner. All PLOTS property is open only for public walk-in acce...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: The importance of pollinators

    Doug Leier|Apr 17, 2023

    I've always appreciated the complexities of nature, including the connection of individual fish and wildlife species to food, water, space and where they call home. If you hunt upland game, the importance of grassland habitat and pollinators is mutual to game and hunters. Much of the information the North Dakota Game and Fish Department provides on these wildlife/habitat connections relates to species that are hunted, fished and trapped, because hunters, anglers and trappers provide the bulk of...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Spring Snow Goose spotted nearby

    Doug Leier|Mar 27, 2023

    I saw my first Canada goose of the year on a sunny Tuesday afternoon on February 7 about 4:30 p.m. Yes, I know the exact date and time as I texted a friend who spends more time outdoors than I do talking and writing about it. He confirmed that he spotted a few earlier in the day. While we understood we had more cold and snow to get through before spring arrived, we also knew the spring conservation season for light geese (no Canada geese are allowed) official opening day was near. Before the...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: The reality of winter and wildlife

    Doug Leier|Jan 9, 2023

    When the phone rings or the inbox pings, it's reminiscent of unwrapping a Christmas present. I literally have no idea what's behind the rings and pings. It's one part of my job that truly keeps me on my toes and I enjoy it. Questions about regulations, to the hottest fishing bite, or simply a random wildlife observation, I just never know what's coming. As the saying goes, I truly believe there's no such thing as a silly question. There isn't. The phone conversations allow for a more natural...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Life and death of wild in winter

    Doug Leier|Jan 2, 2023

    I quit blaming Mother Nature years ago for nasty weather and started pointing the finger at Old Man Winter. Not that it mattered but it seemed fair, even though we have no control over the weather. For man and beast on the prairie, a winter that starts late and ends early with a few drifts of life-bearing moisture and short cold snaps mixed in is about as much as we can ask for. Anyone who’s grown up around here knows we adjust to the cold and the snow. From warming up the truck a little, to...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: There's no party hunting allowed in North Dakota

    Doug Leier, North Dakota Game and Fish Dept.|Nov 21, 2022

     From deer to ducks and pike to perch, hunters and anglers must take only their own daily limit or fill their own deer tag.  For as long as I can remember, party hunting, group fishing or any other way to describe it has never been legal in the state.  In North Dakota there is no legal distinction between shooting someone else’s deer, and catching an extra fish to “help” your buddy fill out. Once a hunter or angler has reached the limit, he or she cannot legally shoot or catch...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Staying safe hunting this fall

    Doug Leier|Nov 7, 2022

    In any given year about 100,000 individuals put in for the regular deer gun lottery. Safe to say, even if you don’t deer hunt there’s someone in your house, at work or next door that either will be deer hunting or wishes they were. When it comes to deer hunting safety (or pheasants, waterfowl, you name it), there’s basic tenets for hunters and others in the field: • Treat every firearm with the same respect due a loaded firearm. • Control the direction of your firearm’s muzzle....

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Taking a closer look at North Dakota Chronic Wasting Disease (DWD) regulations

    Doug Leier|Oct 17, 2022

    I played a part on the Game and Fish Department's chronic wasting disease task force and out of everything I learned, what stuck with me most, is how much I'd forgotten. Which is why review of rules, regulations and restrictions is so important for all of us. North Dakota's archery deer season opened in early September and with the growing interest in bowhunting for all big game, reviewing some of the specific transportation rules and regulations is necessary. Yet, no matter if you're hunting...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Jerry Kobriger has nearly six decades of gathering wildlife data

    Doug Leier|Aug 29, 2022

    I'm a fan of numbers and statistics to a point where they fascinate me. Not just what the numbers say but how the numbers are generated. When I took my college statistics course, I knew going in I was about to experience a learning curve in the most real time. Thankfully, the professor weighed the statistics with a human element beyond actual scores, teaching us firsthand how attendance and hitting deadlines contributed to our grades. What I took from this was the importance of how the numbers...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: July 4, 2022

    Doug Leier|Jul 4, 2022

    The single most important factor in maintaining or growing wildlife populations – ducks, deer, pheasants, you name it – is habitat. If you’d like more deer tags available, find more pheasants in the field or ducks in flight, habitat is where the conversation begins. Often, we connect habitat to the conservation reserve program and for good reason. CRP acres have been a key component of habitat for 35 years. It’s easy to say, “we just need more CRP.” While that’s not incorrect, the...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: April 25, 2022

    Doug Leier|Apr 25, 2022

    May conjures up images of the first meadowlark on the prairie, stray migrating snow geese and spring turkey season wrapping up. We’ll also likely spot the first brood of Canada geese and find a few ticks to remove from you or your dog. May 1 every year marks the start of North Dakota's paddlefish snagging season, and one noteworthy regulation change involves the sale and distribution of paddlefish tags. Paddlefish tags are only available for purchase online at the North Dakota Game and Fish...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: March 28, 2022

    Doug Leier|Mar 28, 2022

    Many people are a little surprised and often enlightened when they visit with a North Dakota game warden and learn more about the people behind the badge. A hunter may not realize the time and resources spent in service training and administrative/safety requirements. Anglers know wardens are checking for over limits and license compliance, but the most citations are issued for safety violations, such as not having enough life jackets on board. Chief game warden Scott Winkelman provided some...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: March 21, 2022

    Doug Leier|Mar 21, 2022

    It’s hard to believe that the first spring light goose conservation order in North Dakota arrived more than 20 some years ago when I was working as a game warden. Time flies. The purpose then — and remains today — is to reduce light goose (snow goose) populations during spring as the birds migrate north to their nesting grounds. While the opening of the first season was unique, I don't remember much about it. From a game warden's perspective, that's usually a good sign. Often, the most...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Nov. 22, 2021

    Doug Leier|Nov 22, 2021

    My neighbor taught me another new word. Locavore. I wasn’t sure if it was in Websters, or if it was slang. But, the meaning hit home. There’s a growing interest in fishing, hunting or even planting food on your own. Securing it “locally.” Maybe it was grown in your own garden, or you shot the duck or grouse just down the road. The unique aspect of the English language is, at times, you make the word fit the situation. I’ve dined on an array of wild game, from delicacies like...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Nov. 15, 2021

    Doug Leier|Nov 15, 2021

    When it comes to deer season questions and answers, the best advice I can give is if you don’t know, ask. The best person to ask a specific question on rules and regulations is the game warden in the area you are hunting. Understanding the strains of Game and Fish enforcement during this busy time of year means asking in advance will help aid in getting a question answered quickly. Q: Can I hunt over bait on private land? It is unlawful to hunt over bait, or place bait to attract big game for...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Sept. 13, 2021

    Doug Leier|Sep 13, 2021

    Hunters can play an important role this fall across the tinder-dry landscape. First and foremost, consider this advice: If you see something you think needs to be reported, pick up the phone and call. This fall, more than ever, time can save property and lives by reporting wildfires. Rather than assume it’s been reported or not of concern, reporting the fire is the best first decision. Also, hunters, farmers, anyone just enjoying the outdoor sights and sounds of fall across North Dakota, need...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: August 30, 2021

    Doug Leier|Aug 30, 2021

    The North Dakota legislature in 2021 passed a bill to allow electronic posting of private land, giving landowners another option for posting private property. It’s another option. If landowners would rather post property as they have in the past they still can. Landowners interested in posting electronically for the 2021-22 hunting season had to do so by July 15. If a landowner wants to go out and put up posted signs now or in the future on land they didn’t electronically post they still can...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: August 23, 2021

    Doug Leier|Aug 23, 2021

    August is no longer just about winding down the fishing season, and planning and preparing for upcoming hunting seasons. While North Dakota has long had a crow season that got its start in mid-August, it wasn't until the changes several years ago which put the early Canada goose opener into the middle of the month that a significant season kicked off before Labor Day weekend. The first early Canada goose season was held in 1999 as a regional effort to help reduce resident Canada goose numbers...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: August 16, 2021

    Doug Leier|Aug 16, 2021

    Sipping coffee early in the morning and talking fishing is about as close as it gets to enjoying fishing without wetting a line. Truth is, I spend more time talking about fishing than actually casting, but I’ve gotten used to it. I say it’s like the plumber whose faucet is always leaking, yet he spends more time fixing the dripping pipes of others. Don’t get me wrong, I like talking about fishing more every day. Hearing the excitement and listening to the stories is priceless. I took a...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: Aug. 9, 2021

    Doug Leier|Aug 9, 2021

    Hints of North Dakota’s fall duck and pheasant populations were revealed in spring. For starters, the pheasant population index was about the same as last year, according to the state Game and Fish Department’s 2021 spring crowing count survey. Pheasant crowing counts are conducted each spring throughout North Dakota. Observers drive specified 20-mile routes, stopping at predetermined intervals, and counting the number of pheasant roosters heard crowing over a two-minute period. The number...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: August 2, 2021

    Doug Leier|Aug 2, 2021

    Food waste is a hot topic, with an effort to raise awareness of the changing mindset from allowing food to rot, spoil, or in some cases, even just taking more than you need or will eat. For many here in the Midwest, it’s hard to understand a heritage dating back to our ancestors of using every part of a butchered pig. “Everything, but the squeal,” as my dad’s generation would say. In a similar message, there’s a sign at some North Dakota fishing destinations, reminding anglers of the...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: July 26, 2021

    Doug Leier|Jul 26, 2021

    Every other year in North Dakota, elected officials gather at the state capital to propose, review, debate, and ultimately vote on legislation that will set the course for the state and its citizens. Some of these bills are also related to how the North Dakota Game and Fish Department delivers services to its customers, which is partly why we closely track bills and provide input or testimony as needed or appropriate. Because state law often dictates how we conduct business at the Game and Fish...

  • North Dakota Outdoors: July 12, 2021

    Doug Leier|Jul 12, 2021

    From the end of spring goose and turkey seasons until the mid-August early Canada goose opener, North Dakotans find themselves in a stretch of about three months with no gamebird season open. While some hunters take to shooting activities such as sporting clays or honing their archery skills, there's an option for "shooting" North Dakota's outdoors with anything from an old flip phone or modern smartphone, to a high-grade professional camera. Photographing the outdoors is always in season and...

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