North Dakota Game & Fish Department News: Sept. 13, 2021


September 13, 2021

Hunters Asked to Submit Wing Envelopes

Hunters can help in the effort to manage upland game birds in North Dakota by collecting feathers from harvested birds and sending in wing envelopes.

Birds included in the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s upland game wing survey, which has been in practice for decades, are ring-necked pheasants, sharp-tailed grouse, Hungarian partridge, turkeys and ruffed grouse.

Collecting enough pheasant samples is typically never a problem, but securing enough sharptail and partridge feathers can be.

Game and Fish biologists will take as many sharptail and partridge feathers as they can get because the more collected, the better the data. Biologists can determine if the birds are male or female, age ratios, survival, nesting success, hatch dates and overall production.

What biologists learn from samples is vital to helping manage North Dakota’s upland game birds.

Instructions for submitting wing data are printed on the envelope.

Hunters interested in receiving wing envelopes should visit the Game and Fish website,

Game and Fish Allocates Five Bighorn Sheep Licenses

The Game and Fish Department allocated five bighorn sheep licenses for the 2021 hunting season, one fewer than last year.

One license was issued in unit B1, one in B3 and two in B4. In addition, one license, as authorized under North Dakota Century Code, was auctioned in May by the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, from which all proceeds are used to enhance bighorn sheep management in North Dakota.

The number of once-in-a-lifetime licenses allotted to hunters is based on data collected from the Game and Fish Department’s summer population survey. Brett Wiedmann, big game management biologist in Dickinson, said results showed a similar count of adult rams to 2020.

“Our objective this hunting season is to maximize hunter opportunity in the northern badlands where ram numbers are strong, while continuing to reduce the number of rams in the southern badlands, to lessen the risk of transmitting disease to the northern population,” Wiedmann said, while mentioning the concern is the ongoing effects of the bacterial pneumonia outbreak that was first detected in 2014 which resulted in a loss of 15-20% of the adult population.

Wiedmann noted there are more than 300 bighorn sheep north of Interstate 94, but fewer than 20 south of the interstate.

Game and Fish announced in February the status of the bighorn sheep hunting season would be determined after completion of the summer population survey. Prospective hunters were required to apply for a bighorn license earlier this year on the bighorn sheep, moose and elk application. A record 19,126 applicants applied for bighorn sheep. Successful applicants have been notified.

Deer Season for Young Hunters Opens Sept. 17

Friday, Sept. 17, at noon Central Time, signals the start of a nine-and-a-half-day deer hunting season for licensed youth hunters.

Residents who are 11, 12 or 13 in 2021 can hunt statewide for antlerless white-tailed deer.

Resident deer gun hunters who are 14 or 15 in 2021 can hunt statewide with a youth season license for any deer, except for antlered mule deer in units 3B1, 3B2, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 4F where a special license is required.

After opening day, hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. Orange clothing is required for youth hunters and mentors.

Each young deer hunter must be under direct supervision of an adult. The adult is prohibited from carrying a firearm or bow while accompanying the youth hunter in the field during the youth season.

The youth deer season closes Sunday, Sept. 26.

Youth, Military Waterfowl Weekend Sept. 18-19

Introduce a youngster to duck hunting during North Dakota’s two-day youth waterfowl weekend Sept. 18-19. In addition, the special veteran and active military personnel waterfowl season is set for the same weekend.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has a Virtual Duck Hunting Mentor webpage with all the basics, including license requirements, regulations, gear recommendations and tips for finding a place to hunt.

Legally licensed resident and nonresident youth waterfowl hunters 15 and younger, and veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers statewide.

The daily bag limit and species restrictions are the same as for regular duck and goose seasons. However, the additional two blue-winged teal allowed during the first 16 days of the regular season are not allowed during this weekend.

Resident and qualifying nonresident youth waterfowl hunters must possess a general game and habitat license. Nonresidents from states that do not provide a reciprocal licensing agreement for North Dakota residents must purchase the entire nonresident waterfowl license package.

Veterans and members of the U.S. Armed Forces must possess a resident hunting license, which includes a general game and habitat license and a small game license.

Hunters 16 and older must also possess a federal waterfowl stamp, and youth 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course.

In addition, all hunters must be Harvest Information Program certified. Hunters who do not HIP certify when they buy a North Dakota license can add it by visiting the state Game and Fish Department website at, or call 888-634-4798 and record the HIP number on their printed license.


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