Published November 23, 2022

More Than Hunting and Fishing 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
Sportsmen gathered at the Tioga Community Center for a North Dakota Game and Fish Department Advisory Board meeting on Monday. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)
Sportsmen gathered at the Tioga Community Center for a North Dakota Game and Fish Department Advisory Board meeting on Monday. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

Tioga NDGF Advisory Board Meeting 


Sportsmen gathered at the Tioga Community Center for a North Dakota Game and Fish Department Advisory Board meeting on Monday. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan) 

TIOGA – The North Dakota Game and Fish Department kicked off its fall round of Advisory Board meetings in this community Monday. Sportsmen and landowners gathered to listen to department personnel and to provide input. 

The number of issues discussed included an interesting observation from Game and Fish Director Jeb Williams. 

“The department has just focused on hunting and fishing, but for the last dozen years or so there is an expectation to manage for other things besides fish and wildlife critters,” Williams told those attending. 

Williams referenced the “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act” that has passed the U.S. House and will come before the Senate, likely in December. If the bill passes it would mean about $14 million annually for Game and Fish. 

“It would help some conservation activities in North Dakota, help research and understanding of some of our lesser known critters,” explained Williams. “There’s some value in that. We’ll see where it goes. It opens up some new doors and opportunities, maybe bring in some new landowners.” 

Williams opened the meeting with a discussion on the recent deer gun season, noting that Game and Fish was “not looking at extending deer season.” A positive, he said, was that mule deer numbers were doing pretty well and “not just in the typical mule deer habitat.” 

Epizootic hemorrhagic disease was responsible for a large die-off of white-tailed deer in 2021, primarily along the Missouri River system. This year the department didn’t confirm a single case of EHD. 

A sportsman asked about the possibility of a weighted draw for seniors seeking one of the coveted “Big 3” licenses – moose, elk, or bighorn sheep. The idea is frequently discussed at Advisory Board meetings. 

“For a 60 and over-type scenario, it's just so hard to make work,” said Williams. “It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to do it. You’d close out any opportunities for a new person to get into it.” 

An example, said Williams, is that the odds of getting drawn in the present lottery for a bull elk tag is about half of one percent. A weighted lottery system for seniors would only boost those odds to one percent. 

Casey Anderson, Wildlife Division chief, spoke about the state’s moose population, saying numbers were very good which allowed for more harvest. 

“We’ve tried to put a little bit of pressure on them,” said Anderson. “All the returns aren’t back yet but it looks like the success rate for moose is about 82-85%.” 

In response to a question about the number of Conservation Reserve Program acres in the state, Williams said it was down, citing the difficulty of entering the program. 

“With CRP it just feels like it is going, going gone. It’s getting harder and harder to enroll and the federal CRP cap is less than it was at one time,” said Williams. 

When the next session of the State Legislature convenes in January one of the topics believed to be on the agenda will be the baiting of deer. It has been Game and Fish policy to ban baiting in areas known to be infected by chronic wasting disease, which has spread to several deer hunting units. CWD is spread by the saliva, urine, and feces of infected animals. The disease is irreversible and fatal 

“If we say baiting is okay, I’m not sure as an agency we’re being responsible,” stated Williams. “We feel there’s enough risk that we’d act irresponsibly if we didn’t restrict baiting.” 

Anderson informed the gathering about a 3-year survey nearing completion, which is focused on hunter activity in the Badlands. 

“It’s Badlands archery concerns. Landowners are seeing traffic non-stop. Is there more pressure in the Badlands?” asked Anderson. “They are starting to say the same thing in the northeast, in the Pembina Gorge, that the archery season is getting out of control.” 

The state sold 23,621 resident deer archery tags in 2022 through mid-November. Non-resident tags numbered just over 3,000. Archery deer season starts earlier and lasts far longer than the deer gun season. Also, archery deer hunters are not restricted to a specific hunting unit like deer gun hunters. 

Game and Fish Advisory Board schedule: 

District 6 – Barnes, Dickey, Foster, Griggs, Logan, LaMoure, McIntosh, Stutsman and Wells counties 

Date: November 22 – 7 p.m. 

Location: Eagles Club, 345 12th Ave. NE, Valley City  

Host: Barnes County Wildlife Federation 

Contact: Perry Kapaun, 701-490-1797 

Advisory board member: Cody Sand, Ashley 

District 8 – Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Hettinger, Slope and Stark counties 

Date: November 23 – 7 p.m. 

Location: Choice Financial Bank, 201 Main St. N., Belfield 

Host: Belfield Sportsmen's Club 

Contact: Thumper Braun, 701-575-6674 

Advisory board member: Rob Brooks, Rhame 

District 5 – Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill counties 

Date: November 28 – 7 p.m. 

Location: Community Center, 14497 42nd St. SE, Embden 

Host: Four Corners Wildlife Club 

Contact: Kyle Schultz, 701-361-7429 

Advisory board member: Doug Madsen, Harwood 

District 2 – Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward counties 

Date: November 29 – 7 p.m. 

Location: Mountrail South Complex, 8103 61st St. NW, Stanley 

Host: North Dakota Fur Hunters and Trappers Association 

Contact: Chris Pulver, 701-629-1475 

Advisory board member: Travis Leier, Velva 

District 7 – Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan and Sioux counties 

Date: November 30 – 7 p.m. 

Location: Game and Fish Main Office, 100 N. Bismarck Expressway, Bismarck 

Host: Dakota Pheasants Forever  

Contact and advisory board member: Jody Sommer, Mandan, 701-527-2295  

District 3 – Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties 

Date: December 5 – 7 p.m. 

Location: Eagles Club, 7 8th St. S., New Rockford 

Host: Eddy County Rod and Gun Club 

Contact: Duane Duda, 701-302-0510 

Advisory board member: Edward Dosch, Devils Lake 

District 4 – Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina and Walsh counties 

Date: December 6 – 7 p.m. 

Location: American Legion Club, 701 Main St. W., Cavalier 

Host: Pembina County and Area Sportsmen’s Club 

Contact: Roger Furstenau, 701-265-2960 

Advisory board member: Bruce Ellertson, Lakota 

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