Dakota Country Magazine October 2016 Edition - Page 39

Dakota Digest ND Game and Fish Allocates Eight Bighorn Sheep Licenses The ND Game and Fish Department is allocating eight bighorn sheep licenses for the 2016 hunting season, based on data collected from a recently completed summer population survey. Two licenses are available in Unit B1, two in B3 and three in B4. In addition, one license as authorized under North Dakota Century Code was auctioned in March by the Midwest Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, from which all proceeds are used to enhance bighorn sheep management in North Dakota. Game and Fish Department wildlife chief Jeb Williams said the bighorn population hasn’t had any recent setbacks from bacterial pneumonia, which prompted Game and Fish to close the hunting season in 2015. “There are currently good numbers of mature rams on the landscape, and we’re going to take advantage of providing as much hunter opportunity as possible with the situation that we have,” Williams said. “We feel good that we are able to provide this opportunity, as impacts from the die-off have lessened substantially since 2014, but it is also very unpredictable.” Big game biologist Brett Wiedmann said license numbers are determined by assessing the age structure and total number of rams in the population. The July-August survey showed a minimum of 103 rams in the badlands, an increase of 18 percent from 2015. A total of 10,380 people applied for a bighorn sheep license. Lake Sturgeon Project at Big Stone A cooperative effort between South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and Minn. Department of Natural Resources could result in the return of a large, prehistoric fish that once swam the border waters of Big Stone Lake. On Sept. 1, the third release in a series of lake sturgeon stockings took place on Big Stone Lake at Hartford Beach State Park north of Milbank. “Historically, Big Stone Lake had a wild lake sturgeon population, but the last known fish washed up on shore in 1946,” said GFP aquatic biologist Chelsey Pasbrig. The two state agencies are coordinating a project to release at least 4,000 tagged lake sturgeon fingerlings per year for up to 20 years. Since fall 2014, 17,000 fingerlings have been stocked into Big Stone Lake. Only five inches long at the time of stocking, lake sturgeon can exceed 100 years in age and weigh more than 200 pounds. Regulations are currently in place to protect lake sturgeon, as law currently prohibits their take in waters of Minnesota and South Dakota. www.dakotacountrymagazine.com • World Class WATERFOWLING! • World Class FALL FISHING! Devils Lake’s Only Full Service Hunting and Fishing Lodge! • Bait Shop • Camp Store • Guide Service • Restaurant • Lounge • Deluxe Lodge & Motel • Indoor Cleaning Facility • Cabins, Suites & Motel Rooms 1012 Woodland Drive (701) 662-5996 www.woodlandresort.com Dakota Country, October 2016, Page 39