The Minot Daily News is once again requesting that hunters photograph their dogs in the field this fall and submit their favorite photographs for possible publication on these pages. The purpose is to emphasize what flushing and pointing dogs do in the field to make a hunter's day more rewarding.
Entries will be accepted by e-mail only to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should include the name, breed and age of the dog, the date the photo was taken, approximately where it was taken and a contact number for the owner of the dog.
Brief comments explaining the photo or comments about the dog are welcome and will be considered for publication.
As in past years, the photographs will be compiled and published in this Outdoor's section following the completion of the upland game hunting season in January 2012.
Youth Pheasant Weekend scheduled
All youth 15 years of age or younger are invited to participate in a Youth Pheasant Hunt sponsored by Minot's Pheasants for the Future. Participants must have completed their Hunter's Education requirements and be properly licensed.
The hunt will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Pheasants for the Future Youth Hunting Area located south of Minot. Parents are encouraged to accompany their son or daughter in the field. The adult may not carry a firearm. Adult volunteer supervisors will also be available to ensure that all youth hunters will be given a chance to enter the field.
The Youth Only Hunting Area is located three miles west on 37th Avenue Southwest, then one mile south on 46th Street Southwest. Pre-registration is requested. For further information contact 240-8041.
Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Youth ages 12 and older need to have passed a certified hunter education course. The daily bag limit and all other regulations for the regular pheasant season apply.
Hunters encouraged to donate their deer
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is encouraging deer hunters to consider donating a deer to the Sportsman Against Hunger program.
Sportsman Against Hunger is a charitable program that raises money for processing of donated deer, and coordinates distribution of ground venison to food pantries in North Dakota. It is administered by the North Dakota Community Action Partnership, a nonprofit agency that serves low-income families across the state.
"We strongly support the donation program and hope that deer hunters will do the same, not only during the early seasons, but the regular deer gun, archery and muzzleloader seasons," said Terry Steinwand, Game and Fish Department director.
"We have enough funding for the program to grow this year," said Ann Pollert, North Dakota Community Action Partnership executive director. "And our food pantries tell us they have a demand for all the venison we can provide them."
A current statewide list of participating Sportsman Against Hunger venison donation processing sites is available by accessing the North Dakota Community Action Partnership Web site, located at (capnd.org).
Large duckmflight anticipated
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's May and July waterfowl surveys indicate hunters can expect a large fall flight similar to recent years. Opening day for North Dakota residents was Sept. 24.
Mike Johnson, game management section leader, said, "This year's production was down from last year, however, there are strong indications of an exceptional late hatch of ducks this year. "Since our surveys have been completed, observers have been seeing large numbers of newly hatched ducks throughout the state."
The brood index from the Game and Fish Department's annual mid-July survey was down 26 percent from 2010, but was 19 percent above the long-term average. Average brood size was 7.7 ducklings, up 1.0 from last year. The long-term average is 7.1 ducklings per brood. The water index observed during the survey was up 52 percent from last year and 105 percent above long-term.
Results from the May breeding duck survey indicated the duck index was down 9 percent from 2010, but exceeded the long-term average by 85 percent. Water conditions in May were up 31 percent from 2010 and 128 percent from the long-term average.
Hunters should refer to the waterfowl hunting guide for season regulations including licensing requirements, dates, bag limits, season zones and nonresident hunting zones.
Hunting from duck boats requires safety
Waterfowlers hunting from boats are encouraged to wear properly-fitted life jackets while on the water.
Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said there are comfortable jackets available with life jackets already built in.
"They are no longer too bulky to wear," Boldt said. "You can't even tell you have one on."
Eight people have drowned in state waters since 1998 while hunting from a boat, and none were wearing life jackets. Boldt wants to make sure a duck hunter doesn't become another statistic.
"Capsizing and falling overboard from small boats are the most common types of fatal boating accidents for hunters," Boldt added. "With all the gear in the boat, including dogs, it can quickly become unbalanced."
In addition, wearing a life jacket will not only keep the overboard hunter afloat, but also help him or her to slow the loss of critical body heat caused by exposure to cold water.