CAVALIER Icelandic State Park's Lake Renwick is the site for an ice fishing tournament on Saturday, Feb. 11, sponsored by the Pembina County & Area Sportsman's Club.
The derby begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. The entry fee is $10 per person. Ages 12 and under can enter for free. Prizes will be awarded for the largest northern and perch. Kids and the oldest fisherman to catch a fish will also compete for prizes.
Icelandic State Park is located five miles west of Cavalier on Highway 5. For more information call the park at 265-4561.
Great Lakes wolf population delisted
The recent decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the Great Lakes population of gray wolves from federal protection might not seem as important in North Dakota as some of the other states in the Midwest, but it is significant nonetheless.
Stephanie Tucker, North Dakota Game and Fish Department furbearer biologist, said this development is important because it means the Great Lakes population has recovered enough to no longer warrant protection by the Endangered Species Act. "However, the Great Lakes population region delisting only includes the portion of North Dakota east of U.S. Highway 83 and the Missouri River, thus complicating their management status in our state," Tucker said.
Due to this action, the management of wolves found roaming through the eastern portion of the state will fall back to the State Game and Fish Department under state management guidelines as a protected furbearer. The complicating aspect of the decision is that wolves moving through western North Dakota (west of Highway 83 and the Missouri River) still remain under federal protection because that area falls between the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain boundaries.
"Although we do get rare sightings in North Dakota, we don't have a resident wolf population in the state, or enough suitable habitat to support one; therefore, we have no plans to allow a hunting season on wolves at this point," Tucker said.
State law provides a provision for landowners to protect their property from depredation by a state-managed furbearer. Therefore, landowners in eastern North Dakota could shoot a wolf posing a threat to livestock. However, west of highway 83 and the Missouri River, wolves are still an endangered species under stricter federal protection.
Record numbers in waterfowl survey
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department's annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January showed 279,000 birds, a record high for the number of ducks and geese wintering in the state.
Mike Szymanski, migratory game bird biologist, said an estimated 90,000 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 70,500 were scattered on Lake Sakakawea, which was completely open east of the Van Hook Arm. After summarizing the numbers, a record 190,000 geese were tallied statewide.
"This year's survey was highly abnormal, and numbers of waterfowl within the state were probably underestimated because of the open water and lack of snow statewide," Szymanski said. "The lack of snow cover was especially important in keeping these birds around."
In addition to the record number of geese, mallards reached an all-time high as 88,000 were counted statewide, with 31,000 on Devils Lake.
Survey conditions were generally good, Szymanski said, with record-setting high temperatures in January bringing daytime highs of 15-30 degrees above normal.
Nonresident any-deer bow licenses available
The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will have 682 any-deer bow licenses available to nonresidents in 2012. However, pending the final proclamation, antlerless mule deer may not be legal to harvest within a large area of western North Dakota.
The deadline for applying is April 1. A lottery will be held if more applications are received than licenses available. If licenses remain after April 1, they will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of nonresident any-deer bow licenses available is 15 percent of the previous year's mule deer gun license allocation. The Game and Fish Department issued 4,550 mule deer licenses in the 2011 deer gun lottery.