This uniquely colored mallard duck has been spending the winter in open water below a small dam on the east edge of Minot's Roosevelt Park. The duck appears to be a cross between a mallard and a domestic duck, which is a likely cause of its albino-like coloration.
A few mallards and Canada geese have been utilizing the open water in the Souris River this winter. Because the zoo's regular cast of birds and animals have been relocated since the flood of 2011, the mallards and geese provide some viewing pleasure.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife hosts art contest
Elementary, middle and high school teachers are encouraged to have their students participate in the annual Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest, an integral part of the seventh annual national Endangered Species Day, celebrated on May 18.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and numerous conservation organizations will observe Endangered Species Day to recognize conservation efforts underway across the nation aimed at helping America's imperiled species.
Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day is a celebration of the nation's rarest plant and animal species. The Youth Art Contest provides students from kindergarten to high school with an opportunity to learn about endangered species and express their knowledge and support through artwork. Young artists who are home schooled and participate in youth groups are also eligible to submit their art. Entries must be postmarked by March 15.
The Youth Art Contest will be judged by a panel of artists, photographers and conservationists. Winners will be chosen in four categories: kindergarten through grade two, grades three through five, grades six through eight and grades nine through 12, and will receive plaques and art supply gift packs. In addition, one grand prize winner will be honored with their name engraved on a special trophy and receive a round-trip flight to Washington, D.C., with one guardian to attend a reception in May. The grand prize winner will also receive a special art lesson (via Skype) from well-known artist Wyland.
The Youth Art Contest is organized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art / University of New Orleans.
For more information, including judging criteria and an entry form, visit (www.endangeredspeciesday.org).
Results announced in ice fishing derby
Results were released as follows in the annual Granville Masons Ice Fishing Derby, held Feb. 4 at Buffalo Lodge Lake:
Northern pike results:
1 Jessy Lystad, Granville, 11 pounds, 5 ounces.
2 Jim Degree, Minot, 9 pounds, 5 ounces.
1 (tie) Mickey Merck, Karlsruhe; Nathan Kraft, Surrey; Blake Myers, Berthold; Dan Ross, Minot.
Spring light goose licenses available
The state's spring season for light goose hunting opens Feb. 18 and continues through May 6. Residents can hunt during the spring season by having last fall's 2011-12 bird licenses. Otherwise, hunters will need to purchase either a 2012-13 combination license; or a small game, and general game and habitat license.
Nonresidents, regardless of age, need a 2012 spring light goose season license. The cost is $50 and the license is good statewide. A federal duck stamp is not required for either residents or nonresidents. Licenses are available only from the Game and Fish Department's Bismarck office, the department's website at (gf.nd.gov), or by calling (800) 406-6409.
Hunters must obtain a new Harvest Information Program registration number before venturing out into the field. The HIP number can be obtained online or by calling (888) 634-4798. The HIP number is good for the fall season as well.
The Game and Fish Department will provide hunters with migration updates once geese have entered the state. Hunters can access the department's website, or call 328-3697, to receive generalized locations of bird sightings in North Dakota until the season ends or geese have left the state. Migration reports will be updated periodically during the week.
The spring season is only open to light geese snows, blues, and Ross's. Species identification is important because white-fronted and Canada geese travel with light geese. The season is closed to whitefronts, Canada geese, swans and all other migratory birds.
The statewide season is open through May 6. Shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. There is no daily bag limit or possession limit. Electronic and recorded calls, as well as shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, may be used to take light geese during this season.
There are no waterfowl rest areas designated for the spring season. Hunters should note that private land within waterfowl rest areas closed last fall may be posted closed to hunting.
Nontoxic shot is required for hunting all light geese statewide. Driving off established roads and trails is strongly discouraged during this hunt because of the likelihood of soft, muddy conditions, and winter wheat that is planted across the state. Sprouted winter wheat is considered an unharvested crop. Therefore, hunting or off-road travel in winter wheat is not legal without landowner permission.
Park sets Valentine-themed nature hike
For those looking for a different way to celebrate Valentine's Day, Fort Abraham Lincoln is offering a unique opportunity, a Valentine Nature Hike through the park on Sunday, Feb. 12 starting at 1 p.m.
The hike will start at the Visitor Center, making its way to Cavalry Square with a stop at the Custer House where couples can have their picture taken on the porch which will be decorated to commemorate the event. The hike is expected to take about 45 minutes and will conclude at the Visitors Center where participants will be treated to refreshments.
For more information about the Valentine Nature Hike call Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park at 667-6340.
NRA plans annual meetings, exhibits
ST. LOUIS The National Rifle Association is pleased to announce this year's Annual Meetings and Exhibits to be held at America's Center in St. Louis from April 12-15. Over 60,000 attendees are expected at this year's Annual Meetings and Exhibits, making this one of the largest in the group's 141-year history. Leading firearm manufacturers will display the firearm industry's latest and greatest products. Guides and outfitters, various hunting and shooting accessories, and an extensive private collection displayed by NRA-affiliated gun collector clubs will fill acres of convention space.
This year's featured artist will be country music superstar and lifetime NRA member Trace Adkins. Special guests include award-winning comedian Larry the Cable Guy and political commentator Glenn Beck. Additionally, NRA offers diverse seminars throughout the three-day convention.