Fall turkey season set, apply online
North Dakota's fall turkey season is set with 4,145 licenses available to hunters, a decrease of 10 percent from last year. Stan Kohn, upland game management supervisor for the state Game and Fish Department, said harvest and population data from hunting units in the southwest and in some units in the central part of the state indicate poor production and chick recruitment from 2008-2011.
"Even though last winter was beneficial to our turkey population, we don't know what turkey production will be like, and the number of breeding adult birds is lower than in past years," Kohn said. "If turkey production is exceptionally good this spring, an additional 1,300 licenses may be used early this fall in specific hunting units."
An experimental hunting season will continue for the USDA-ARS Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan. A maximum of 30 licenses will be available. An experimental turkey bow-hunting season will continue within the city of Bismarck to help control a growing population of birds in residential areas. A maximum of 25 licenses will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals who are licensed to bow hunt deer within the city.
Hunting units 21 (Hettinger and Adams counties) and 53 (Divide and Williams counties) will remain closed to fall turkey hunting in 2012 because of low turkey numbers. The fall wild turkey season extends from Oct. 13 through Jan. 13, 2013.
Prospective hunters can apply online at (gf.nd.gov). Paper applications will be available in mid-June from Game and Fish Department offices, county auditors and license vendors. Applications for the fall season must be postmarked no later than July 5. Only North Dakota residents are eligible to apply in the first lottery.
Summer water safety
Failure to wear a personal floatation device is the main reason people lose their lives in boating accidents. The National Safe Boating Council warns boaters that most drowning victims had a life jacket available, but were not wearing it when they entered the water.
"It is difficult to put a life jacket on once you are already in the water," said Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. "The single most important part of safety on the water is wearing a personal flotation device."
North Dakota law requires all children ages 10 and younger to wear a personal flotation device while in boats of less than 27 feet in length. The law also requires all personal watercraft users to wear a life jacket, Boldt said, as well as anyone towed on skis, tubes, boards or other similar devices.
When purchasing a PFD, Boldt suggests considering the most prevalent water activity. Water skiers and tubers should wear a life jacket with four nylon straps rather than one with a zipper, because straps are stronger than zippers upon impact with water. Anglers or persons paddling a canoe should opt for a PFD that is comfortable enough to wear for an entire outing.
Water skiers and tubers are reminded it takes three to ski and tube. When a person is towed on water skis or a similar device, an observer other than the operator is required on the vessel.
It is important for swimmers to know water depth, as serious injuries can occur from diving into water. Large objects hidden below the water's surface can lead to significant injury.
North Dakota boaters also are reminded that marine VHF radios are an important part of boat safety that should not be improperly used by operators. Boldt said they are intended for boat operators who are in distress and facing an emergency situation.
Boats need registration
Boat owners are reminded to display a blue and white validation sticker with an expiration year of "13" on their watercraft. The current three-year registration cycle runs through Dec. 31, 2013. All boat registrations with an orange decal expired Dec. 31, 2010.
Boat registrations can be renewed online at the department's website, (gf.nd.gov). Boat owners who need a renewal notice should contact the North Dakota Game and Fish Department by email at email@example.com or call 328-6335.