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Two deer test positive for CWD

A whitetail buck and a mule deer doe in southwestern North Dakota have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, according to Dan Grove, wildlife veterinarian for the state Game and Fish Department.

Since 2009, the total now stands at 11 deer to test positive for CWD in North Dakota, and all were from within unit 3F2.

“The Department takes the risk of CWD to the state’s deer, elk and moose herds seriously,” Grove said. “CWD is considered a permanent disease on the landscape once an area becomes endemic.”

CWD affects the nervous system of members of the deer family and is always fatal. For more information on CWD, refer to the Game and Fish website, gf.nd.gov.

Midwinter waterfowl survey complete

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s annual midwinter waterfowl survey in early January indicated about 135,000 Canada geese in the state.

Andy Dinges, migratory game bird biologist, said that number likely would have been higher, but bitterly cold weather in late December undoubtedly pushed some birds south just prior to the survey.

“However, we still saw a significant increase in the number of Canada geese, as compared to the 26,400 that were recorded last year,” Dinges said. “A year ago, wintering conditions with heavy snowfall were highly unfavorable, which dramatically reduced access to waste grain.”

During the recent survey, an estimated 110,800 Canada geese were observed on the Missouri River, and another 24,000 on Nelson Lake in Oliver County. No waterfowl were recorded on Lake Sakakawea, which froze over just days before the survey. Dinges said, after summarizing the numbers, an additional 16,400 mallards were tallied statewide, most of which were recorded on Nelson Lake.

The 10-year average for the midwinter survey in North Dakota is 95,600 Canada geese and 27,300 mallards.

Game and Fish tallies 2017 violations

While game and fish violations were up in 2017, the number of citations has remained relatively consistent in North Dakota from year to year.

Robert Timian, chief of enforcement for the state Game and Fish Department, said there are three basic causes of violations — intentional disregard of the rules, lack of knowledge of the rules and just simple mistakes.

“Violations due to lack of knowledge can easily be addressed by taking the time to read through the regulations,” Timian said. “Mistakes can be reduced by taking a little more care and time.”

Wardens check thousands of hunters and anglers each year, and Timian said the majority are law-abiding citizens.

Game wardens issued more than 2,500 citations in 2017, compared to nearly 2,300 in 2016 and 2,400 in 2015.

“There are some factors why violations were up in 2017,” Timian said. “For one, we had a full warden staff for the entire year, in addition to one temporary position, and another reason was all of our wardens at one time or another during the 2016 fall hunting seasons and into 2017 were assisting with efforts at the pipeline protest.”

The same violations are near the top of the list every year, such as failure to have a license and boating without the proper number of life jackets. But he emphasized there is one area of violation that has increased every year.

“Aquatic nuisance species violations are up,” he said. “We put a lot of effort into ANS enforcement, as we work toward a time when boaters and anglers make it a habit to check their equipment.”

Counties with the most violations in 2017 were Burleigh with 251, Ramsey with 234, McLean with 206, McKenzie with 175 and Morton with 172.

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