- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s Game and Fish Department has set dates and regulations for the waterfowl hunting season and is accepting license applications for the fall turkey season.

Opening day is Sept. 26 for North Dakota residents hunting ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. Nonresidents may begin hunting waterfowl in North Dakota on Oct. 3. Two noteworthy changes are daily bag limits of two canvasback ducks and three white-fronted geese, an increase from last year’s limit of one duck and one goose.

“Population surveys over the last several years have shown increases in those species,” state Wildlife Chief Jeb Williams said. “The numbers in their breeding range, in the Canadian provinces, have been increasing. That’s the most important factor.”

The duck season closes Dec. 6 in both the Low Plains and High Plains units. It reopens in the High Plains Unit on Dec. 12 and runs through Jan. 3. The unit encompasses northwestern North Dakota and all areas south and west of the Missouri River.

The season for Canada geese closes Dec. 4 statewide, except in the Missouri River zone, where it closes Jan. 1. The zone is along the Missouri River south of Garrison Dam. The season for whitefronts closes Dec. 6, while the season on light geese is open through Jan. 3.

A special youth waterfowl hunting season is Sept. 19-20. Licensed residents and nonresidents aged 15 years or younger can hunt statewide.

Game and Fish is making 3,655 licenses available for the fall turkey season Oct. 10-Jan. 3. That is 150 fewer than last year but not a significant drop.

“We really look at that as essentially staying the same,” Williams said. “Wild turkey populations in North Dakota, being they’re a non-native bird, ebb and flow.”

The birds were introduced in the state in the 1960s to boost hunting opportunities.

The deadline is Sept. 2 for North Dakota residents to apply for the first license lottery. Out-of-state hunters can apply for fall turkey licenses that are still available following the first lottery.

There once again will be special bow hunts in Bismarck and Fargo to reduce numbers of nuisance turkeys in residential areas, along with experimental hunting on state Corrections Department land south of Bismarck.

Hunting Unit 21 in Hettinger and Adams counties and Unit 53 in Divide and Williams counties will remain closed to fall turkey hunting because of low bird numbers.

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