Tags: Gun Control | hunting in north dakota | animals | protected | species

Hunting in North Dakota: 7 Animals Designated Nongame, Endangered, Threatened, and Protected Species

By    |   Wednesday, 03 June 2015 11:57 AM

Many game animals are there for the hunting in North Dakota, but there are plenty that hunters must simply leave alone, under penalty of federal law.

The Bismarck Tribune notes biologists classify about 80 percent of animal species in North Dakota as nongame, meaning that it cannot be hunted.

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The state does not maintain its own endangered species list. However, the North Dakota Field Office of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) lists seven animal species as endangered, meaning dangerously low in number, or threatened, and protected by federal penalties for killing, hunting or otherwise harming.

1. Bighorn Sheep
Although the bighorn is not listed as endangered, low populations blamed on a pneumonia outbreak have led the North Dakota Game and Fish department to cancel the bighorn hunting season for 2015 for the first time in 30 years.

2. Piping Plovers
This small bird was listed as threatened in 1985 because of habitat loss and lack of breeding success. North Dakota is the most important state in the Great Plains for plover nesting, the USFWS says.

3. Least Terns
Smallest of the gull and tern family, this bird has been listed as endangered in 1985, largely because of the loss of habitat from dam construction, the USFWS says.

4. Gray Wolves
Hunted to near-extinction in the 1940s by farmers blaming them unjustly, the USFWS says, for livestock losses, this wolf was listed as endangered in 1978.

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5. Black-footed Ferrets
Collateral damage in the war against the prairie dog, this nongame animal numbered only 18 statewide in 1981, the USFWS says. The ferret was declared endangered in 1970.

6. Whooping Crane
Numbering only 21 statewide in the 1940s, this bird's population rebounded to about 264 in the most recent count, the USFWS says. Still, it's been designated endangered since 1970. The USFWS blames habitat loss and "excessive shooting" for the low numbers.

7. Pallid Sturgeon
This bottom- and bank-dwelling fish lost much of its habitat to damming and riverbank stabilization projects, the USFWS says. Common as late as the 1950s, this prehistoric fish has declined to about 250. It's been listed as endangered since 1990.

Two birds, the Greater Sage Grouse (a game bird) and the Sprague's Pipit, may be proposed for addition to the list, the USFWS says. The North Dakota Game and Fish Departments says there will be no sage grouse hunting season in 2015 because of a low population.

As of 2015, killing a protected species carries federal penalties of up to $3,500 for the first offense, $7,500 for the second offense, and $13,000 for the third offense. Hunting, harming, or capturing such a species carries penalties of $2,000 to $10,000, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of General Counsel.

This article is for information only. Please check current regulations before hunting.

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Many game animals are there for the hunting in North Dakota, but there are plenty that hunters must simply leave alone, under penalty of federal law.
hunting in north dakota, animals, protected, species
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 11:57 AM
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