With tough winter so far, a reminder to respect wildlife in ND

Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 9:31 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. - While enjoying the great outdoors this winter, it’s important to keep your distance from wildlife.

Winter started early this year with a significant blizzard in mid-November. Coupled with more snow and frigid temperatures in December, winter has been tough on wildlife.

“They’re pretty much hunkering down in good winter cover that’s close to food. They try not to expend a lot of energy in harsh conditions like this, so they don’t have to go searching for food and that kind of stuff. So they’re really relying on their fat and energy reserves to get them through the winter,” said Levi Jacobson, wildlife resource management supervisor at ND Game and Fish.

At this time of year when we’re gifted with nice sunny days and no wind, people are anxious to get outside to enjoy their favorite winter activities.

“Whether it’s snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, all that stuff, we encourage to get out there and use our outdoors,” said Jacobson.

However, there are some areas people need to be aware of while outdoors.

“We just like people to be cognizant of these wintering areas where there’s high populations close to food and stuff. These animals don’t need any more stress than they’re already going through. So, if people could avoid those areas that’d be great,” said Jacobson.

Here are some recommendations if you’re planning to go snowmobiling.

“I would recommend finding the trails on snowmobilend.com. Sticking to the trails and really avoiding those areas where there’s good winter cover and high populations of wildlife,” said Jacobson.

Jacobson also recommends people who shed hunt should stay clear of wintering habitat until the snow melts and temperatures climb.

If you witness someone harassing wildlife, call the Report All Poachers line at 701-328-9921.