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Doug Leier, Published April 29 2007

Time for a little spring cleaning

As April gives way to May, I can’t say I have ever found myself wishing that April would stick around – save for some turkey hunting. For me, April is more of a gearing up and getting ready type of month, rather than feet on the ground (in the mud?) and getting it all done that May entails.

Once May is here, I will no longer be organizing my tackle box. Truthfully, odds are my tackle box needs organizing on any given day. So here goes with a few spring cleaning reminders.

Licensing

About the first item I will suggest is to take a look at your wallet and check your license. In North Dakota, fishing and other general licenses are not issued on a 365-day validity basis. What I mean is, if you bought a fishing license in late January for ice fishing, you’ll still need to buy a new license now, as the license cycle runs April 1-March 31, 2008.

The same goes for the popular combination license. That too expired on March 31. So before the fishing itch completely engulfs you, check your wallet. If you need a new license, log on to gf.nd.gov and you can take care of the paperwork right from your computer. One last tip on buying a license online: If you want to print off an extra copy or two of your license and put one in your tackle box, and another in your desk at home ... you can.

Hunting

If you were successful on your spring turkey hunt, congratulations. If not, there’s a few days left as turkey season runs until May 13. While late season turkey hunting can be difficult, it’s still an enjoyable time of year to get out and about.

With a turkey in the freezer you might also need to check your shotgun before you turn full attention to spring and summer fishing. Many hunters enjoy a little time snow goose hunting, and others drew spring turkey tags. Whatever the case, check to see if your gun has been properly cleaned and stored.

I would venture to say even a few readers may have not cleaned their guns after fall deer or December pheasant hunting. Take a look now as when it comes to our valued firearms, you can never be too cautious.

And one other note. If you hunted snow geese this spring, and took the plug out of your shotgun, make sure to put it back in now. That will help you avoid a frantic search before the early goose season opens, or the potential embarrassment of a ticket for an unplugged shotgun

Fishing

Maybe you haven’t had the time to get your angling gear worked over for the upcoming season. Better late than never.

Checking rods, tips, eyelets and replacing line, along with giving the old tackle box a once-over is better done now than the night before you head for the water. While North Dakota fishing seasons are truly open year-round, many anglers wait until water and air temperatures increase before heading for the lakes and rivers.

One season that does have a defined opening is the paddlefish season. One major change from last year allows up to seven days of snag-and-release only fishing if the harvest quota of 1,000 fish is reached before the season officially closes May 31.

Last year, the quota was reached before May was even half over, so the additional days will provide recreation for people who bought a paddlefish tag but did not have a change to use it.

There’s no shortage of spring cleaning items. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If there’s a garage to clean or other work around the house, try to get it finished up now, so you can spend more time this May … outdoors.

Leier, a biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in West Fargo, can be reached at dleier@nd.gov

Leier’s blog can be found online at www.areavoices.com