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Doug Leier, Published July 31 2012

Leier: End of summer doesn't mark end of outdoors activities

Fargo - Even if you don’t have kids in school, the circadian rhythm, as I refer to it, is evident. When school is out, summer starts. When practices for fall sports begin, the sand is almost out of the summer hourglass.

Some North Dakota schools didn’t hold graduation until early June, and by the first week of August school activities and informational meetings start to take the place of “free time” for the kids. It seems like “summer” used to be closer to 90 days than 60, and hunting season used to begin and end in fall.

Most hunters will lament how short the seasons are in North Dakota. However, with the Aug. 15 opening of the early Canada goose season, and archery deer season beginning Aug. 31 and not ending until the calendar shows 2013, that’s more than four months when some type of major season is open.

While some hunting seasons have expanded in recent years, it’s not time to put the rod and reel away just yet. In reality, about a third of the summer is still left on the calendar, and plenty of good fishing days await.

For those who enjoy the expanded Canada goose hunting opportunities the August opener affords, go for it. This year the daily limit is increased to 15 birds. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily, and the season runs through Sept. 7 in the Missouri River zone, and through Sept. 15 in the rest of the state.

While I’ve always associated August with fishing and baseball rather than hunting and football, perhaps that’s something I need to rethink. While temperatures might be warmer than a typical fall morning or evening, the early goose season can provide some tremendous hunting opportunities.

For those who feel a bit lulled as we approach the backside of summer, let me offer up a suggestion to perk up summer fishing. Take a kid fishing. Not just your own, though. Ask your children if they have a friend who might like to go along.

Beyond taking a kid fishing, don’t forget neighbors or friends who may have not been fishing in awhile.

Or how about a gift of fresh fish? Earlier this summer, my son brought a few packages of fresh North Dakota walleye to one of our retired neighbors, a true display of the popular philosophy of sharing the resource. Who knows? A fish dinner might be enough to interest someone in going along, or heading out on their own.

With more than 360 fishing waters in North Dakota, most veteran anglers of our state will agree this is the heyday of fishing. Even though we are fortunate we can start hunting in August, it’s not time to store the fishing rods just yet.

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