28 May UND teams up with North Dakota Game and Fish and Traill County for new Wildlife Management Area
CUMMINGS, N.D. — The University of North Dakota has partnered with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department and Traill County to establish a new Wildlife Management Area on University- and County-owned lands in Traill County.
On Tuesday, March 19, Jeb Williams, the North Dakota Game and Fish wildlife division chief, discussed the proposal with members of the Traill County Commission. Within the UND Field Station, there’s an approximate 20-acres plot of county-controlled land that the University and Game and Fish wanted to include in a joint management proposal, pending approval of the County Commission. A memorandum of agreement was signed by all parties in early May 2019.
Faculty members with UND’s Department of Biology had been coordinating with Game and Fish and Traill County on a memorandum of understanding to manage nearly 140 acres of UND-owned mixed forest and prairie about 30 miles south of Grand Forks in Traill County as a way to improve educational and research opportunities for students and faculty, and to provide public hunting opportunities to reduce wildlife impacts on biodiversity and deer-vehicle collisions in the area.
Since 2013, UND and Game and Fish have successfully held similar management agreements for UND Field Stations across eastern North Dakota. This includes, the joint UND-Game and Fish Oakville Prairie Wildlife Management Area (2014) and the 160-acre Forest River Biology Field Station and Wildlife Management Area, which had its management agreement renewed last year.
The UND-Game and Fish Traill County Wildlife Management Area, about 10 miles north of Hillsboro and just east of Interstate 29, is the newest of these jointly managed areas. The arrangements have proven highly effective in fostering the co-existence of science, education and public hunting opportunities on these lands.
Due to its proximity to Interstate 29 and other county roadways, one of the goals of this partnership is to engage the public by providing hunting opportunities to reduce the possible negative impacts to motorists.
The UND-Game and Fish Traill County Wildlife Management Area is now open to public archery-only deer hunting on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Nov. 1. Open access archery deer hunting, with no day of the week restrictions , will be allowed after Nov. 1 until the end of the season in January. Other types of hunting and trapping by the public are prohibited.
Despite the fact that the UND land in Traill County had not previously been open for public hunting, there were recent indications that the area was being trespassed and illegally hunted, UND Wildlife Biologist Jay Boulanger said.
“The relationship with North Dakota Game and Fish enables us to better monitor public archery deer hunting through established channels of regulation and oversight,” said Boulanger.
“At high population densities, deer can cause negative impacts on forested property like the Traill County Field Station. Utilizing the hunting public to help manage deer numbers to promote forest regeneration are important goals for both UND and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department,” Williams said. “This type of relationship simply makes sense.”
There’s also a strong educational component to UND’s co-managed lands as a proving ground for the next generation of wildlife managers, botanists and ecologists.
In the fall of 2018, 10 groups, totaling 117 students from UND, conducted independent research at all four field stations the University manages. These high-impact “outdoor classrooms” enhance the students’ UND educational experience and open doors to research that leads to internships and participation in regional and national conferences.
“As a leader in the educational field of wildlife management, we carry out our mission through a strong foundation of science, education and partnership with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to manage wildlife on and around University lands,” Boulanger said.
David L. Dodds
Director of Communications
Division of Marketing & Communications
University of North Dakota