The North Dakota Game and Fish Department wants ranchers to be aware of practices to protect hay and other feed supplies from deer and other big game animals this winter. Drought conditions across the state have resulted in hay shortages, and if combined with severe winter conditions, can result in depredation to hay and other feed supplies.
The Game and Fish Department can discuss which practices ranchers can use and programs available to protect hay from wildlife. Ranchers are encouraged to store hay in a manner and location that reduces damage by wildlife, such as stacking bales where they can be accessed easily if winter conditions deteriorate.
Through the department’s Private Land Initiative, temporary plastic fence and permanent fencing or panels may be available for ranchers experiencing chronic depredation problems. A limited supply of materials for permanent fencing is available for 2021, however, ranchers can still contact Game and Fish to get on a list for permanent fencing materials for 2022.
Ensuring adequate deer harvest in an area can also help reduce depredation. Landowners can visit with Game and Fish about ways to increase deer harvest through walk-in hunting access programs, “Ask Before You Enter” hunting signs, or a landowner-contact program that provides hunter contact information to landowners wanting to trim doe numbers on their property.
For help or more information on how to protect hay supplies, available fencing supplies or increasing deer harvest in your area, visit the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov, or call the main office in Bismarck at 701-328-6300, or a local district office.