You’ve been busy all summer, and now winter is closing in. We’ve been blessed with a mild October..only a few snowflakes when some Octobers we’ve already had two blizzards. So, here’s motivation to get out and see North Dakota wild before it get’s unbearable — check the wild open spaces of North Dakota.
Later in the day, especially along the river, you can see some of the state’s largest wildlife — mule deer and white tail deer. They’re not easy to see because they blend in so well. Deer in the brush, down in a slough will only pause a moment before they take off.
Pheasants are more easily spotted if you’re in central or southwestern North Dakota. They like the cover provided by wetland grasses, tall pastures and stubble fields. Often they’re along the side of the road and can get up just as you pass by, which can mean a broken grill.If you have a dog with you, he can help you see them because they’ll huddle down in the tall grass until the last moment.
Hungry hawks will be lingering on perches such as fence posts, telephone poles and trees. Click here to get the ND Game and Fish guide to identifying ND Hawks.
A group of blackbirds is most correctly called either a cloud, a cluster, murmeration or a merle of blackbirds. Did you know a similar group of larger birds, such as crows is called “a murder?”
Central North Dakota, through the prairie pothole region east of the Missouri River, is under the Central or Midway flyway where waterfowl migrate across the region. That’s why through much of October, depending on weather, Great Canadian Geese are in fields and waterholes. A stroll along an unused road with my dog kicks up geese from their hiding places.
As long as you’re in the wetlands region of North America, stick around until about 6:00 p.m. — sunset. The hour before, the golden hour with long shadows and a golden filter on the sun is great photo time. Immediately after sunset, sunsets in the sky are repeated in waterholes where geese and ducks are floating.
Finally, the most rewarding and hardest to spot wildlife is south of Watford City along the Little Missouri River. Big Horn Sheep populate the area. I’ve never worked too hard at trying to spot them, which may be why I’ve only seen them once or twice. If you’re careful not to spook them, they’ll pose for you.
Other rare-to-spot animals in the state that run free are moose and mountain lions. Moose sometimes wander in to towns or farmsteads. Have you seen one in town? Or mountain lions — have you spotted one? What is the predominant wildlife you spot in the fall where you live?