Snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle riders are reminded to keep their distance from wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Robert Timian, North Dakota Game and Fish Department chief of enforcement, warns outdoor recreationists that it is illegal to flush, pursue and chase wildlife with snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles.
"Riders are reminded to observe state laws that protect wildlife and its habitat," Timian said. "Harassing or chasing of wildlife not only stresses animals, but is also illegal."
Running snowmobiles near, through, or around winter habitat such as thickets, cattails and wooded areas may inadvertently scare wintering wildlife, causing them additional stress or injury. "Snowmobilers should take this into consideration to avoid unnecessary stress on wildlife," Timian said.
District game wardens receive a number of calls each winter related to people on snowmobiles chasing wildlife, particularly coyotes. Snowmobiles can be used off an established trail while fox or coyote hunting, Timian said, but they cannot be used to flush, chase or pursue.
Observers witnessing harassment or chasing of wildlife are encouraged to call the Report All Poachers hotline at 800-472-2121. "Illegal activities can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Timian said. "We need people to report this."
Riders are encouraged to use snowmobile trails and avoid situations that could disturb wildlife. Information on the North Dakota trail system is available at the Snowmobile North Dakota web site at www.snowmobilend.com .