Photographing the outdoors is always in season

Doug Leier
North Dakota Game and Fish Department

If you’re like me, at some point you begin to realize tasks and skills you struggle with make you appreciate those who make it look easy. From driving a golf ball straight down the fairway, to fixing a leaky faucet, to shooting wildlife photographs.

I marvel at the work of golfers, electricians and plumbers. While I’m not a golfer, I’ve played a few rounds of mini-golf and hitting in the water comes naturally to me. Where there’s electrical work and plumbing to be done, I pick up the phone.

So, when it comes to outdoor photography my skill is more suited for the mini-golf version but my appreciation for those who can see and shoot topnotch photographs continues to grow the older I get.

National statistics show watchable wildlife and photography is enjoyed by millions. Don’t believe me? Don’t think you fit the definition? If you’ve ever stopped and watched a young fawn wobbling on new legs, gazed in amazement at a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower, or taken a moment to appreciate any of North Dakota’s vast array of game or nongame wildlife, count yourself part of the watchable wildlife family.

As you spend time camping, fishing, hiking and exploring North Dakota’s outdoors, here’s a reminder that the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest for 2022 is now accepting entries.

This is an annual photo contest that actually got its start more than 30 years ago as a promotion for the state’s nongame wildlife tax checkoff.

Winning photos are displayed on the Department's website and in the January issue of North Dakota OUTDOORS, the Department's monthly magazine.

The contest has categories for nongame and game species, as well as plants/insects. An overall winning photograph is chosen, along with a number of place winners in each.

Here’s some other particulars:

  • Photographers interested in sending photos for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Watchable Wildlife Photo Contest are reminded to follow the guidelines for submitting their work.
  • Photographers should go to the Game and Fish Department’s website at Then it is a matter of providing some pertinent information about the photo and uploading it. Doing so helps both with ease of submitting photos for the photographer and managing those images for department staff.
  • Contestants are limited to no more than five entries.
  • Photos must be taken in North Dakota.
  • Submission deadline is October 3, 2022.
  • By submitting an entry, photographers grant permission to Game and Fish to publish winning photographs in North Dakota OUTDOORS magazine, and on the Department’s website, as well as the agency social media channels.

There’s something to be said for the beauty of the badlands, rolling hills of the coteau, lake-bottom flats of the Red River Valley and the vast array of wildlife species with which we share our all-too-short summer. Taking a few shots to appreciate and share the sights is a great addition to any outdoor exploration.