Arkansas cut their mallard limit to 3 last season to get additional days. In addition to that, they have reportedly had a few "bad" seasons in a row. I haven't heard of any guides going out of business there. I would guess large numbers of NRs would continue to come to ND with 3 & 30--some of us won't take up golf no matter how bad the duck hunting gets.
Guess my feeling is a conservative bag limit will end the stampede to get into ND for "easy hunting and big bag limits".
While I realize you can not stock pile ducks, and liberal seasons are what they are ... I would still enjoy a 3 or 4 mallard / 4 duck limit.
The dedicated waterfowl hunter will remain, while the fly-by-night hunters will seek a new opp somewhere else.
The people who feel they must limit to be successful will reach that goal more often. For those that are beyond that level, should not matter what the bird limit is.
Your right Mr. Jones. So if a more conservative season is implemmented than it would be 40 or 45 days in the Central and 30 in MS? Every one east of the Pacific Flyway would get three ducks.
No Chris there is nothing yet. Looking at the new "DU" map - pretty dry except around the MB, SK, ND border area.
Just have a feeling that unless May rains spring eternal that the feds will error on the conservative side rather than the liberal side this year. Time for a model readjustment (tweak) or mallard theshold target change.
I agree with parts of many of the comments. Lower limits and/or less plentiful shooting will likely keep some from coming and/or stop the growth, but I don't think the crowding situation will improve.
Some have argued no need for caps on the "Mother Nature" theory - that when it goes dry so will the hunter numbers. Even in an extended dry period, I don't think we'll ever see the 5K non residents we had for many years in the late '80's and early '90's. I think we're in a new paradigm with the media/internet attention ND has received, the diversity of hunters we've experienced and the proliferation of guides/outfitters. As GG noted, for many, ND will still offer superior hunting to their home areas.
I hope I'm wrong, because when we go dry, we're really going to feel the effects of pressure, crowding and even more so the G/O's. It's a recipe for frustration when the birds get concentrated and everyone (G/O's and their clients and the non-fee hunters, including a heavy dose of nonresident freelancers) vies for the fewer productive areas.
With dryer conditions and lower limits apparently on the way, we may well have "peaked" in terms of total waterfowl hunter numbers, but I think our pressure/competition issues will remain and may feel more severe.
Not an answer, nor a solution - just a situation that may play out - if not this year then ....
Yep - drought will not be EASY to the ND waterfowl hunter (short term situation anyway). Those that adapt will find excellent hunting.
Most consistent hunting in ND is on local birds - at least until mid/end of October.
Local Canada geese will not reproduce at same level. Local geese will concentrate onto remaining wetlands (good or bad depending upon access).
Ducks will be very concentrated (good or bad depending upon access).
The snow goose hunting was great during the last drought ('80s and early '90s) - probably not going to save ND hunting this time around. Just 15 years ago the opening day of waterfowl could be a great day of snow goose hunting over decoys - try that now.
Then again maybe Huns will have a chance at a comeback.
I have to agree with Dan; I think North Dakota has shifted paradigms brought on by a whole sundry lot. You have the North Dakota Tourism Department selling its soul, proliferation of guides/outfitters, seasonal tourism dollars in the tills of the small towns, television, internet, and last but not least word of mouth or the friend of a friend passage.
Speaking as a non-resident, I will continue to come to ND because the alternative in California simply falls short on every level. If you want to play in this recreation arena in CA, you have to come with a wallet that contains huge sums of money. Unfortunately, every non-resident that has visited from a State where leasing or clubs are Vogue, the choice is simple, save your money for a 7 - 14 day trip to N.D. The thought of shelling out $1,500 to hunt on a lease is extreme, especially when you and 600 other "members" are vying for that hunting blind. On the flip side, you can shell out maybe 2/3 or even 1/2 that amount and have freedom to do what you want with a very high amount of obtainable game species.
And I really have to agree that the sportsmanship and behavior while in the field will even further erode to despicable levels. As I have stated numerous times, one of the most unfortunate problems with a vast number of NRs is the subconscious assertion of paying a higher license fee somehow entitles that person to shoot a limit at whatever cost. And if you have a G/O with paying clients competing with all others, sportsmanship will be something that is discussed by elders and referenced in the past tense.
DRY, holy cripes, we aren't dry up here.
Neither is sask. and manitoba. Who produces more ducks, inner city fargo or the lake region, manitoba, and sask.
This dry talk is a ploy by you big city boys and a california kookoo bird who would like to brainwash people into thinking that duck numbers are dangerously low. Come on, take a drive up by lake alice and lake irvine. I beg to differ on the low duck numbers. Sure if alls you do is sit at your computer in fargo and never leave your office, obviously duck numbers are going to seem low.
Dan, better make a trip up with winstone here one of these days, I will show you duck numbers that you wouldn't believe.
When the fall flight counts come out I will make my judgements on how the birds have done this spring based on expert opinions. While I understand that you are seeing many ducks around and there seems to be plenty of water. To rip on others about there discussion and claiming that they are trying to "brainwash" people into thinking that the bird numbers are low is ludicris. Please tell me what your expert qualifications are so I can be sure that I can trust your "judgement"?
CK, you've got good water in your area and the ducks responded last year and apparently this year too. But, unless things have changed dramatically from last fall, much of the duck belt in the central and south part of the state does not have good water. After the early part of the season I move from your area south, and last fall I walked across in boots potholes I tip-toed through in waders the year before.
If Canada now gets wet and you stay wet, overall duck numbers in our flyway might not take a huge hit, but unless other areas of the ND duck belt get wet again, pressure will worsen as birds and hunters in ND concentrate. HPC was never about duck numbers. It was about targeting total hunter numbers to anticipated hunting opportunities, i.e., amount of water and likely bird dispersion throughout the state. You may not feel it will affect you personally, but if the northern tier is the only wet area of the state, how would the quality of hunting generally in the northern tier be affected if 25 of the 30k nonresidents and an equal proportion of the residents all worked that area? Elbow to elbow hunters, frustrations from competition causing people to boat into and shoot big and other roost water and premature outmigration. Total bird population only drives part of the reasonable hunter number analysis.
Don't mean to reiterate, but I put on another 3500 miles this spring, and most of it was rural.
Dan is right. If you go south of I-94 it's very dry. I haven't seen anything promising until north of HW 200. I was just in your area last weekend so I can agree with your judgement that it's still very wet up there.
I don't think I need to speak for Albert, Sask. and Manitoba as to their duck production the past 3 years. They've been dry...extremely dry in Alberta and Sask. (I was in Sask. last fall so I saw it for myself)
Granted they are getting much needed rains this spring, so it could turnaround. I'll leave the brainwashing to PETA. :wink:
How about 23years of avid hunting. I was there in the glory of the late 70's and early 80's. I was there in the lean years of the late 80's and early 90's and right now is better than any of it.
I also studied at VCSU under the venerable Archie Moore for two years.
I know I am not a wildlife biologist but hey my fiance and I spend three to four days a week driving around our farm wether to look at birds, moose, deer, or just to go to the private range and shoot some clay pigeons. If I compare the duck numbers to previous years I do not see the dramatic decrease you all speak of.
Southwest of Jamestown the big water is still holding well. The small ponds and brood area's have little to no water. With the rain last weekend most potholes had water in talking to a coulpe of farmers today they daid this water is all but gone. The northern 1/3 has very good conditions and will have I belive a good production year if it doesn't turn cold and wet in late May or June causeing hatchling mortality. The ducks have moved out and are not nesting in our area. They have moved to other area's, a pond filling rain will help some of the ducks that did stay, but won't bring ducks back to nest.
I hope we get some rain to fill up these ponds so that the birds have some place stage on the flight south this fall, if not CK you will be wondering where all the birds went do to constant hunting pressure from all of the hunters that will be targeting your area. Many other sites are pointing hunters to your area due to the fact it is one of the few area's in the state that have average or above water conditons. I think that you will get your wish and a education in what to much hunting pressure will do to your hunting quality this fall. I hope I am wrong but I think time will prove my opnions right.
Well, It is not like I close my eyes until I get to our land then open them. We also could have used a little more hunting pressure last year to keep the birds active a little more.
Talk about seeing the world through a rolled up newspaper, I don't think some of you have ever thought outside the box of your own little comfort zone in your entire lives. Living with that my idea, my opinions, my own interests must be a very miserable lifestyle to live.
As far as too much pressure ruining MY hunting, come on, I put out over 70 to 100 posted signs every year just for that reason.
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