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8340 Views 18 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  prairie hunter
There was an article in the Forum and an idea brought up at the Judiciary Committiee Meeting. I like it. I'm going to add an email address for Lois Delmore, the Chairmain, so you can let her know how you feel about this. I'm going to have to say I'm in favor. 30,000 NR is a very high number where your chance of being denied is VERY LOW. And spreading out the numbers will keep pressure down. Great idea in my mind.
N.D. waterfowl compromise emerges
By Janell Cole
The Forum - 04/03/2002
BISMARCK, N.D. - The irresistible forces and the immovable objects in North Dakota's hunting debate got together again Tuesday at the Capitol. But this time, a possible compromise emerged on the subject of the 30,000 nonresident waterfowl hunters who come to North Dakota.

The two sides in the perennial controversy are those who like the economic boost that nonresident hunters bring to the state, versus the resident hunters who say they're losing access to nonfee hunting land because of nonresident hunters. In 1990, there were just 5,500 nonresident waterfowl hunters.

The Legislature's interim Judiciary Committee B is assigned to find a solution in time for the 2003 session. Its chairwoman, Rep. Lois Delmore, D-Grand Forks, and other legislators said they think there is movement toward middle ground, particularly on the topic of the 30,000 waterfowl hunters.

It came in the form of a proposal from Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce director Randy Frost, whose area enjoys the infusion of nonresident duck hunters' cash.

Rather than cap them at 10,000, 12,000 or 15,000, as some propose, he said the state should have only 7,500 come to hunt here in each week of four weeks of hunting.

It will mean the same number of hunters, but spread them out over the season.

It's worth looking at, some members of the committee said after the meeting.

"Hopefully, we're leading up to a bill that can work and bring balance between the two main groups we've got, the sportsmen and the landowners," Delmore said.

She opened the discussion Tuesday with a pep talk to the capacity crowd: "The committee has been asked to deal with a very contentious issue. It's going to have to be a compromise by all involved."

After attending hunting meetings Gov. John Hoeven ordered on the pheasant season opener last month, she hopes to see more of a cooperative spirit.

"Sometimes I'm disillusioned by the very inappropriate comments on both sides," she said. "None of the players is going to win if we keep going at each other."

Rep. Lyle Hanson, D-Jamestown, submitted a proposed bill Tuesday with a cap of 15,000 nonresident waterfowl hunters spread out to at least five. It's similar to a bill he introduced last session that did not pass. But he also didn't dismiss Frost's idea.

The problem was further illustrated by Deputy Game and Fish Commissioner Roger Rostvet, who told the committee that with only 165,000 acres in the department's PLOTS ("private land open to sportsmen") lease program that pays landowners to allow hunting, it's no wonder there is "pressure" and lack of access. Even with the governor's call for an increase to 500,000 in five to seven years, that is small by comparison to the 45 million acres of privately owned land in the state, he said.

"It's still only five acres per person. You can't buy yourself into access for everyone and every purpose in North Dakota," he said.
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Compromise is the key to success here.

The main issue I see with Mr. Frost's plan is that is plays into the guide/outfitter scenario perfectly. They sell packages by the week or part week. The guides can only take so many hunters each week anyway.
By creating blocks of licenses, the guides have their client base stretched out for the entire season.

I would guess that the NR hunter numbers are already spread out through the season. Hotel and lodge availability influence this. Some NRs come early, others around pheasant season, some show up late Oct., others still actually hunt ND in November. The only time where there maybe a spike in NR numbers is around MN teacher's conference days. I would like to see numbers back that up though, I would guess more MN people flock to SD for pheasants that week.

When a NR buys a license they need to specify dates. The ND Game and Fish department should know already if there are weeks of heavy hunting pressure or not.

Why not drop the number of total days to 10 or EVEN 8 that could be split into two blocks - wouldn't you have the same effect ?

Reduce the number of NR hunter days in ND.

SD has unlimited pheasant hunting licenses, but you only can get 2 blocks of five days.

More extreme ideas:
1) How about banning NR from hunting weekends and give the residents the weekends to themselves. Problem here is you impact the averaging working man. Also prevent kids from hunting with their parents.

2) The US F&W service is proposing a September 24 opener for ND. Maybe the residents should have the first week to themselves. Would the guides allow this too happen ? Is this another pheasant gate about to happen ?
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I am currently a Minnesotan who grew up in ND. I occasionally hunt geese in MN, never ducks.

The ND G&F should already know when most MN hunters show up to hunt ducks by their time selections.

Is there a peak during MN teacher's conference ? Not so sure anymore. Not as many MN kids hunt compared to 10 or 20 years ago. Many head to SD - pheasants. MN kids in sports are tied to football. Minnesota youth hockey now starts by October 10th for any boy 10 and over.

Ken you are correct - the average "working-man" Minnesotan would get hit hard with the one weekend restriction. I would argue back that these guys are probably hunting 5 days total in ND anyway. The guys hunting with guides on a one week trip would feel no impact.

Question : Not all ND land is prime or good for waterfowl. Is the prime waterfowl land primarily leased up by lodges and guides ??

Or is the main issue with resident hunters the competition with free lance NRs for federal WPAs and non posted land access ??

Need to decide what type of NR hunter impacts the quality of resident hunters the most and work to reduce that factor.
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If they go to zones. The people hunting with guides would get their zone choice.

Would the other people get to select a zone ? 1st and 2nd choice ? 2nd drawing for under sold zones ? Cost to run lottery / lotteries to ND G&F.

I am sure many NR would not come to hunt in ND if they were not drawn for their prefered zone. This could really work at reducing overall numbers. This could reduce potential leasing by NR in over subscribed zones.

When you (a ND resident) apply for that buck deer license in SE ND and are denied - would you take a buck license in another part of the state you have never visited ? Or sit until next year for a buck license ?

What about retired ND farmers living in AZ or a NR coming home to hunt the "homestead" with dad ? If they are impacted by this new system would the land be post in revenge or anger ?

[ This Message was edited by: prairie hunter on 2002-04-04 07:42 ]
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The early Canada goose season SHOULD be residents only.

Do you really think any guide or outfitter would give up that extra week in September or first week in Nov ?

[ This Message was edited by: prairie hunter on 2002-04-03 16:00 ]
Game and Fish Departments all have there need for money.

ND needs the NR waterfowlers
MN needs the NR anglers
SD needs NR pheasant hunters.

Yes SD have very tight caps on waterfowl hunters (and a third of those waterfowl licenses are essentially for guides only), but the number of pheasant hunters in SD is unlimited. Didn't South Dakota sell nearly 60,000 non-resident pheasant licenses last year ?

Each DNR has different strategies for access. South Dakota has walk-in access program where they lease land. Minnesota purchases land every year to add to their wildlife management lands. ND does a little of everything a little land acquisition, a little PLOTS, etc...

Why not let the US F&W buy land for WPAs like they could before ?? Land free to hunt with little cost to most NDs.
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