I've debated this topic so many times. . . . It's not worth it almost to me anymore. :eyeroll: I think limiting nr's in terms of a cap should be the last step and it appears to the first. I hope I'm wrong. I think the GnF should look at alternatives like; separating the pheasant and duck license, way more zones, cap the zones east of Missouri and keep the zone west of the Missouri unlimited, in terms of zones create them around some of the larger Federal 'fuges, DL, the Canada Border etc.
For me and my experience in North Dakota. . . I have nothing but good things to say about my time there. People are the greatest, friendly, kind and the hunting is good. I've acted with as much respect as possible, never been turned down when I ask for permish, often being asked to come in and talk. Certainly I don't hunt in a "hot" area, away from Canada or DL. Yet I still get good ducks. I'm a freelance hunter only, usually going in small groups of 4 or less. Usually hunting with one other guy and a dog in our groups. In the years I've hunted in north dakota I almost never see other groups, other than in town.
I hope they don't place a cap, if they do, I will not return. Maybe thats what ya'll are hoping for. From my perspective, a cap will only create derision between hunters.
You know one aspect about these issues that constantly amazes me... is how absent the commercial interests are on the topic pages. While numerous sportspeople will spend countless hours debating these topics in forums, the commercial interests will actually get out and spend the floor time with whomever will listen to their side. Too bad the sporting community never united on some of the most important issues that the commercial side has fought for and won decidedly. I guess that will never change, because the sportspeople don't have any financial interest at stake.
The average freelancing hunter is a working man. Taking time to lobby, engage in public debate, or run for office on this issue is time consuming. Family and work commitments take up most people's time. Bioman you are correct, the outfitter is financially tied to the issue so he takes time to work the issue (part of his job).
Also do not forget that most people tied to these outdoor sites are hard-core hunters. I would like to see a survey show how many waterfowl hunters actually hunt more than say 10 days per season. Bet it is a relatively low number.
The average licensed, resident hunter in ND hunts waterfowl in their home state about 5 days per year. I believe the NDG&F data shows this value. If you average in the hard-core hunter efforts there are many ND hunters who probably hunt waterfowl only twice each fall. The average nonresident visiting ND is more likely a hard-core waterfowler. Why else would they spend vacation time and money traveling to shoot ducks.
So the "average" ND guy gets together and hunts ducks on opener, chases geese a few days, then may be pheasants and deer. They take what comes their way or quit if they perceive reward is no longer worth the effort (ie. when duck limit drops to three - hunter numbers plummet).
How much time will these people spend worrying about the future of waterfowl hunting ? If these so called average hunters would take time to write politicians they may chose to write them on taxes, education, health care, school consolidation, the list can go on and on and on. These issues may be much more important than recreational hunting.
If the duck limit drops to three I would predict that less than 15,000 nonresidents will enter ND this fall to chase ducks. States with large commercial hunting interests (LA, AR, MS, TX) loose huge numbers of nonresident hunters when the limits drop to 3 ducks vs the 5 or 6 bird limits. Land lease values plumment, many go on sold.
I would also guess that the resident waterfowl hunters will drop from about 34,000 down to 30,000 maybe as low as 25,000.
Do you know what sucks the most about that truth Prairie Hunter, is that "shooting" seems more important than "hunting". So if the national trend is to see that few of hunters when numbers are down, it kind of makes you wonder how many true sportsman are out there, and how many will be there in the end when we need them the most.
Another reason to remind all of you to take out a rookie this fall. :wink:
Hey there are too many different activities that compete with our time. Most people on this site really love hunting and will chase game no matter how poor the forecasts are. It is the experience of hunting in ND. You do it because you can not image not being out there.
Many hunters (ND people included) follow the hype. Just like following the winning pro team.
The ND tourism board succeeded in hyping ND hunting to the masses. TV shows, magazine articles, and internet sites hyped the easy hunting, the guides, etc... People rushed into the state and numbers ramped up fast and furious. High limits (6 ducks) did nothing but push the shooters and game hogs into the state at faster levels than seen before.
In Minnesota the ruffed grouse populations move on a 10 year cycle of highs and lows. On the years of high populations a person can barely hunt on public land on the weekend without running into other hunters or running into a bunch of road hunters. As the cycle moves to the low side, hype by the press goes way, the large chuck of hunters looking for easy pickings are gone, and you may barely see another hunter let alone have someone get in your way.
I have not missed a duck season in ND since the year I started hunting in the mid-70s. Every year is different -- makes it fun. Some of the wettest / high duck population years have not always been the best hunting. Weather (not just in ND), crop conditions, hailed out areas, etc... all have as much impact in the fall on hunting opps as spring nesting success.
Let the shooters find their next hotspot (ouside of ND hopefully). Let the hunters that scout hard have a good fall chasing ducks.
Good Call Chris. If guys stay home and don't hunt because the duck limit drops then they are missing the whole point of the hunting experience. During the last drought we still traveled to Westhope 2-3 times in the fall because it was about getting out and being with great friends and family. They could cut the duck limit to 1 and I would still go out. THINK about this as well: they cut the duck limit to 3 and a lot of people from out of state quit coming, now the small town suffers because they set aside resident interests, to cater to those from out of state. Guides fold because business has dropped, now what is rural ND going to do to keep afloat??
Instead of trying to attract business and bring jobs, it easier to rape a resource for the quick buck.
Don't worry though, there are SOME people from out of state who are going to tell us how things should be run here, but then they stay home if the duck population drops. Please notice I said SOME......
In ND, the number of waterfowl hunters have varied greatly with water conditions and bird populations. In the late 70s over 50,000 resident ND hunters chased ducks and geese. Competiton for good spots was fairly intense then and posting common. One difference between then and now was competition was a weekend thing. Hunt a week day and you were on your own. Not sure if you can say that is true anymore. :lol:
In the late 80s and early 90s, the number of ND people hunting ducks and geese barely topped 20,000. Drought, steel shot (?), aging ND population I guess all took there toll.
Both residents and nonresidents alike will stop visiting these small towns when the birds are not around and/or the hype is gone.
Eric, many of the snow goose guides in Westhope and other areas along the Canadian border have scaled-back their operations, folded, or have diversified to ducks. The guides that offer strong efforts, have large commercial/business client bases will survive, but many that formed riding the boom wave will fold quickly if and when the dry cycle returns for several years straight.
Oil (wildcatting) in western ND, internet stocks, red lake crappies, duck hunting in ND. People (the masses) flock to easy, sure things. They dissappear as quickly as they arrive once the opportunity to make money fast or fill the creel fast is gone.
Some good points. My best memories are the trips we took to Westhope in the fall. This was my favorite time of the year. We always ate at Mcdonald's in Grand Forks, Ice Cream in Devil's lake, Gas and snacks at Rugby, dad's cheese in Towner, Listening to the birds on the refuge at night so of Westhope. I loved going there. We did this trip even through college till the snow geese quit coming down and the competition became too much. The last year we were there we had to pay to use a grain field. The last straw. It was really hard to find new places to hunt and put an end to the Westhope trip ending a 13 year father-son tradition with our group. The hunting boom is just that, a boom. A short-term fix to long term problems. I think the leaders of communities should be held accountable when the boom ends and towns struggle. Instead of bringing in real jobs, they focus on making the quick buck. On top of this there are now hard feelings among those of us who live in ND. Because I live in Fargo I am no better than a non-resident in some peoples' eyes, just like a person from Mott is a non-resident in some people's eyes here in Fargo.
Good points...I have a feeling that less ducks or even lower limits may not curtail the number of hunters.Even in our worst years it is still probably better here than in most places.Plus as you've said people like coming here.It is a vacation and a good time to get away from home and renew friendships.I fish in Canada every year[in fact I am leaving for Sask. tomorrow morning]and we don't bring any fish home.We keep only what we eat there.A lot of hunters from out of state will feel that way.It is a great experience to be out here in ND in Oct.Plus our upland hunting will match anyone elses,and there should be a good upland hatch if we don't get too much rain next month to kill the chicks.See you all in 10 days.
One thing I noticed reading that link for the duck refuge web site is that the nonresidents keep stating that you can't limit or shouldn't limit nonresidents since it is a migratory or national resource. Well this is true, but if you are going to use that ananogy, hunt the ducks when they migrate through your state, utilizing your habitat, nesting and producing ducks in your state. The whole rest of the country benefits from the ducks that are raised in the prairie pothole region. Why some nonresidents want to allow this state to become what has happened in their own states (too many hunters, too little access, etc.) is beyond me. When ND has been turned into another Texas, there will be no reason for anyone to come and hunt here. It seems that they should be on the same page as us and want to preserve the hunting quality and tradition so when they do get to come here it is a moment in life to cherish. And if they want to savor that moment, they should think of relocating to God's country.
Full Force Five, we are not like Texas or any other of the pure commericial states and desire to remain that way. You can still come here, probably not just every year. Or if nonresidents are so adamant about coming here every year, maybe the state needs to sell only 2 day licenses and let everyone come? You probably wouldn't want to do that either. As far as the argument that federal duck stamp and PR funds that come into the state, that has so little to do with actual duck numbers. If ND is in a wet cycle and the people don't drain wetlands, we will have ducks money be dam*ed
Have a great trip Ken and tight lines!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good Points Muzzy. North Dakota and Texas????? How many ducks does ND produce that migrate south???? Federal funds should be going to where the ducks are raised. ND is a duck factory so it doesn't it make sense to protect wetlands in the state???? This shouldn't even be and issue. I would prefer to hear about how important ND is to the fall flight and thanks for taking care of the waterfowl........
According to the Forum this morning and an article pertaining to the limiting of non-resiedents, it states that the advisory board is thinking about a cap of 25,000 non-residents or less per year. The game and fish department appears to be leaning towards using the yearly water index as a guide to set caps on a yearly basis.
After traveling the pot hole region of southcentral ND this week I can see that there is going MANY DRY marshes this year. I'd predict that the WPAs are going to get pressure like we've never seen before. There may be a lot of frustrated NR hunters when they arrive to hunt ducks as they are going to be crowded. Next year this will have the effect of dropping the # of NRs as many will start to drop off if the dry cycle continues. The caps will only help to provide a quality hunt for BOTH the residents and NR duck hunters. By the way alot of residents will quit also if the marshes dry up.
If you're a serious waterfowl hunter and not after just a limit of game at any expense then I'd suggest that you get a license early. I really think that there will not be anyone turned away with 25,000 available. The only ones that will have a problem are the guys that wait until the last minute.
Finally, hope there aren't more big money guys that are going to try to lease more of the good areas again this year. I'm hearing this already in some traditional spots. Most of us residents are glad to have the NR hunters around, just don't mess up our areas by trying to make them exclusively yours.
Just a quick note . . . . the crappies are starting their summer patterns. Troll a small white beetle spin early or in the evening at the deep weed line. Works great until mid July.
What I have been hearing down hear is if the feds go to anything but a liberal season the early opening would be taken away. The early opening was to apease northern states, for the southern states wanting to extend their season to the end of Jan. Both would only happen if their is a liberal season. Some rumblings on other sites have said Feds may go all the way to a resctrive season. That means hear in WI we would be looking at 30 days with 3 ducks. Probaly the same with ND, That is one way to limit NR'S. My quess is that the will go to a moderate season 45 days 4 ducks, but the early opening wouldn't be allowed. I don't think WI is going for the early opener even if it is offered.
I agree that lower limits will really curtail the number of visiting hunters to ND. I also feel that unless we have another national crisis, more hunters will return to Canada this fall. Last year - with everything going on after 9-11 and the very long lines on the border crossings - I believe that many hunters shortstopped in to ND.
Regarding seasons. The states in the Central Flyway gets more days than the states in the MS flyway. Bioman and myself have posted information and I have posted the link to the US F&W website before. The current format is :
USF&W have established 4 types of duck seasons based upon spring and summer surveys. These seasons types are :
Liberal: 74 day season, 6 bird limit
Moderate: 60 day season, 6 bird limit
Restrictive: 39 day season, 3 bird limit
Very Res: 25 day season, 3 bird limit
Individual species can be controlled within this overall framework (ie. pintail, hen mallard, canvasback limits or season length can be even more restrictive).
Note the Mississippi flyway season lengths are shorter for each season framework type. Moderate season is 45 days.
Of course this is a government agency and they may not stick to the guidelines above and mess with bird limits, etc...
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