I can definintely see your logic with the revision of tax codes. It would be a hard sell to landowners, but I feel, it is a reasonable solution. You are correct in asserting that since hunting has taken off that land values in SW ND have skyrocketed. I know of a landowner in Regent who sold his family farm and got an insane amount of money for good (not great) farmland that also was decent (again, not great) hunting land.
I do have this question, if you tax the land at a higher rate and on a new scale (recreational potential), then wouldn't the landowner have to be also given the right to reep those higher rewards in the form of fee hunting. What if we did something like this:
1. Put a tax (1-2%?) onto fee hunting operations. This money would be earmarked for improving existing public lands, enforcement of hunting regulations (make sure everyone has a license, no fee hunting on public land, trespassing---this will please the landowners enormously) and the increase of public hunting land. This tax would be passed on to the hunters already paying for access similar to how airlines add taxes charged by airports and other organizations.
2. Put together requirements and licensure of all fee hunting organizations similar to how all eating establishments must be licensed. Then list all the "licensed" outfitters in ND tourism packets. Make sure that they charge sales tax and the new "hunters" tax. Require all guides to have CPR training and communication (2-way radio/cell phone) to help cope with emergencies, etc.
Rather than turning the outfitters into the enemy, why not use them to help the states economy. Approach them as business men with something to offer to everyone, offer them advantages to participating in the program instead of simply trying to restrict them.
I think it would be a harder sell to put a high tax on CRP land. The fact is it would probably be assessed on a "per acre" basis, and the per acre payment is not very high. All this would do is eliminate a lot of CRP land (at least it would be pulled out of the program).
Now to comment on an earlier post that you had. I was intrigued by all the "loopholes" you pointed out and how NR landowners could get around the cap. They sounded well thought out and you deserve to be commended for an intelligent insight.
While the "cap" initiative was well intended, I do believe it will fail...utterly. It pleases nobody. Small town residents resent that a prime economic influx of money is being artificially and arbitrarily limited. They do not resent resident hunters, they want to have as many people as possible come through their business. Putting a cap on who can and cannot come through hurts them.
Hunters feel (justifiably) that it is simply a "symbolic" act that really will not affect their primary problem, access to land and good hunting experiences.
I am going to get back on my bandwagon again and assert that this cap will hurt access more than it will ever help it. The only people that will get access to much of the land in SW ND will be those who have friends, relatives, or some other connection. "Free lance" hunters will find many once open doors closed. Land owners resent what they see as hunters telling them how land can be used. Until this is resolved, then access will continue to deteriorate, regardless of if any NR hunters come in.
As far as "large purchases" of land, there is really no way to stop it legally. A lot of people do what you describe earlier in that they get together in groups and purchase land. I know of one group that did this and put the land into the Cannonball Company. When I asked why they would put land they just purchased into a fee hunting company they surprised me with their response. I expected to hear, "To recoup some of our costs of buying the land." What they said was, "We have lots of 'new' friends since we bought the land. This way we can pick and choose who we want on the land and the rest can pay." If you talk to landowners in fee hunting companies, this is often the sentiment, not naked greed like many posters on this site seem to believe.