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1,582 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posted on Sun, Mar. 24, 2002

40 solutions to the hunting access dilemma
What a little brainstorming can do

Richard Monson, a Valley City, N.D., farmer and hunter, went
door-to-door with some friends to solicit hunters' ideas about
improving hunting opportunities In North Dakota.

The group's suggestions:

1. Acquire more public hunting land, even if it means a modest fee

2. Cap nonresident hunter numbers at 10,000 upland and 15,000

3. Cap the number of outfitters/guides through a license system and
require them to pass a state certification.

4. License outfitters/guides at a fee of $1,000 per outfitter and $250
per guide, with the money going to the Private Land Open to
Sportsmen program (PLOTS).

5. Require that outfitters report how much land they lease as part of
their license requirement.

6. Plant food plots on PLOTS land for pheasants.

7. Wildlife clubs should start leasing land and turning it over to the
state Game and Fish Department for PLOTS.

8. Guided hunters/outfitters should stay off all public land.

9. Increase the Habitat Stamp by $5 for all.

10. Hold the money collected from fee increases in a dedicated fund
that cannot be used for anything other than habitat
acquisition/improvement. Make sure this fund can't be raided by the
Legislature, as lawmakers did to finance the state radio network
years ago.

11. Raise nonresident license fees to the same level as Montana and
South Dakota, with the increase dedicated to more PLOTS.

12. Raise nonresident fishing license fees, as described in the
preceding suggestion.

13. Set up a "tourism tax" dedicated to more PLOTS. Tourism
businesses benefit from hunters and should help pay.

14. Only a few people have signed up for the Coverlock program,
which also helps improve habitat and access. Have Game and Fish
Department people go door to door in the pheasant belt to talk
directly to landowners. Same thing with PLOTS.

15. Tourism and economic development departments need to
advertise to the public that resident hunting spends the biggest
dollars in the state.

16. Set up a toll-free number in Bismarck that you can call if you
know of someone who might sign up for PLOTS or Coverlocks. There
is no contact person now.

17. Farm Bureau and Farmers Union organizations should form a pool
of members who are willing to let resident hunters have access
when they are squeezed out by lease hunting.

18. No corporate-lease hunting, like no corporate farming.

19. No depredation assistance if land is posted.

20. New Conservation Reserve Program contracts would pay the
landowner more for offering public access, less for no access - and
then put that land right into PLOTS. That way, the land is closed in
the off-hunting season.

The cost would be the same as it is now. This should be part of an
economic development program for rural communities in North
Dakota. That way, Congress could get it into the CRP law for the

21. In the pheasant belt: Currently, some landowners charge access
fees and give that money to charities (local schools, churches, and so
on). Instead, put that land into PLOTS and let the state Game and
Fish Department write the check to the charity instead.

22. Don't buy land for habitat. Instead, lease it so the taxes go to
the county.

23. Wildlife protection areas and similar ground are already
government owned but have poor grass cover for pheasants. Spray
out the broom grass; reseed with switch grass or dense nesting

Then it would be good for ducks and pheasants.

24. Burn off CRP every few years so clover comes back.

25. Set up a mini-PLOTS program. Identify small water drainages in
field land, and have farmers seed dense nesting cover 100 feet on
each side for mini-PLOTS.

PLOTS don't have to be 160 acres of CRP. Or call this

26. All legislative committee hearings on hunting issues should be
held Saturday or at night, so working people can attend.

27. The current Game and Fish Department advisory board is a sham.
Strengthen it. Make sure all members are active hunters and

28. Elect advisory board people from the advisory meetings. Don't
appoint them.

29. Make sure the advisory board holds elections. They don't do that

30. Publish advisory board minutes in North Dakota Outdoors, with
upcoming agendas.

31. All major Game and Fish Department decisions are presented at
spring and fall advisory meetings before they are enacted, so
hunters can have input first.

32. The governor, Game and Fish and Tourism departments should
publicly encourage landowners through an advertising campaign to
remove posters after deer season, if they will allow hunting access.

33. Conduct an advertising campaign by the state to educate
landowners that thousands of roosters are going to waste by not
hunting them.

34. State Game and Fish officers should have an aggressive effort to
get their free posters - Walking Hunters Welcome, Ask First, and so
on - out to the public. Wildlife clubs could distribute them. I saw only
one of these posters this year. That is a miserable performance by
both wildlife clubs and the state.

Wardens should carry a case of free signs to give away.

35. The state should give away free posters reading, "Open after
Dec. 1 if you ask." And make an effort to get them to the public,
especially in the pheasant belt.

36. The best way to keep deer out of hay is to thin them before they
get there.

37. Conduct an advertising campaign aimed at increasing landowner
access through education that resident hunting is good for local

38. Residents should harvest more giant geese. They are too thick in
the fields, causing crop damage.

39. Interview the State Association of Directors of Tax Equalization to
determine the effect of nonresident hunter land purchases.

40. Interview the state association to determine the effect of
nonresident hunter land purchases pertaining to tax assestments of
adjoining land.

1,582 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Posted on Sun, Mar. 24, 2002

Devils Lake hunter offers ideas to improve
Biologist suggests incentives, programs, legislation and education

Roger Hollevoet of Devils Lake, a longtime hunter, North Dakota
native and a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Devils
Lake, offers these ideas to improve hunter access in the state:

Owner incentives

Give landowners who keep their land open to public hunting a free
basic hunting license for use in the entire state of North Dakota.

Give landowners who keep their land open to walk-in public hunting
a management plan for their land and more warden support.

Do a free advertising service for landowners who keep their lands
open to public hunting and have revenue-producing ventures on
their land, such as bed-and-breakfasts, dog boarding, lodging, etc.

Enroll a landowner into a statewide raffle for each quarter-section of
land they keep open for walk-in public hunting. The annual raffle
would be for their choice of a new luxury car or sport utility vehicle.

Have a statewide hunter guide who tells sportsmen and women
what landowners have their land open for what species of game,
i.e., Landowner A allows sharp-tailed grouse hunting only;
Landowner B has land open for ducks and furbearers, and
Landowner C has his land open to all species. This would take the
burden off the landowner answering a volume of calls or visits, and
the state could offer improved patrol of these lands.

Set up a state-controlled special donation box system on farmsteads
that allow the public to recreate on their lands.

Access programs

Support public land acquisitions for several reasons: places for public
to have access to birdwatch and hunt, places to support
habitat/wildlife that birdwatchers and hunters seek out, areas that
can also function for watershed management purposes, i.e.,
floodwater storage and water quality improvements, new areas to
support education and demonstrations, etc.

Support expansion of programs such as PLOTS and CoverLocks.

Campaign for a societal benefits focus in the Farm Bill. Pay
landowners incentives for public access, wildlife habitat, erosion
reduction, flood storage, carbon sequestration, water quality
improvement, etc.

Initiate a voucher system in North Dakota. Each time a hunter hunts
on private land, he/she gives the landowner a voucher for that
experience. At the end of the year, a public entity gives kickbacks to
landowners based on total vouchers received for supporting hunting
and tourism in the state.

Give hunters a chance to buy an access tag. The proceeds from this
tag would support walk-in hunting on private lands and give each
hunter with that tag an opportunity to hunt those lands enrolled in
the access tag program.

Increase hunter license fees with an access stamp. The proceeds
from this stamp would go to access programs.

Require some of the proceeds from large sports shows or other
similar events in the state to support access programs in the state.

Start a statewide Powerball game of chance to support the state's
second largest industry - tourism. A portion of those proceeds could
go to private land access for hunters and wildlife watchers. Other
portions could go to advertising the resources of the state to spur
economic activity.

There are many new faces and businesses in the state involved in
the hunting-related industry. It is time they start financially
supporting public land acquisitions, wildlife agencies, and access

Tourism is now our state's second-largest industry. What is that
industry doing to help improve access or to help produce wildlife for
the future? Hunting and wildlife-watching are two big-time
attractions, but access and sustainability are the key to long-term
success. Those who profit from wildlife resources should be taxed or
generate revenue to support wildlife management and public access.

Also, groups such as chambers of commerce and statewide
hospitality programs should have proceeds going to access

Legislative actions Reduce the total number of nonresident hunters
until hunting and wildlife-viewing access issues are addressed. Once
the access goals are met, then nonresident hunters could be
evaluated. This would force the many economic forces and
sportsmen/women to work with the Legislature to improve access for
the future of recreation and economics.

Give tax breaks to landowners who provide walk-in
hunter/birdwatcher access on their properties.

Give improved support to landowners who provide walk-in hunter
access when dealing with issues such as crop depredation and sales
tax. Or give those landowners priority when applying for farm
programs or loans.

Legislate fee hunting or lease operations similar to liquor licenses.
Pass a bill that says only 20 percent of any one township can be tied
up in leasing or fee hunting operations.

Provide incentives to townships that reach a goal of a maximum
amount of land open to public access hunting. Support could be in
the form of road improvements, sign replacement, road grading etc.

Support public land acquisition for myriad reasons, such as public
recreation, economic prosperity and diversity, improved wildlife
habitat, watershed management, reduced erosion, etc.

Develop a user tax. Let hunters pay extra on their licenses to
support access. Nonresidents could be limited and pay higher license

North Dakota residents should get some benefits for living in the
state. We know all sorts of reasons why they leave; give them some
reasons to stay.

That way, we could advertise to businesses looking at North Dakota
the benefits they could get in terms of recreation and hunting access
for themselves and their employees.

We should give people who stay in the state a benefit for living here.
Hunting opportunities could be an incentive for the state and future
economic growth and attractions to come to North Dakota or stay
here. Legislate a program to give incentives to residents, and give
ample room to provide a quality experience to the nonresidents -
based on a lottery system, not on how much they can pay.

Legislate that a portion of gas, restaurant and motel taxes go to
providing more access.

Look at sporting goods taxes as a way to increase revenues for
access without hurting the taxes game and fish agencies get for
supporting wildlife management.

Limit nonresidents during the first three weeks, and then open it up
with no restrictions.

Social issues

Provide better education for hunters/sportspeople. Add an adult
hunter education class option in North Dakota and concentrate on
ethics and safety.

Survey landowners to get an idea about their concerns with hunting
access and what we can do to improve it.

Educate the economic and tourism sector about wildlife being a
public commodity and the need for habitat and sustainability of
hunting and outdoor recreation. We must cater to wildlife needs first;
from the tourism side, we want to attract the masses and not just
the few well-paying customers.

Address landowner/sportsmen relations.

We need to understand and educate people that wildlife is a public
commodity, but access on 90 percent of the state is private. We
need to support public land acquisition, as well as private
land-access concepts.

7 Posts
How about increasing the number of elk licenses so there is no need to transplant elk out of ND to other states? It is mindboggling to me that we pay to transplant elk when there are people that have been applying for an elk tag all their lives and keep getting turned down.

Super Moderator
8,481 Posts
I don't think you can hunt Elk in the Nat. Park.I'm not being sarcastic,but would you chase them out and line up to shoot them?

7 Posts
I guess I wasn't told that they were being transplanted out of the park. My buds who told me about the transplants failed to mention that, but even if they are coming out of the park ship 'em up to the Northern Elk unit and issue more tags? Just an idea?

375 Posts
Before you can let Elk loose, you need to find a place to put them. You can't just release them on private land and they won't necessarily stay on public land if you put them there. There are already Elk problems and Elk depredation in the SW part of the state.
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