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Early Duck Opener?

3609 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  KEN W
The Forum this morning had an article concerning the fact that the G&F department is not issuing waterfowl licenses by the internet as in the past. At least not yet.
Evidently they are looking into options that relate to the issues that have been brought forward lately.

The reporter stated that they may not open it a week early because of the flack they received with the pheasant season when they tried to open it a week early. Evidently the Forum or the reporter still hasn't got it yet. The resident sportsman were not totaly against opening the season early, they were against the way the gov. tried to ram it down their throats with out their input.

Question? If they open the waterfowl season a week early, which would be great so we can get at the teal and wood ducks before they leave in the Fall, would the pheasant season automatically be a week early also as it would fall 2 weeks after the duck opener?
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I saw the same article on the front page of todays Minot paper.That is an interesting question about the pheasant season.I think it will stay where it is at.The article also said the Gov.won't let the GNF decide if the season will open earlier until the May advisory meetings are over.So if you want to be heard go to the meetings.
It also said the earlier opening could be for res. only.
Here is the article

Out-of-state duck hunters
Officials contemplating hunting restrictions

By: Dale Wetzel
AP Writer
Posted at 12:00 pm

BISMARCK - Delays in selling duck hunting licenses have prompted speculation that the Game and Fish Department is planning new restrictions on out-of-state hunters. Agency officials and Gov. John Hoeven say nothing has been decided.

"I honestly don't know what we're going to do yet," said Dean Hildebrand, the department's director. "We have a lot of suggestions, and a lot of options out there."

The issue is being handled gingerly in the wake of the uproar that greeted Hoeven's suggestion to begin this year's pheasant hunting season a week earlier than normal.

The proposal spurred a backlash against out-of-state bird hunters, who have been coming to North Dakota in increasing numbers. After initially defending the idea, Hoeven abandoned it last month.

A similar situation could arise if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows an earlier start to the duck season, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Sept. 28.

North Dakota businesses that cater to duck hunters, including landowners who charge a fee for access to their land, have long advocated an earlier duck opener.

It would give hunters a better chance to bag blue-winged teal ducks, which are generally the first to begin the fall migration from North Dakota's prairie pothole region in mid- to late September.

"We have a wonderful teal population, that we have not been able to hunt effectively," Hildebrand said.

Since the Game and Fish Department began selling duck licenses on its World Wide Web site over the last few years, fall licenses have been available by April.

That is not true this year. Hildebrand and Roger Rostvet, the agency's deputy director, said the licenses are not being sold yet because of uncertainty about the season's opening date, and discussions about how licenses should be allocated.

Rostvet said a license lottery for out-of-state duck hunters is not being contemplated.

"That may be something that could happen later on, through legislation, but at this time, to set up a lottery would not be feasible," Rostvet said. "That's what is driving people nuts, is the thought there might be a lottery this fall ... It just isn't physically possible."

Should an earlier duck season opener materialize, one possibility is to reserve the opening week for North Dakota resident hunters, Hildebrand said.

Others include limits on the number of licenses issued to nonresidents, or staggering the time periods in which nonresident hunters may go afield.

Rostvet said an agency working group is considering suggestions that will be discussed in May, during a planned round of public meetings of the agency's advisory board.

Hoeven said no decisions would be made until the round of public consultations were completed.

"We need to make sure that any changes that we consider go through the advisory board, that we have the opportunity to get out there and have hearings," Hoeven said. "Clearly there is sentiment out there to (limit out-of-state hunters). The question is, how do you approach it?"

The number of duck hunters visiting North Dakota has climbed rapidly in recent years, from 5,928 in 1991 to just over 30,000 during last fall's hunting season.
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