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Article in Fargo Forum

BISMARCK : Nonresidents could be nearing their last season to hunt pheasants in North Dakota without restrictions. And that could create an uproar. "It will be really unpopular with folks in the western part of the state, but we need to come to a compromise there somehow;" says Sen. Tom Fischer, R-Fargo. He is chairman of the Senate's Natural Resources Committee.

He expects debate on hunting pheasants to occur in the North Dakota Legislature, which convenes Jan. 7. Debate could potentially be on restricting somehow the number of days they can hunt as opposed to how many people can come. That could include limiting nonresident pheasant hunters to two five-day periods a month, one week in October and one in November. People wanting to take two weeks in a row, for example, could take the last week in October and the first week in November.

Pat Candrian, manager of Cannonball Co. in Regent is understandably opposed. Cannonball makes its money by charging people to hunt on its land and stay in its three licensed bed-and-breakfast facilities, its four private homes, or a bunkhouse. It has a total of 52 beds.

"The biggest thing with North Dakota residents is access and limiting nonresident pheasant hunters is not going to improve their access. All it's going to mean is more pheasants for the nonresidents;" says Candrian.
Candrian says he has no problem, per se, with limiting nonresident pheasant hunters to two five-day periods.

"From where we sit, we have people come out here for four days and then they leave and we don't see them again until next year.
Small-town businesses, however, could suffer from any restrictions. You have guys from Minnesota, for example, who drive out here on weekends during the season and stay in the motels and eat at restaurants. It is going to keep them from doing that."

Nonresident pheasant hunters are also the likely target of the states most vocal outdoors organization.

Outspoken Sandy Barnes of the North Dakota Sportsmen's Alliance and the group's executive director Larry Knoblich say the alliance will eventually turn its attention to limiting nonresidents who pheasant hunt and fish in the state. "I can't believe that your average North Dakotan thinks unrestricted hunting and fishing is the panacea everybody is saying it is;" Knoblich said. "I think the resident should have some reward for living here."

Barnes and Knoblich say their group is standing up for the blue-collar hunters, both resident and nonresident, who cannot afford to lease or purchase good hunting land. Barnes tells the story of a North Dakota farmer who received two brand-new all-terrain vehicles from an out-of-state hunter. In exchange, the hunter wanted exclusive hunting rights to the farmer's land. "I used to buy smoked turkeys and give them to the landowners who let me hunt"; Barnes says. "I'd be embarrassed to do that now."

Knoblich says he knows many people in rural communities disagree with the Sportsmen's Alliance platform, but Barnes remains unapologetic.
"We've done some things that are somewhat radical and we've become something of a lightning rod on these issues, but along with the United Sportsmen of North Dakota and the North Dakota Wildlife Federation I know we are speaking for a hell of a lot of hunters," Barnes said. "We are speaking with one tongue." Barnes knows he is demonized by some in North Dakota because of what he calls its radical stance on the nonresident waterfowl hunting issue. He makes no apologies. "We're the bad (guys) because we knew somebody had to do it," Barnes says.

The Sportsmen's Alliance, the most vocal of the state's three major sportsmen's groups, supports the so-called hunter pressure concept, which uses climate conditions and the number of resident hunters to cap nonresident licenses. Under that formula, nonresidents would have been limited to 22,000 licenses this year instead of the 30,000 cap set by Gov. John Hoeven.

Barnes and Knoblich say:
- North Dakota guides and outfitters are as much to blame for the proliferation of posted and leased land as nonresidents are.
- Many North Dakota landowners agree with the alliance's stance because they are tired of dealing with nonresident hunters bothering them during harvest.
- The economic impact of nonresident hunters on rural communities is overstated and some small-town businessmen agree.
- North Dakota needs to limit the purchasing and leasing of prime hunting land by nonresidents by dividing the state into zones, thereby limiting hunters to specific areas of the state that would not necessarily be where they own or lease land.

Barnes has hunted waterfowl in North Dakota for three decades. He says, "This fall was the worst, most pathetic year of hunting I've ever experienced." He keeps detailed yearly records of his hunting success. Last year, he and the group of friends shot 150 ducks! This year, that number tumbled to 16. "Sixteen ducks," Barnes exclaims passionately in the office of his Jamestown business. "I defy you to find anyone in Stutsman or Kidder counties who had a good year." After a pause, Barnes says, "Although, I'll admit it couldn't have come at a better time."
That's because Barnes says this fall's poor hunting can be used as ammunition when the Legislature tackles the issue in January.

Barnes says he believes there is a direct correlation between the 30,000 nonresidents who hunted ducks and geese in the state each of the past two years and the poor hunting he and his friends experienced. Barnes says too many breeding ducks have been shot and the constant pressure brought about by nonresidents drove ducks out of the state. "These guys come out here and they hunt for seven straight days, all day," Barnes says. The ducks don't get a break.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department deputy director Roger Rostvet says heavy hunting pressure can accelerate duck movement, but poor hunting in some areas could also be attributed to a late flight of northern ducks into the state and by the fall's unseasonably cold weather, which froze smaller potholes ahead of schedule.
 

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same stuff as last session villianize the S A & the resident hunters :eyeroll:

I sure wish the freelance Non Residents could get the facts & truths in all this ??? But all I'm reading is the sameol sameol stuff from 2 yrs ago.
 

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Why can't the Forum find someone better than Sandy Barnes to quote for the resident side of the issue. 16 ducks! c'mon Sandy! :eyeroll: Every cheesehead with a duckboat can shoot 16 ducks in a season.

The problem isn't that the NR's are shooting all of the breeding population here in ND, other states shoot at these ducks, too! Don't you think that the hunting in Arkansas and LA has a little impact on the duck numbers that return every year?

The problem is and always has been access, keep it focused!
 

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I thought the same thing when I was reading the article. His group only shot 16 :roll: ? He isn't trying very hard if thats all they could shoot. Isn't mobility key to hunting, go where the ducks and geese are? This is going to be a very interesting Legislative session!!
 

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Wow, the macho chest thumping has gotta cease - the "you're not trying" argument can be applied to anything. Access - you're not trying. Can't afford to buy land - you're not trying. Can't earn 6 figures a year - you're not trying. Can't shoot a limit in 10 minutes - you're not trying.

Just think for a minute about the context. Barnes is obviously a dedicated waterfowler. He's reporting his experience this year. Ducks just weren't where he usually finds them, probably in response to the intense pressure. My guess is that he shoots greenheads and isn't of the "It flies, it dies" club. He used his experience to illustrate a huge problem - guys shooting the crap out of the same birds for a week. Tends to be NR's because resi's work during the week. Even some farmers I spoke with this year mentioned this problem - NR's pound the same slough for a week, leaving the place barren and remaining birds spooky for weeks until a serious migration occurs.

Finally, this guy has been a lightening rod. He stands in vocal opposition to some pretty scarey figures, who hold some bizarre beliefs, and might want to "express their displeasure" about any perceived effect upon their livelihood. Folks living on the fringe of society tend to express their displeasure in many strange ways. The best course of action might be to edit your posts, removing any condemnation, and including a note of appreciation, if not apology.

M.
 

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We resident hunters were told repeatedly last spring by Hospitality, Tourism, Farm Bureau, and outfitters that if we established "relationships" with landowners, hunting opportunities would be assured. Mr. Barnes has done just that, and the point of his statements is to show the fallacy of commercial huntings arguement. The area where Mr. Barnes hunts ducks has been scoured by outfitters like a plauge of grasshoppers. When a hunter like Mr Barnes has a special attachment to an area it is difficult to leave it. I feel the same way about my county.

If mobility is the key to good hunting opportunities, how many steps backward are you gentlemen willing to take before you say enough?

The Alliance is saying enough right now. When so many of us have been willing to stand on the sidelines and let someone else do our fighting for us, the Alliance put their neck on the block and made some noise. I applaud them for not running like a whipped dog when a few well connected bigshots want to buy up North Dakota as an exclusive hunting preserve.

This whole issue is not about one individual still having a place to hunt. It is about all outdoorsmen in North Dakota having a quality outdoor experiance with a reasonable chance of success. That is the goal of the North Dakota Sportsmens Alliance.

They are going to need your help because they cannot carry this fight alone. Nor should we expect them to stand in the front and take a beating for us.
 

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Yes we all know that certain area are getting targeted and this ways heavily on certain areas of the state. But thats not all that determines where the birds are at. You can't tell me if you wanted to go out and shoot birds you couldn't!! In the last 4 years I have scouted and hunted in many different areas of the state. Each year the birds seem to be in different areas depending on the different factors (food supply, weather, and yes hunting pressure). Move with the birds.

I wasn't critizing Mr. Barnes for anything that he has done or what he is going to do with SA. I'm just saying that shooting only sixteen ducks/season is something that you bring about yourself. There are places out there where you can be more successful than that. Granted it has become more limited over the years, and yes THERE NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING DONE ABOUT IT, there are still opportunities out there to make memories. We just need to make sure that this doesn't get any bigger than it already is. Hopefully something can get done this legislative session. Remember to voice your opinion!!
 

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This person glued to permanent blinds on private land ????? Look at the younger generation posting on these boards. They move to follow bird populations.

I grew up duck hunting around Woodsworth and other parts of Stutsman and Kidder County. Rarely did we hunt the same slough more than twice in one year and often the next year that slough would not hold many good ducks and we moved on. Hunting pressure was intense for space on public land. I often scheduled classes at NDSU to have T or TH off - hunt weekdays to avoid that hunting pressure.

Water conditions spawned by localized drought or massive rains (sheet water), crops hailed out, and hunting pressure all influence localized duck populations and thus hunting success.

A few years back an area between Fesseden and Carrington was hit with about 6+ inches of rain in August. I drove through this area three times in October. There were thousands of ducks on this sheet water - saw them from the paved road. Sunny or cloudy they traded back and forth during the middle of the day. Guess most people could not figure out how to hide and stay dry in these UNPOSTED sheet water fields. Maybe the habitat was so good the birds simply moved a mile east or west in response to hunting pressure.

At the same time the WPA sloughs and private permanent wetlands adjacent to this area were absolutely void of ducks. The ducks had moved to the better habitat. I am sure that successfull hunts on a WPA pond in that area was rare. You adapted to the sheet water or probably had a tough time that year. In 2002, no sheet water - the ducks were on the permanent wetlands again.

Maybe this is what happened in ND again this year. The area between DL and GF had massive late summer rains. Area held a lot of ducks. Areas impacted by drought or even less-wet areas that were not as "feed" rich were more void of ducks.

The few resident guys that I know who hunt around DL said good numbers of mallards were around all season. The mallards were not completely stupid though - they relocated (often less than a mile) when pressured.

You move on, scout harder or simply enjoy the tradition of hunting your familiar spot and take what comes your way. Is a limit the only measure of success, satisfaction, and fun ??

In the 25+ years I have hunted in ND (First 14 as a resident) we have rarely hunted the same specific pond or WPA two years in a row. Hey September sharptail hunting is the perfect time to scout duck spots in central ND.
 

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F.Hunter,Scraper,and Doug
I don't always agree with things that Sandy and Larry say, but I agree with Dick.What have you three done to help out the resident hunter?Talk is cheap.I know how much time and money these guys have invested.There would not have been a Jud. "B" studying the NR issue if it would'nt have been For the SA.I hope you guys can do 1/32 of what these guys have done!
Kevin Hayer
 

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I think you guys are misinterpreting each other.Most of the opinions I agree with, but you guys are arguing something different.Yes the SA does great work, yes you could've shot more birds this season, and yes there's a lot of reasons why a guy didn't.

This is the worst possible time to argue about pety things. Stay focused.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Reading this thread has become frustrating.

The Forum article says that Mr. Barnes and his friends have hunted the area for thirty years. I am sure a group of local hunters with 30 years experience did move around, did scout, and did try other areas when their honeyhole turned sour. They should know every pothole in three counties. Last year they shot 150 ducks. This year it was 16.

Some of you then criticize Barnes for not trying and not being mobil. You are just shooting yourselves in the foot. You take away from the legitimacy of an argument that is meant to help YOU win your case against the outfitters and unsympathetic NRs. Support Mr. Barnes rather than badmouthing him. His point was that this was the worst year ever. For whatever reason, there is some validity to that statement coming from a group of people who have 30 years experience hunting in an area.
 

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Sandy Barnes…. You have got to be kidding! This guy is a fruit. If anything, Sandy has hurt the average hunter. I'm from Fargo and the places I hunt are now posted due to the radical image the Sportsmen's Alliance takes against rural ND. To make it worse, Mr. Barnes leases his hunting land and posts it NO HUNTING. I asked him last year if I could hunt it and he laughed at me. What is the difference between an outfitter and some one like Sandy? He controls a hunting area for the strict purpose of his friends and himself. I would bet you that his land used to be open before he purchased-leased it. Fetch, Please do not join the SA. Landowners will ask you if you are a member. Landowners personally told me that SA members were not welcomed on his land. This guy is a good farmer and always lets folks on his land but was fed up with the attitude of groups like the SA. 16 ducks… This is from Mr. Barnes staying on his dry little lease. You think Mr. Barnes represents blue-collar people that are freelance hunters, think again. If Mr. Barnes did actually freelance I think his count would be a little higher. Please don't be blind and follow this so-called leader. I'm not sure what the answer is but it is not this guy or this group
 

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I admidt - I still know very little about them & their web site has not changed much in a couple years ???

Dick Monson please answer these concerns ???
 

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Gentlemen if you want to find out about the Alliance call Mr. Barnes or Mr. Knoblich as their number is listed in their web site. They would be happy to visit with you. I am not a spokesman for them, just a member. I regret I did not join years ago.

The Sunday Dec 1 Fargo Fourm had an indepth article on hunting issues with a front page picture of a outfitter standing beside a poster that says "Hunting Allowed By Nonresidents Only" and of course that outfitter blames the "radical sportsmens groups" like the ALLiance, implying that if there were no sportsmen's groups, you would all be in hunter heaven. He failed to mention that he wants to lease his land. To the highest bidder. Whatever the market will bear. And nobody said a peep about it.

The Monday Dec 2 Fourm ran a continuation of the same article, profiling the Alliance. Now some folks are upset because a good ND hunter only shot 16 ducks. His point, I believe, was not that he could not have harvested more birds by zipping around the state. The point was that an excellant area for waterfowl hunting has been decimated by outfitters and an unlimited number of NR hunters.

I hunt pheasants. Used to hunt at Linton until the pressure was too great. Moved over to Flasher-Carson until the pressure was too great. That was before CRP. Moved over to Mott until the pressure was too great. Moved over to Regent-New England until the pressure was too great. Now I go west once a year, prefering to hunting at home. Don't know about you, but I have said enough. This time the NR's can move over.

Look what you have accomplished in just one year.
1 Hoven's sellout of the pheasant season was overturned.
2 PLOTS was accelerated and vastly expanded.
3 HPC was passed by Judicary B on a 14-2 vote and we wondered if we could get a simple majority passage.
4 The North Dakota Wildlife Federation, United Sportsmen of North Dakota,
and the Alliance are bonded together, holding joint meetings, speaking with one voice.

There are fantastic opportunites for us coming in the next session of the legislature. But commercial hunting wants to split the residents, pitting east against west and urban against rural. Divide and conquer. Don't fall for it. This is not the time for infighting. We resident hunters are all in the same boat. You may not love the guy sitting next you, but you better sit down and pull the same oar.
 

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Dick,

Excellent post.
I do like reading your comments.
You are always positive.

M.
 
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