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I wasn't able to go last night,but there is a front page article in the Minot paper today.There site is down now.Will keep checking and print it later.There were 250-300 people there.Only five spoke in favor.They basically said they were in favor because of rural economics and that they already hve bookings for the earlier opening and don't want to lose them.
 

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Sounds like a great turnout. I can't wait to read the article. I thought more people would be in favor since the meeting was further out west. I can't wait for the Casselton meeting. I hope there is a huge showing. Hoeven has got to be hearing this. Good stuff Ken!!!!
 

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Here is the story from the minot paper.

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Patricia Stockdill/Staff Writer
Paul Ellenbecker, Pheasants for the Future spokesman, presented the Minot-area organization's perspective on a proposal to open the pheasant season earlier to a standing room-only crowd at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. The meeting was the first of eight to be held across the state by the N.D. Game and Fish Department. Tonight's meeting moves to Dickinson.

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Hunters voice concerns
More then 250 people attend a meeting about possible change in pheasant season opening

By: Patricia Stockdill
Editorial Staff Writer
Posted at 12:00 pm

MINOT - One message rang throughout testimony from North Dakota hunters at a Monday night meeting with Game and Fish officials - do not mess with the state's hunting heritage, catering to big money interests, by opening the pheasant season earlier than the traditional date.

Serenaded by sounds of the Region 6 semi-final basketball game at the adjacent Minot Municipal Auditorium, a parade of hunters voiced their concerns over Gov. John Hoeven's decision to open the season the week after waterfowl hunting begins.

More than 250 people attended, filling chairs and standing throughout the back of the meeting room 201.

The meeting opened with testimony from people supporting the earlier Oct. 5 opening date.

Five people spoke in support of the decision. This is rural economic development, said a Goodrich landowner. "So for gosh sakes guys, don't limit us."

Arlen and Ronna Gilbertson operate the Deepwater Bay Bed and Breakfast in conjunction with their Pleasant Acres Ranch. Gilbertson, while not supportive of the decision to move it to an earlier date, does not want to see it moved back after the State of North Dakota published the Oct. 5 opening date. "I wouldn't have been for it but changing it now poses problems (with reservations)," he said.

A steady stream of hunters spoke of the state's rich hunting heritage. Young and old alike said they opted to stay in the state, forsaking better paying jobs, because of North Dakota's outdoor opportunities.

And they feel they, as resident hunters, are not recognized for their economic contributions to the state - which according to a 1996-97 North Dakota State University study amounted to $113 million in resident small game hunter expenditures. Nonresident expenditures were $13.8 million for the same year.

They also question the stability of basing economic development on a resource that is, to a large extent, dependent on weather.

Leon Levesque, Minot, represented the North Dakota Wildlife Federation. " We demand the Governor rescind his decision," he said.

"On the farm, if we make a few changes, it's because something's broke," said Scott Sagsveen, Lansford. "There's nothing broke here."

Many spoke in favor of running the season later into January; some in support of opening a week later.

They also feel that politics and big money, out-of-state interests are the driving force behind the decision, not the interests of resident hunters.

Many feel increasing commercialization of the state's natural resources to the benefit of wealthy, out-of-state interests is cutting into the heart of the hunting heritage.

But the underlying, heart of the issue relates to access - or rather, the increasing lack of access, either through posted land, fee hunting or leasing.

Tom Kelsch, Minot, said that commercialization of the state's natural resources is pushing resident hunters out. He returned to his home state to live because of the hunting opportunities. "I spend a lot of money here, too," he said.

"Access is probably one of the biggest problems you're going to run against."
The series of meetings continues tonight in Dickinson. Others will be held in Williston, Elgin, Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Casselton.

Hoeven has said he will follow the recommendations of Game and Fish Department director Dean Hildebrand and the eight regional advisory board members.

He will make a final decision as to when pheasant hunters can take to the field in early April.
[ MINOT
 

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We should probably thank Hoeven and these guides etc. With this issue they have managed to finally bring hunters around the state together and unite for a cause. I know it really made me upset and ready to do what is necessary to save the hunting in our state. Kudos to the people around the Minot area. Again, I can't wait for our turn in Casselton.

_________________
Eric Hustad
Fishing and Big Game Director
Nodak Outdoors Field Staff
NodakOutdoors.com

[ This Message was edited by: Eric Hustad on 2002-03-05 14:54 ]
 
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