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http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandfork ... 305061.htm

Posted on Tue, Jul. 15, 2003

EDITORIAL: Protect the waterfowl resource

OUR VIEW: The governor should give first priority to ensuring the quality of the hunt.

Read that headline again: "Protect the waterfowl resource."

When it comes to duck-hunting regulations, those words should be North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven's guiding star.

The governor is poised to decide on the rules for this fall's duck-hunting season, the Associated Press reported.

Among the proposals he's weighing is a Game and Fish Department advisory-board plan that would split the state into three zones.

The governor should evaluate the proposal in the context of wildlife management - that is, the science of how best to protect the waterfowl resource. John Kopp, president of the North Dakota Wildlife Federation, said it best: "Without wise management, the quality of the waterfowl hunting in our state will continue to degrade to the level of many other states in the Midwest and ultimately, it will lose that allure which drew non-resident hunters to our great state in the first place," Kopp wrote in a "Viewpoint" on the topic.

One criticism of this approach has been to note that the federal government already regulates the numbers of migratory waterfowl. But as Kopp describes, those rules haven't stopped duck hunters in other states from overhunting their prey. Additional regulation at the state level is necessary if North Dakota is going to keep its current charmed status.

Call it protecting "the duck that lays the golden eggs." And let it guide the governor into making the best decision.

Hunting is a fantastic asset for North Dakota. Not only does it pull in tourists, but also it impresses those visitors with the beauty of our state. Minnesota and Colorado are just two among several states that have grown their populations by capitalizing on that goodwill. North Dakota can, too - if, and only if, the game population stays high.

Hoeven could leave no better legacy to North Dakota's rural and urban areas alike.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tom Dennis for the Herald
 

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Protect the wildlife through sound wildlife management.... Do we have a shortage of ducks in ND? :eyeroll: Do we have diminishing populations? Are we destroying our resources from over hunting? The answer (biologically)is NO. Ask Mike Johnson, Waterfowl chief, NDGF. In fact nearly all waterfowl species are at or above the 50-year average. Some are near record numbers. Mallards, pintails, even blue bills are up from last year. So the old "we are destroying the resource" argument is absolutely false. Now, if some believe we are destroying the quality of waterfowl hunting in ND that is a different issue. It is obvious that some folks are using this strategy to push restrictions on nonresidents when in fact the true intention of restrictions are to diminish competition in the field. We have been blessed with water across our great state. Any one driving the back roads across the prairie cant help but notice the outstanding habitat and large numbers of ducks with broods. ND is primed to have one heck of a flight, one that can be shared with others.

Fetch: This is spin plain and simple. No different than others you so often talk about. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You only see things from a shooters - Typical ND perspective :roll: :eyeroll:
I'm really tired of of the attitudes & sensitivity (or lack there of) by many here

So I'm going to take a break from here - Good Luck & some who understand me & have a sense of humor &/or really care can PM me at the Fuge.

:peace:
 

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My point was we have lots of birds and lots of water meaning the playing field is very large this year and North Dakotas waterfowl population is at near record levels. It was not my intention to give any one here a black eye. Fetch, I hope you return to this web site. I might not agree with all of your posts, but I enjoy reading them :lol: Lets get ready for a great hunting season!
 

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Everyone agrees that it should be shared, but not whored out..... You still haven't answered my question from the other thread where you smarted off at me. :eyeroll:
 

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"Resource." This term could be defined about 100 different ways in the current debates. Certainly, it covers the critters themselves. I also often refer to quality hunting opportunities as a resource. I think the economic impact from hunting, tourism and year-round dollars, can be called a resource.

Point is, regardless of what meaining you ascribe to that word, the Herald piece is dead on. We're fooling ourselves if we think we can keep packing people in here and not burst the bubble on whatever meaning you give that word. Like Mike Johnson says, ducks aren't pheasants and they have options. If they get hammered constantly, they're going to go somewhere they can find a little peace. With one-third our total waterfowlers to the North and two-thirds to the South, they aren't going to stick around here. Ask Dave B. and the guys who hunted SD last year. Many of us have been to Sask. The snow geese figured it out, the ducks seem to be heading in that direction and will figure it out too.

Too much pressure hurts the "resource" for everyone, whatever meaning you give the word. There is a limit to how much you can push and milk the "resource" without a back-fire. Burn it up for a few years for short term gain, or manage it to get the most out of it each year and for the long haul?
 

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Yes, less pressure but:

Snow geese are snow geese, they have been changing their rutine over the past 20 - 30 years - hunting pressure the reason - no so sure.

New reservoirs in southern Canada that look just like the ones on the ND side coupled with all the dry pea and barely fields have changed the snow goose migration pattern.

Another possible explanation is the relatively late harvests MB and SK experienced in the late '90s and early '00s. All that food, the geese stopped and have never looked back.

I will agree with you on ducks. Less pressure equals more consistent opportunities for those hunting them.

So what are Hoven and his eight lackies thinking?
+) No Mo caps - not even 30K
+) Zone #2 is small. While those NRs can only hunt there 7 days, the
zone seems too small and may cause conflict.
 

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PH

Take the time to drive the border area from Hankison to the river on the ND then go from Mobride to Watertown on the SD about the 2 or 3 week of OCT. Pay close attention to the number of waterfowl in the small wetlands, then come back and read what Dan posted.

I think this will be the only way you will understand the effects of to muck pressure is having. The ducks handle pressure here by moving on to other area's that have food and water, until they reach the wintering grounds in LA and TX. They sustain higher levels of pressure in those area's but stay until the spring migration. Movement becomes horizonal instead of vertical.

You could put a 100,000 hunters in ND and everyone would be able to have a place to hunt, but with that intense pressure the only birds you would see would be the ones getting the hell out of here. Area,food and weather are just some of the factors that change the patterns. Hunting pressure is a leading factor. Why do you think that guides want so many acres. PRESSURE!
 

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RON:

READ MY COMMENT ABOVE. I AGREED WITH DAN ABOUT PRESSURE ON DUCKS.

I will agree with you on ducks. Less pressure equals more consistent opportunities for those hunting them.
Not sure if you know but I have hunted close to 30 straight years in ND. The first 15 or so as a resident. I watched first hand as the snow geese changed their migration pattern out of SE ND.

Regarding ducks SE of Valley this area has always had relatively higher pressure than much of central ND. We often hunted west of Jimtown to be by ourselves. We often saw or heard no one all weekend. While I do not hunt this region anymore - I also realize that this area is also posted and pressured much more heavily than 20 years ago.

Just because you can not see the ducks from the road does not mean they have left ND. They are in the pond not seen from the paved highway.

Also much to Fetch's dissapointment. I have consistently had very good hunting in ND the past 5 - 10 years. Mallard slough's / field found each year (both 1st week and late-October). Personal discression has determined my bag limit not available resource. Of course my family (ND res) and I hunt anywhere over a 5,000 sq. mile area. Scout heavily and realize each fall is different (localized heavy rainfall, hailed areas, etc) change localized migration patterns too.
 

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PH, diagnosing the snow goose thing is a little like solving the riddle of the common cold. Most of the "experts" I've talked to about snow geese think their massive migration pattern shifts (not just travel routes and flocking patterns, but timing issues) are the result of several factors, including some of the ones you mentioned. Also on the short list, however, is relative pressure. Over the years, I heard of many personal accounts about times where there's been big numbers of snows hung up just North of the border or dangling their toes into ND and then moving back just North of the border to roost and feed until the next big push. The lack of pressure on the Canadian side has typically been attributed to why these birds are found in much larger numbers 20 miles North rather than 20 miles south of the border, the 40 mile band having almost identical habitat and food sources.

Purely shooting from the hip, I suspect the ducks will make these adjustments too. Enough boss susies and drakes that have lived the deal for enough years, I would think they'll make migration pattern shifts unrelated to temporal pressure - they'll just start to learn which areas are, on the whole, quieter and safer and those that aren't, and learn to spend less time in those that are consistantly less safe, especially where large amounts of wetlands and crop are available North and South with much less pressure.

Maybe this theory is full of crap, but it doesn't seem like too far a stretch for ducks to make this kind of adjustment like geese. Any in the waterfowl fields have any thoughts on the issue?
 

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I know first hand that the geese in Westhope often fly a few miles N to feed in Canada. That's why I no longer chose to play there too often.

You are also correct that once the snow geese found their new Canada stops, the lack of hunting pressure has made it more difficult to leave.

Still, I would have to believe Ken would say that 15 - 20 years ago they shot snows in good numbers from opener to freeze. The geese in this area were pressured pretty hard. When we chose to hunt weekdays - we not alone.

These were probably not the same geese all fall - as some flocks pushed south then others replaced them. The old saying it takes some to make some probably holds true. Geese and ducks for that matter enjoy company - once a staging area gets going the numbers will hold/build if food and security remain.

My point is resource management for ducks is a relavent issue in ND. Snows are not - too many other factors. NR used to come to ND for snows now I have to believe 90% are here to chase ducks.
 

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PH, I think we're agreeing more than disagreeing (will wonders never cease). I don't want to see, and it won't be good for anyone who has an personal or economic interest in ducks, if they go the way of snows. Hence my comment about managing the "resource(s)" to get a bunch (but not all) of the benefit indefinitely versus working the crap out of it for a while only to see a net sum loss within seasons from temporal pressure and over time because of migration pattern shifts.
 

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Where do all the ducks go then? With all the pressure that ND gets Minnesota still does not get any mass numbers migrating through the west parts of the state, at least nowhere near the amounts th Dakotas get! I've been successful in getting South Daks license many times now and it seems to me that when you drive just 30-40 west of the border it's waterfowl haven! I know Minnesota has been dried up(tiled to death), but still with the pressure you guys have do they just fly through quckly? Because when hunting SD at the end of oct. there are more ducks than you can shake a stick at! Perhaps less pressure? I usually hunt the weekdays and maybe run into one or two other hunters. If an opp. ever came up for me to be able to come to ND to hunt I would love to join some of you NODAK hunters for one to be able to hook up with some from what I gather real good guys who are out to enjoy themselves and also joining an already existing group seems to reduce the amout of pressure by eliminating the amount of groups out there unless the groups are too big! Anyway it sounds like there are so many variables with your hunting/access issues that I just can't comment-since I am a NR. However as a NR I do support you to make the best decissions that affect your hunting opportunities that best suit you as Residents even if it does somewhat limit say my opportunities as a NR! Because in my opinion, residents should be taken care of first! Anyway, look forward to possibly coming out sometime! Keep me in mind! :beer:
Face.. Mike
 

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Just a few things to think about:
In 1980 there were an estimated 5-600,000 waterfowl hunters in Canada, in 2000 there were less than 75,000, (Less pressure?)

Since ND started this "all day hunting" for snows, Wednesdays, the geese that do venture down get the he11 chased out of them, never getting a chance to sit in peace. By Saturday the whole debacle starts over again.

By the second weekend of duck season a majority of the "local" ducks have pulled out for a more peacefull environment, maybe SD where there arent 30,000 duck hunters chasing them.

Devils Lake's (actually Minnewaukan's) state senator just can't figure out why North dakota can support 100,000 deer hunters but not 100,000 waterfowl hunters.

The guides association contends that there is plenty of open place to hunt, so why set caps? Of course they would say that, they hunt on leased land so they dont get any competition for the land that they take their clients.

Just some thoughts, where you go with them is entirely up to you.
 

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To answer a question about where the ducks go.I have a few friends that live in Webster,SD that tells me that imediately after the ND opener for residents&non-residents they have a huge influx of ducks.I guess this never happened before 95 but it happens just like clockwork now.
 

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Dan,

Your movement theory isn't far fetched - as mallard's story suggests.

Some very knowledgeable biologists would support the theory that ducks are moving both south and north to escape the pressure. Moreover, the ducks that do stay probably lay down much less body fat than the ones that move to areas of lower pressure. I would love to have the guide industry fund a radio tag experiment to determine if their activities, and legislative actions they support (re: no caps), actually hurt the resource.

One biologist suggested: every year radio tag 100 mallard hens in ND, Sask, & SD. See when and where the birds are moving to escape pressure. Moreover, compare the 50 hens that stay in ND to the 50 (or so) that leave the state due to the hunting pressure. The guys than know this stuff would bet that the 50 (or fewer) that stay in ND will have much lower body fat and much lower survival and successful nesting potential than the ducks that leave. It is in the duck's best interest to leave. The ones that are more willing to leave are much more likely to reproduce, making more ducks that are willing to leave due to pressure.

Until some study like this is done, we'll never really know.

M.
 

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Dan,

Your movement theory isn't far fetched - as mallard's story suggests.

Some very knowledgeable biologists would support the theory that ducks are moving both south and north to escape the pressure. Moreover, the ducks that do stay probably lay down much less body fat than the ones that move to areas of lower pressure. I would love to have the guide industry fund a radio tag experiment to determine if their activities, and legislative actions they support (re: no caps), actually hurt the resource.

One biologist suggested: every year radio tag 100 mallard hens in ND, Sask, & SD. See when and where the birds are moving to escape pressure. Moreover, compare the 50 hens that stay in ND to the 50 (or so) that leave the state due to the hunting pressure. The guys than know this stuff would bet that the 50 (or fewer) that stay in ND will have much lower body fat and much lower survival and successful nesting potential than the ducks that leave. It is in the duck's best interest to leave. The ones that are more willing to leave are much more likely to reproduce, making more ducks that are willing to leave due to pressure.

Until some study like this is done, we'll never really know.

M.
 

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Mallard; you are right about ducks moving on quickly after opener, it happens here too! Minnesota ducks get shot right out to Iowa because of the early youth day! However those are all the local ducks. We seldom see the good late migrating ducks. So they have to go somewhere noone knows about or maybe refuges...here in Owatonna,Mn they all stay at tthe park because every kid gets to feed them. I have even seen hooded mergansers in the park getting fed! ND must have places like this also?Anyway I think a lot of people would like to radio tag the birds to find out where they go but that would make hunting not fun if you know where they are. Plus that would easily wipe out the population.Because someone would use it in the wrong way.
 
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