Here is the press release, should have posted it right away.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2002
Contact: Kathy Ibach or Don Canton
HOEVEN ANNOUNCES GUIDELINES FOR 2002 WATERFOWL SEASON
BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. John Hoeven today directed the North Dakota Game and Fish Department this year to issue no more than 30,000 non-resident waterfowl hunting licenses, seek approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to open the season one week early for resident hunters only and enforce the state's hunting zones to disperse hunting more effectively throughout the state. The decision came after consultation with Game and Fish Department Director Dean Hildebrand. The Game and Fish Advisory board recently split four to four on a decision to limit non-resident hunters.
"This is an important step to respond to resident hunters' concerns about hunting pressures, while still respecting the interests of landowners, our rural communities and others," Hoeven said. "We need to get people working together."
The decision to hold non-resident hunters to 30,000 is based on last year's non-resident hunter numbers, which slightly exceeded 30,000, and this year's count of breeding waterfowl, which is higher than both last year's and the historical average. The decision to open the season one week early was based on a desire to reserve the opening week for North Dakota resident hunters. It will also allow them expanded opportunity to hunt wood duck and teal.
Enforcement of the zoning restrictions is intended to move hunters from areas that experience too much hunting pressure to areas that could benefit from more hunting activity. The state has three zones, and Zone 3, which encompasses much of the central and western portion of the state, has been a "free" zone. That means a license valid in either Zone 1 or Zone 2 has enabled the bearer to hunt in Zone 3 as well during the licensure period. Under the new plan, Zone 3 will no longer be a free zone and non-resident hunters will have to stay in the zone they select.
"We need to take these steps for the 2002 season, but additionally, we need to continue our efforts to increase access," Hoeven said. "It is important that we work with the Legislature to develop innovative management tools to build the hunting experience in our state, now and in the future."